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Making this Christmas different and special is proving a tall order for many

Betty Musambi knows there is no food she can prepare in her house that her two children can consider special.

Unlike in years gone by when Christmas would be the only time when children had enough supply of chapati, mandazi, roast meat, samosa among other foodstuffs, in her household — and indeed in many homes across Kenya — the children have become accustomed to such meals.

To make today count, Mrs Musambi plans to take the children to one of the top hotels in Nairobi.

“I want them to choose for themselves what to eat,” she said yesterday.

The mother of two is not alone. Across the country, one of the worries Kenyans have been harbouring is how to ensure this year’s Christmas does not pass like any other Sunday.

Nothing special

Not many meals are “special” any more and, to some Kenyans, there are no more “special” places left to visit that will make it a day to remember.

That is why a top executive at a city firm, who sought anonymity for personal reasons, plans to fly to Dubai with his family after attending Christmas festivities with his extended family today.

“My children are teenagers. For them, it’s not really a big deal that you’re buying new clothes and all that. They enjoy travelling instead” said the father of two.

He added that they have been travelling to various destinations across Kenya on Christmas Day in previous years and that it had become a tad boring.

From our talks with parents, it emerged that today’s children are a more enlightened lot and are forcing their parents to wrack their brains so they can offer something new.

“I wanted to take them to the Lunar Park at Uhuru Park but they refused. They said they want to swim,” said Ms Jane Njoki, who lives in Machakos County with her husband and four children.

She added that her children have been to Uhuru Park a couple of times and so they demanded to visit a facility with swimming which is a 15-minute drive from their home. Her eldest child is 13 while the youngest is two.

Ms Njoki said that chapatis had also been struck off the Christmas menu because “they are meant for people in the countryside” and so fish and ugali would do for supper. Most of those adjustments will force her to cough more money but she sounded prepared for it.

Kisumu-based businessman Alex Otieno, known for organising the annual Vybez Music Awards at the lakeside city, will take his family to the Maasai Mara national reserve in Narok County in his bid to make today a Christmas to remember.

Mr Otieno, who has a wife and two children aged four and two, has never made a Christmas trip to any other tourist attraction with his family before. He hopes the visit will make a difference.

Mr Rodgers Ogola, who also resides in Kisumu County, has come to understand like most other parents that children have an affinity for swimming pools and so he will be taking his children, aged nine and two, to a facility near Katito for a swim.

Miles away in Kisii County, Ms Dinah Bosibori, a mother of five, will dig a bit deeper into her pockets to ensure her five children have a good supply of snacks and soft drinks, which she says they do not see so much of in the course of the year.

She said she was also considering taking the children, the eldest aged 20, to a resort near their home so that, for the first time, they can have a memorable experience of being inside the much-talked-about facility about two kilometres from their home.

Speaking of memories, Mrs Musambi said one of the programmes for Christmas Day is to visit a hospital with her three-year-old firstborn and the second-born aged five months.

“If it is new clothes, we buy like daily. If it is taking them out, we do. But this time round, after church, I’d like to take my children to visit children in hospital to give them gifts and Christmas. That is something they will always remember — that on Christmas Day 2016, we went to pray for sick children and gave them presents,” she said.

However, there are some parents who said they could not afford to make this Christmas any different from the past. Mr James Kimani, a taxi driver in Nairobi, said that besides buying new clothes for his five children, there will not be much difference. 

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