Sunday, December 28, 2008

A Practical Christmas

Betty enjoying refreshments here at home the day before Christmas

A beautiful gift; a set of matching casseroles from Betty
At this time of the year, the thought comes to mind that I am so blessed with family and friends. While I’m not at all materialistically inclined, I am quite aware of the abundance with which God has blessed me. I have a very comfortable home (read: all mod cons in the form of electrical appliances - household and comfort enhancing) I have transport, resources to run my vehicle and I have a garden in which to entertain my family and friends.

By the same token, I cannot but help thinking of the thousands of underprivileged South Africans who do not even have a roof over their heads, never mind electricity and running water. And while only one of me cannot do much, I gladly give those people who are in my employ (and my son’s employ – see my extended family) whatever can possibly afford to give. My husband and I also attended the Carol Service last Sunday where we all donated gifts to the children in the newly-established orphanage. (My brother-in-law, the Pastor who with his wife delivered these gifts to the children on Christmas day, told us that one little girl just clutched her unopened gift and sobbed uncontrollably; heart wrenching stuff. )

On Wednesday morning I had a surprise visit from Betty, Emily’s daughter from Johannesburg. She arrived here with her son and with her nephew, who comes to work with Emily during the year (see my extended family). Emily poured each a glass of soda and I set out a plate of cookies. They sat in my formal lounge because Emily and Albertina were still cleaning the rest of the house; I sat a chatted to Betty and took some photographs of her and the little ones. Betty had come to greet me and brought me a Christmas present. I was delighted and really touched when I opened it later that night and saw that it was a set of beautiful casserole dishes. These people don’t have much for themselves, yet they can be so generous. When she and the two little boys had had enough to eat and drink, I took them to the taxi rank downtown.

Later that day as my staff prepared to leave at about midday, so that they could get a little last minute shopping in, I presented each with a Christmas mpho (gift). The local supermarkets make up hampers during this season: a plastic bucket filled with essential groceries and a few luxuries. Sugar, oil, maize meal, rice, tea bags, custard powder, tinned beans, a packet of sweets, jelly, shoe polish, deodorant and much more. Privately my two gardeners and Emily were presented with their annual Christmas bonuses (a "thirteenth cheque”) and I thanked them for work well done during the year. Then my husbanded loaded them up into my little pickup and took them to town.

On Christmas day I phoned Emily at home and wished her and her family for Christmas. I also asked her where I could find the floor-whiz (mop) and told her how much I was missing her. This statement was greeted with much laughter. I’m sure she tells her family how much I dislike housework!

So while I cannot do much more for the masses than pray for them, I’m sure the people who are close to me and help me so well all year, were able to have a good festive time with their own loved ones.


  1. Isn't it absolutely amazing, Jo, that those who have so little are so extremely generous. The casserole dishes are a very beautiful gift. You are extremely lucky to be so valued.

  2. Yes Toni, I feel especially blessed with my extended family and the love and support I get from them. Have a wonderful day. Hugs Jo

  3. How wonderful Jo, of Betty to give you something when she has so little herself. It's because you touch the lives of so many people, you will be blessed ten fold :)


Thank you for visiting my blog and taking the time to leave a comment. I appreciate your feedback. Jo