Lockington's Everyday Fiji ... Life Goes On

A Christmas to remember 

I remember  my young days when it was nearing the end of the year and school holidays were just around the corner, there was magic in the air. I looked forward to the holidays as a time of fun and games and many other things. But December was always my best month of the year because this is when Santa Claus would bring me presents.

When going into town, shops would be decorated in Christmas fashion and the sounds of Jingle Bells and Jingle Bell Rock would permeate the air. Boney M would be singing Felis Navidad and Jim Reeves would be crooning I'm dreaming of a White Christmas and in another shop Elvis Presley would be singing Silver bells. I would get goose bumps listening to Christmas carols. And I still do, there is something about Christmas songs that touches my heart and I get all nostalgic and remember fairway times. Anyway, this is the time all Christians commemorate and celebrate the birth of Our Lord Jesus Christ. Churches are usually full this time of the year but as a child the presents were nearer to my heart.

Christmas would be a time for good food new clothes, meeting relatives, sending Christmas cards writing letters and going down to the Post Office and posting them. Christmas was an exciting time putting up the Christmas tree and decorating it.

Balloons would hang from the ceiling together with crepe paper and little bells and stars.
Christmas cards sent by friends and relatives would be hung on a cotton thread in the sitting room. Talking about the Post Office, many years back when I was in Marist Brothers Suva Street, we lived in Tubou Street up Samabula way. My older cousins (male and female) would eagerly wait for the sound of the Postman's call together with the tinkle of his bicycle bell.

As soon as they heard it they would rush out and if there was a letter or Christmas card for one of them they would be so excited sometimes a piercing scream would shatter the air in Tubou Street. And the neighbours would know the Postman had arrived and all rush out. Wasn't it an exciting time back then when the postman would arrive?

Anyway I digress. Christmas is also a time for eating too much. Living in Veisari back then when Queens Road was still all gravel, it's turning back that way slowly; the leg of a wild pig and a bush pigeon or two was our best bet to have a good meal. And if there was chicken it would be a White Christmas, meaning a wonderful one. At home my parents would tell me to hang up a pillow case and go to sleep early and not wake up in the night. And of course the next morning the pillow case would have toys in them. I cherish those moments.

Then we moved to Vunivalu Road in Toorak and Christmas was different, we were in town. In Veisari homes were far apart, in Toorak we lived right next door to each other and often played at the roundabout. And there were more children around and more toys to exchange and play with. And of course there were lots of fights over toys that belonged to some other kid.

As I grew older, Christmas started getting different because adolescence started setting in. My voice started to break and squeak and pimples appeared and suddenly I realised that there was another human being which is called a girl. SIGH. I loved going to midnight mass, because it was a walk from Toorak all the way to the Sacred Heart Cathedral and back. And because there were lots of us on the road we had fun going and coming back, oh and of course we dosed during mass.

As soon as we got home, we would go and help prepare the food for the lovo. The older folks would be having a beer and wine and laughter world ring all around the little valley of ours. Of course at other homes, the same thing would be going on. As soon as the lovo was buried, we would have a little nap to wake up when called that it was ready to be dug up. And oh boy, we would enjoy a whole day of fun. As I grew older, toys would turn to books and love letters to be exchanged in secret.

Then I was old enough to go to the dance and have a beer and life took a whole new meaning. Late nights out with friends and a long walk home and the next day a huge hangover. Well folks, it has been many Christmases for me since my young days, life still goes on. There are additions to the family and new friends have come into our lives. Nowadays, we hear Christmas songs in November and stores advertise their wares.

Please remember those who are less fortunate, don't indulge in too much alcohol, yaqona and food. Take it easy with the rich foods and make sure in January you detox for about a month. But things affect us differently and to those whose metabolism is tough, good luck to you. To those who can burn of the extra weight, go for it? To those who are ... OK, never mind.

We are now into the 21st century and Father Time moves on, have you ever thought back to your past Christmases? Some of us would rather forget them but some of us often talk about it.
Living in Wailekutu Samoan settlement outside Lami, we would buy our beer and just drop them into the stream and it would get cool. We would make our lovo and have fun and we would be miles from anyone. We would be in a world of our own. So this Christmas, if possible, put some of the old magic back into your December despite what the people say about Santa Claus, for me it is still a magical time. Merry Christmas everyone.

Allen Lockington is a self-employed customs agent and business consultant who has regular articles published in Fiji. I thank Allen for permission to reprint some of them in this political blog. They remind us that life goes on, whatever the political situation. And it's good to know that.


Anonymous said…
What a wonderful piece by Alan.
Brings back great memories for all of us Fijians.
Anonymous said…
Christmas tress with tinsel and false snow in hot and humid Fiji, Christmas carols played in every shop in Suva, being given $5 to shop for all the presents from me to the family,a Christmas Eve performance run by me and my brothers and sisters for the rest of our huge extended family, roast lunch and trifle, and the sound of cheeky mynahs in the bush outside my bedroom window as I lay replete on Christmas afternoon , with one hand on the mouth organ I had got under the tree that morning, on the bed I shared with my small brother.And all those memories from a childhood spent growing up as a non-Christian in Fiji! Religions can unite people if we only dwelt on goodwill and peace.

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