LIFE & STYLE: It’s a Christmas destination dilemma

Sunday December 22 2019


By Devotha John and Salome Gregory

For couples, it can be challenging at times, deciding where to celebrate the birth of Jesus Christ.

For some, Christmas means travelling to the village to celebrate the day with your parents, relatives and other family members. But whose parents should you spend Christmas with? Is it yours or your significant other’s parents?

Some readers share their experience.

Gift John, 38

When growing up, the tradition in Gift’s family was travelling to Mbeya to celebrate Christmas with the whole clan.

Her parents, brothers and sisters would join uncles, aunts, nieces and nephews at grandmother’s house in the village.


The mother of one daughter says Christmas used to be a reunion for the whole family. It would be a big feast where family members celebrated the birth of Jesus together after having been away from each other for sometime.

“On the day some of us would go to church while others remained at home to prepare the meals for the day. It used to be one of the exciting times of the year, the big day for our family to meet and share a lot about our lives,” she says.

But since she got married everything has changed. It normally gets difficult for her to decide where to go every Christmas. Gift usually finds herself in a dilemma when it comes to choosing between her family and that of her husband.
During the seven years that she has been in marriage, Gift has only joined her family back in the village for Christmas twice.

She has celebrated the rest Christmas days in Nairobi with her husband’s family. Although they usually have a good time together, Gift still misses family reunions in Mbeya.

“My husband works in Nairobi while I work here, so obviously at the end of the year we meet in Nairobi for Christmas with his family and sometimes go for vacation”.
Gift says she is not sure where to celebrate Christmas this year. As much as she would like to be in Mbeya with her family, she on the other hand would like to be with her husband and their children.
At some point, she wishes her husband would spend  Christmas with his family while she spends the day with hers in the village. Then the two can be together for New Year in  Dar es Salaam.

Michael  Materu, 39

Where to spend Christmas was a challenge for Materu and his wife in the first years of marriage.

“In the beginning, it was a challenge because both families would want us to go spend Christmas with them. To solve matters, we would spend Christmas eve with my family and Christmas day with hers,” Materu says.

Today the couple spends Christmas at their house and neither of their families complains anymore.
Since all their parents live in Dar es Salaam, the couple sometimes invites both families to celebrate Christmas at their house.

“Sometimes either of our families invites us to join them for the celebrations,” says Materu. The couple is yet to decide where they will spend Christmas this year.

Benjamin Masebo, 32

For three years now, deciding whose family among them to celebrate Christmas with has been tough for Benjamin Masebo.

The Assistant Research Officer at Twaweza Tanzania grew up in a family which used to travel to Moshi from Morogoro every Christmas.

Since he got married, it has been a challenge as his wife also demands they join her family in Bukoba for the holidays. Their first Christmas together was in Moshi and the second one in Bukoba.

This time around, each of them is trying to convince the other to spend Christmas with their own parents. That is, she wants them to spend Christmas in Bukoba while he thinks they should celebrate the day in Moshi.
“Looks like we are all going to remain in Dar es Salaam this year and spend our Christmas without our families. My wife insists she needs to celebrate Christmas with her parents while I would like us to be with my parents. So, if none of us changes their mind, we are going to stay here,” says Masebo.

He says his family reunites in Moshi every year end to celebrate Christmas and New year. It is during this time that they conduct family meetings, discuss about their farms as well as resolve pending family issues.

The end of year is a time when family members talk about how farms should be divided and who will take care of the orphans in case a family member dies. These meetings go along with slaughtering of cows and drinking local brew.

Masebo says his marriage seems to be interfering with the old tradition, which he got accustomed to since he was a child. A tradition that he treasures.

Imagine having to suddenly change the routine one has been used to for the past 30 years of their life. Masebo wonders how he will cope with the situation in future.

Tecla Timothy

Since she got married eight years ago, the businesswoman who lives in Kimanga has been spending Christmas holidays with her in-laws in Dodoma.

For her December is just like any other month, for she is always in Dodoma at a time when she would be making money in the city.

Tecla has all these years been asking her husband to also consider spending one of the Christmases with her parents but in vain. Although she is not happy about it she can not disobey her husband.

Being the first born, everyone is always looking up to Tecla’s husband to organise everything at his parents’ home. As a result, Tecla is usually very busy during the festive season at her in-laws’

 “Marrying a firstborn becomes a burden at times like these. As we speak, everything is already packed at home, ready for the trip to my in-laws’. We expect to be in Dodoma in three days from now,” she says.

Her in-laws will be celebrating their 50th wedding anniversary this December and so it’s going to be hectic. Tecla and her husband have been very busy putting things in place ready for the festivities.

The good thing however, is that the family always celebrates Easter with Tecla’s parents in Singida.