Finally the Christmas season is over. It’s not truly over for us in the Broaddus household until after the first of the year because that’s the last day of Kwanzaa. Yeah, my interracial family celebrates Kwanzaa. In fact, my wife is the Kwanzaa expert in the family. But I’m getting ahead of myself.
The full holiday report has to start at the beginning of December. That’s when I hold my traditional Christmas party. They started off as Murder Mysteries (you know, because nothing says happy birthday Jesus like killing off your guests). But, they quickly grew into huge, nearly unwieldy theme affairs, with this year some 40+ people fitting into our relatively small condo. This year’s theme: Christmas in the Old West. I went as the sheriff from Blazing Saddles, my wife as Jessie from Toy Story 2. But after my Christmas party, I pretty much bah-humbug my way through the rest of the season, sickened by the lack of perspective and priorities about what the holiday is about. Say what you want about my parties, they are about community, so much so that my neighbors crashed it.
Okay, to be perfectly candid, there is also my general laziness when it comes to shopping and decorating.
So my wife carries the torch of holiday spirit for the family. She put together our creche (a manger scene featuring a white Mary, Black Joseph, mixed Jesus, with shepherds and wise men of different races) and decorates the house. She bought the bulk of the gifts, um, including her own.
[As part of my Christmas tradition, I waited until the last minute to shop for my wife. Well, a foot of snow hit us. My wife, a fellow partaker of that particular Christmas tradition, went out anyway. I gave her my checkbook and said that since she was going out anyway, she could stop by this one store and pick up the gift I was going to get her.
Hey, she knew the romance that awaited her when she said "I do."
Anyway, she returned and told me that though she liked what I was going to get her, apparently I had a change of heart and got her something much, much bigger.]
And she puts together our Kwanzaa celebration. I wanted our family to have its own tradition and I decided that Kwanzaa would be it (again, something I decided while I was still single, not knowing that I would marry a white woman. A friend of mine, Chesya Burke, likens me and my family to the black militant in the movie I’m Gonna Git You Sucka).
Since there’s no strict definition of how it should be done, we adapt Kwanzaa for our family (meaning we gloss over some of its more leftist leanings). Here’s how a typical day of Kwanzaa goes for us:
-We light the appropriate number of candles (one candle for each day).
-We discuss that day’s Nguzo Saba (one of the seven principles).
-I make the libation statement (think of it as a toast) then drink from the communal cup which is passed down and sipped from oldest to youngest.
-We open our gift(s), homemade or inexpensive.
-We read a story from a book of African folk tales.
-We sing Harambee.
-Then blow out the candles.
This is our fourth year, and I think that we’re finally getting it down. The last day is a feast, but we cheat and go to my aunt’s house for a huge family dinner (food from three countries).
It works for us.