There is a joke going round that Tanzanians are terrified their president, John Pombe Magufuli, will cancel Christmas. If you just dropped in from outer space, let me catch you up. Our neighbours’ ultra-new president has taken to cancelling things right, left and centre; most notably Tanzania’s Independence Day celebrations.
While Tanzanians might be — understandably — worried, our womenfolk would give a hand and a leg to see a ‘Magufuli’ done on this season. Reason? Christmas is on our throats again!
It is that “happy” time of the year.
The season where every indulgence man can come up with given a pass, everything you want to do, no matter how outrageous, ridiculous or down right stupid can be excused with three words, “Hey it’s Christmas”.
It’s the season where people absent themselves from work, spend too much time with relatives who they dislike; overspend, over shop, overdrink, and overeat!
I hate to burst this over commercialised bubble, but that is not what Christmas is about, dare I say. It is the day Our Lord was born, the time to give to the less fortunate, and not to ourselves. But that is a story for another day.
Away from the politics of what constitutes Christmas is the fact that it is not only Charles Dickens’ famous Christmas antagonist Mr Scrooge who hated Christmas, a lot of women also secretly hate it.
Allow me to paint a picture of what Christmas looks like for women, and why a good number hate the season to be jolly.
Let’s start with what Christmas means for a wife; more work and little play. I know men probably do not know this but domestic duties are hard. No one enjoys it, and anyone given the chance to pass off these duties to another, will do so fast.
It is a thankless job. There seems to be some kind of a universal joke that haunts women even in 2015. Despite the fact that we have achieved liberation in the workplace, the same liberation did not happen in domestic duties at home.
To add salt to an already bleeding heart, Christmas is the one season where only a cold hearted person would refuse to give the help a holiday off.
So wives often do not rest on Christmas. They don their aprons with strained smiles, and toil. They clean and cook a meal fit for kings.
Don’t get me wrong. We love the foundation and reason for the holiday, that picturesque moment in which the meal is served, the children are clean and smart, the house is sparkling, and Christmas music plays in the background, but it is draining.
Who can forget the family get together, where there is pressure to ensure that your kids look the smartest, and that you win the silent family fashion competition, which occurs every time the women in a family come under one roof?
Then there is the conundrum faced by the single woman every time festive comes rolling into town; the annoying prodding about why you are not married, or why you are letting you eggs wither away.
For the mistress, mpango wa kando, side dish or whatever they are called these days, it is the one season which belongs to the wife and the family.
It is the one season when you become number two and are forced to sit on the side-lines and feed off scraps because Christmas time is unquestionably family time.
In fact if you want to know if you are the main chic or a side chic, or how valuable you are to a man, simply look at how he treats you on Christmas, if he indulges in the disappearing act chances are he is not that into you!