While browsing around the malls and stores, the brilliance of the season cannot be missed, with twinkling lights, items coloured in red and green, metallic finishes like silver and gold, and all the “bling” that is synonymous with Christmas. On the other hand, opting for a more “ethnic” theme that may be environmentally friendly need not be drab and dreary. Neutrals like beige, brown and grey form a marvellous background onto which one can add all the glam and glitter.
As for adding an African ambiance to Christmas, there is no better way than to head for street art offering Christmas trees cleverly created out of wire, plus ornamental hangings like elephants, lions, birds, giraffes and suchlike, handcrafted using wire and beads. Not only are these items decorative but one will be supporting people who invariably rely on these sales alone for income.
Keeping to the theme, one can purchase many varieties of handmade paper at selected outlets. By choosing neutral shades for wrapping gifts, one has the option of adding brighter name tags. The bland, ordinary brown paper type can be glamorised by placing glue onto one half, which is then dipped into some glitter. Gifts that may need protection can be covered with corrugated cardboard and secured with bronze, shiny ribbons.
Small, rustic clay pots are often available at local nurseries. Using press-stick at the base, sturdy candles can be place in these and surrounded by some greenery .To add interest, a few cinnamon sticks can be tied together with sufficient length of ribbon, in order to secure these bundles around the base of the pots.
Decorating the dining room table can be great fun by selecting a “safari” theme. To cover the table, why not pop into dress material shops; they have a great variety of fabric with African prints. Unique holders can be created with toilet roll inner tubes covered in metallic paper like gold or bronze, into which African print paper serviettes can be inserted, alongside place mats made of corrugated wood or bamboo.
A group of tall, sturdy candles will form a good centre piece, surrounded by strings of pod beads and a selection of river pebbles.
This is a wonderful time to explore one’s cupboards for quirky décor items.
For the grand finale, the hostess could request that the guests arrive dressed as were the actors in “Out of Africa”. Children, in particular, will love the theme.
Finally, token Matsimela gifts such as fizz balls, or soap scrolls for the guests could add much Christmas cheer to the occasion.