‘Rebels’ who opt out of Christmas festivities

Even those who have trouble believing in the birth of Christ take time off during the festive season to relax and have a good time any way they know how. Some head home to the families they last saw a year ago or during a burial that brought them close.  

Even those who have trouble believing in the birth of Christ take time off during the festive season to relax and have a good time any way they know how. Some head home to the families they last saw a year ago or during a burial that brought them close.  

Others associate the festive season with loud music, flowing alcohol and as many members of the opposite sex as they can attract, all the while spending more money than they can accumulate in four months. Then there is the religious kind who take time to get close to their maker and get clean with Him for their shortcomings throughout the year.

 

However, lately there has been a new brand of ‘rebels’ who don’t make merry during Christmas, some out of choice and others because of circumstances.

 

I fall under those who opt out of the merry making for both reasons. My line of work doesn’t allow such leisure. Not that I am complaining, but festivities or not, pages have to be filled, curiosities have to be satisfied.

 

Being born from a long line of ‘rebels’ also plays part in my lack of interest in making merry during Christmas, but this is not about me or my reasons for having a normal day but rather about folks like me who don’t go gaga over the festivities.

Emillie Kayumba, a pharmacist in Kigali, was on duty the last two years over Christmas and it is highly likely it will be the same this year too. As most pharmacies all over the city close over the festive season, the one she co-owns with her business partner (also a childhood friend) stays open in case a merry maker has had so much and needs medication…okay that’s not precisely what she said.

“As a business person I choose to work when most of my competitors are closed. The two previous Christmases I have opened have proved me right. So this one too I will be at work like any other day. The only treat I may give myself is ordering lunch from a fancier place than usual.”

Kayumba sees the move as a sacrifice rather than rebellion. “For me to work during the festive period, that is a sacrifice for the future.”

Christmas has largely been associated with family time when family members step out of their daily hustles for a brief while and catch up at times awkwardly due to the transformation individuals have undergone. For those who grew up with this kind of mentality that Christmas is family time, there may be little to look forward to if their families are away.

Charles Nderitu, a Kenyan national based in Kigali who makes a living by auditing firms’ finances, is one such. Christmas for him was always time for his immediate and extended family.

“I grew up knowing that the meaning of Christmas was to gather with long lost relatives, goat roasting by the fire and having a good time. That is what fills my memories of Christmas. If I can’t go to be with my family back at home, I’d rather not celebrate, I will spend the day and Boxing Day working on personal projects from home. I might have a few beers in the evening but nothing celebratory. ”

What of those who do not buy that there is a Deity whose only son was born on Christmas day?  Martin Rwirangira, a 31-year-old civil engineer and a self proclaimed free thinker and atheist, plans to spend the day as he spends his Sundays.  “My Sundays are not very eventful; I get up late, watch movies, read a magazine or a book and maybe go out for a late lunch. This Christmas will take that course too.”

It is highly likely that there are others who will be passed out on Christmas, passed out from the previous night’s indulging. However, if one chooses to mark the day and the festive period, only one thing matters; that they get through it alive if not in one piece.

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