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December 21, 2009


Love, laughter and a loud Christmas in South Africa


By Nicole Megan Gounder

Reporter, Youth Journalism International




MEREBANK, South Africa –‘Tis the season to be jolly at last. Christmas is finally here.

Every family has special traditions that are passed on from generation to generation. In my household, Christmas is the most anticipated holiday of the year.

We set aside Dec.1 mainly for putting up the Christmas tree, decorating the house, and turning on the Christmas lights. A tape or CD of carols plays in the background, while my brother and I jokingly fight over whose side of the Christmas tree looks better.

Snow is not a part of our Christmas tradition; due to the climate differences, Durban has yet to experience a white festive season.

A common place to visit, especially a week before Christmas, is a place called The Workshop, where the brightly lit displays raise the Christmas cheer to an ultimate peak.

Every year, my family gets together after not seeing each other for months to celebrate this joyous occasion. On Christmas Eve, we go out at night to see the lights all over Durban, taking pictures like it's nobody's business.

We then head off for a big family supper, where we get a stare or two, as my family consists of more than 20 people. We’re loud, and attract a lot of attention when we're together.

After a fun night out, we all head home. I have to admit, it's quite hard to go to sleep with all the excitement, but I somehow manage to do so.

We wake up really early on Christmas day to get ready for the festivities – and of course, the main reason for it all – church! Afterwards, we head home to join the rest of my aunts, uncles and cousins for what we call "the Christmas feast."

Finally, the part I'm sure many kids around the world look forward to: exchanging presents.

It's so funny to see my baby cousins ripping open gifts that are almost twice their size. Then again, I'd rather watch that than my brother, who takes forever to open a gift because he doesn't like to damage the gift wrap.

Overall, the day ends with pure joy at just being together as a family. The love we share beats any materialistic thing. So go on and spread some love during this festive season. I wish you a very merry Christmas and a happy new year.


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