For the first time in about three years, we are spending Christmas in London. The last few weeks have been a bit rough for us and I wanted to cheer us up and get into the Christmas spirit while also wanting to be true to ourselves and our South African heritage. I have been looking at a number of options to make our London Christmas a little more South African and found a few ideas to bring a bit of Africa to our little space.
1. Alternative Christmas trees
The traditional Christmas tree does not grow in the southern hemisphere, especially at this time of the year. Christmas in South Africa is right in the middle of the summer so the traditional Christmas tree would not survive the average 30 degree temperatures that you find in my little village of Majaneng in December. I thought this tree from Homebase (£24.99) is a great alternative; although it does look like it requires a lot of time to put it together.
2. Christmas Tree decorations
I looked at a lot of items online but these Zulu Beaded stars were the only ones easily and readily available in the UK from Etsy for £3 each. I loved this because they remind me so much of the Zulu love tokens – woven by Zulu maidens and sent to their lovers as a means of communication and each colour has a specific meaning. More information on these can be found on http://www.zulu.org.
I am ordering the above for next year, they are just gorgeous and made from the Shweshwe cotton that is used for traditional South African clothing. These are also sold on etsy for £7.00 are shipped from Cape Town, South Africa.
The Shweshwe cloth has a long history in Southern Africa and was first presented to King Moshoeshoe 1, in the mid-1800s. It is now a very popular and trendy South African print that can be seen on catwalks all over the world. The Shweshwe print is also used for accessories, upholstery and quilting fabric. Just a bit of a history lesson there too 😉
3. House decorations
There are loads of enterprising young men and women in all major cities in South Africa that sell wire animals, decorations and everything else at most major street intersections. This monogram hook reminded me of that about South Africa. The beauty of these hooks is they can be personalised with family member initials or spell out anything you want. Plus, more than just stocking hooks, they can be used for the other 364 days of the year as coat/key hangers. #winning
You can get these from Anthropologie for $22 each.
I saw this at a florist shop in Wimbledon and fell instantly in love. It is sure to stand out from other traditional wreaths on your street and can be used for a number of years. I found similar on ebay for £3.00.
4. Wrapping paper
I saw the idea to personalise Christmas wrapping paper from a blog post from as a way to add a bit of fun to Christmas parents wrapping. With wrap.me, you can add your own photos and I thought an African print can also be added for an additional touch of personalisation.
5. Gift for Neo
A stork in a baobab tree – an African 12 days of Christmas
This book is set in Africa and tells the story of a village preparing the birth of a child. I love that it is an African Christmas story and I can’t wait to read it to Neo. You can get yours at Amazon for £11.99
This is all from me from now. What do you do with your family to make Christmas a little more personal?
Thanks for stopping by!