Christmas with an African Flavour

african christmas"reindeer and mistletoe, holly and snow
Remind us of what we already know
But is this really the way to go
As Africans we would rather be
Cooling off in the glorious sea"

Firstly, a little background history. In 1961 South Africa severed ties with the Commonwealth and became a republic, gradually minimizing previous traditions.
The above rhyme heralds the onset of the season and reflects that the icy weather of the northern hemisphere is significant in the illustration of greeting cards, in decorations and plant life available.

In many countries culture plays an enormous role in the way people plan a variety of inspiring celebrations which echo inherent traditions
The diversion alone adds to the enjoyment, being part and parcel of the festive season.

However, this week's article will hopefully delight readers with African inspired décor, commencing with the basic item, the tree. With new ideas at hand it might be time to throw out that old plastic tree or donate it to a charity.

The updated natural Christmas tree will comprise of a fairly strong centre stem, having dry branches radiating outwards and tall enough to accommodate decorations. An inspiring place to find such an item could be land or property where the local council have cleared away foliage, or perhaps even in one's backyard. This way of seeking out "the tree" adds an element of adventure for young people.

Once this has been achieved the tree must be propped up in a bucket, garden pot or even a watering can and a few blocks of oasis from a store or nursery will do the trick to support it [remember, this is not about Glitz, but going rustic]. The oasis could be concealed with the use of dried flowers or ideally pine cones that have had a dusting of gold or bronze, simply achieved by using paint in a non-messy aerosol can.

Now for the African inspired decorations! One will need several sheets of paper, preferably hand created which have texture for interest, but not too flimsy ' plus a few rolls of ribbon.

Colours such as gold, bronze and brown will complement the theme.

Commence by purchasing polystyrene balls then cover them with décor paper, twisting the top of the paper like the end of a cracker and tie with ribbon then hang on the tree. One can also create crackers by utilizing the inner rolls of toilet paper or creating one's own with rolled up corrugated paper. Cover these with earthy paper and twist at the ends then tie with ribbon. They may not create the traditional 'bang' but upon the discovery of a chocolate bar or any other item of interest, squeals of glee could ensue!
If not too heavy, traditional bead or wooden necklaces can be hung on the tree, as can beaded or brass bangles. Living on the African continent we are blessed with beautiful ethnic jewellery, so utilize items to advantage.

Once done with the tree, other ideas come to mind. Rustic pots with dry fronds that have been sprayed with colour compliment the theme, as do bundles of cinnamon tied with ribbon, family photos in wooden or rustic frames grouped together will give a sense of unity during this special time.

A simple, cheap water tumbler decorated and filled with a bunch of unlit incense [to avoid allergies] will allow for the fragrance to permeate the air.

Should one still be lacking inspiration, home type stores have an abundance of reasonably priced items like twigs, grasses, raffia and readymade wreaths.
Now is the time to use one's imagination. One's originality is bound to bring forth compliments!

Finally, a selection of MATSIMELA's coloured fizz balls hung from the tree will add to the ambience. When guests are greeted with the fragrance of ginger & lime, baobab seed, red berry and so on, one's African theme will truly be complete!