ON GUARD

How parents are preparing themselves for the festive season

It's another festive season and unlike 2020, we hope this season things will be a bit different.

In Summary

• Parents tend to stress a lot during this period as children want new clothes, they want to travel and want gifts on Christmas day and with the economy not being great, many are short on cash.

• Surviving alone has become a struggle these days, but at the end of the day you want to see your kids happy ad you also want to have a beautiful festive season.

This season is not complete without gifting your loved ones. Spread the cheer.
This season is not complete without gifting your loved ones. Spread the cheer.
Image: Photos for Class

The festive season is here, a season we all look forward to, well most of us.

The exchanging of gifts, the eating of nyama choma and chapatis to our fill and the endless laughter are what we cherish.

Things have changed with the Coronavirus creeping upon us with no warning and our lives taking a different turn, a move that none of us was prepared for.

But it's another festive season and unlike 2020, we hope this season things will be a bit different.

Parents tend to stress a lot during this period as children want new clothes, they want to travel and want gifts on Christmas day and with the economy not being great, many are short on cash.

Surviving alone has become a struggle these days, but at the end of the day, you want to see your kids happy ad you also want to have a beautiful festive season.

When it comes to travelling, many people have said they prefer to stay home to save on cash.

Miriam* says she'll be celebrating the festive season right at home because she has a lot on her plate that requires money.

"As a family, we've had this tradition where we fly to the Coast for a few days and just relax. But ever since Covid-19 hit, life has become so expensive and we've had to cut to some luxuries just to survive.

"I'm blessed my kids understood why we weren't travelling this year or at the moment. And for that, my husband and I have vowed to save up some cash and spoil them next year," Miriam explained.

For Miriam, she's looking at saving as much cash as possible so as to cater for every need, but for Sammy* he's not worried about tomorrow. 

He says he's living at the moment because he can't tell how the next day will be and he has taught his children the same thing.

"We really stress ourselves a lot as human beings with things that are beyond us. I live in the moment and anytime I want to do something, I do it as long as I can afford it or have the time to do it.

"I'm a freestyle guy and I never plan for things. I let things unfold naturally. So for I wouldn't say I have anything planned for the festivities. I'll just have to wait and see what unfolds," a carefree Sammy explained.

Many people travel to different destinations during the festive season.
Many people travel to different destinations during the festive season.
Image: Photos for Class

In every corner, we're all in desperate need of money and it's ok to admit that you are struggling financially.

Taking care of one child is already a task. Now imagine having five kids looking at you for everything.

This is Abby's* current situation as she has to take care of five children all by herself.

It was previously not a hustle as she had a well paying job, but after Covid hit, she was one of those who were laid off work due to a financial crisis.

"My children have lived a comfortable life. I have provided everything they've needed to live comfortably. But when Covid hit, unfortunately I was among those laid  off. The company was not making any money since no flights were coming in or leaving the country. Business was just bad.

"I had to change our lifestyle because we couldn't afford it anymore. I had to take care of myself and my kids with the money I had. So the luxury had to go," Abby narrated.

She said Christmas is a very special holiday for her kids and she has always made it that, just special.

Excite your guests and family with a delicious meal during the festive holiday.
Excite your guests and family with a delicious meal during the festive holiday.
Image: Photo for Class

"Despite not having the money to do a grad Christmas, I'll still make sure I throw my children an amazing party. It's the one holiday they are always excited about. If I can afford to give them that, then I will," she said.

Everyone's version of festivities is quite different. Other people are not finding anything cheerful about the season.

Jack* has been in and out of hospital for the past three months. He's not unwell, but he has an ill parent.

He says the past few months have been a lot for him to handle and he is not in the mood to celebrate anything.

"I'm so fatigued, I have no strength left to be cheerful or to be in a festive mood. Everyday I walk to the hospital hoping that my parent is still alive, that they will see another day, that they'll be better and back to their usual self. So having a festive spirit is not something I'm thinking about, but I wish everyone a happy one," Jack said.

Matatu operators are quite busy this season as families travel to different places for the festivities, but for Makau*, he takes off days just to go home and celebrate Christmas with his family.

"I work for a matatu Sacco that operates far from where we live so I don't get to spend a lot of time with my family. This is usually a very busy time for us, but y family s very important to me. I can't miss celebrating the festivities with them. I dedicate this time fully to them," Makau said.

He said that this has been the norm for four years and his family has always celebrated together apart from last year when he had to miss the festivities because he had to work to get the extra money for his family's upkeep as business was not good.

Everyone has a different story on how they will spend the festive season.

Tis the season to be jolly. Be kind to others, spread the joy and share the little that you have. You might be the good luck someone has needed in their life.

While spreading the cheer, please remember January is around the corner. For those who have kids in school, school fees are knocking on the door.

Edited by D Tarus