Postcards from a Christmassy CAPE TOWN, with Love and Seasons’ Greetings X
PS. It’s Starting to Feel a Lot like an AFRICAN CHRISTMAS
Ditch the Mistletoe, Shun the Tinsel, Steer Clear of the Turkey! Instead bring on Sea, Sunsets, Lazy Barbeques on the Beach, Soothing Music from Balmy Roof Gardens and Slow Artisanal Crafts. This is Christmas, Cape Town-style.
Thought Christmas is destined to only be a red, green and white affair with snowflakes, carrot-nosed scarf-bedecked snowmen, tinsel, spikey evergreen Christmas trees, glitzy baubles, cozy fireplaces, woolly socks, mince pies and traditional turkey? Think again! With Xmas falling in the heat of mid-summer in the Southern hemisphere, customs, Christmas decorations and the approach to food & drink couldn’t be more different. Some Southern regions may still give a nod to traditional Northern customs, but more and more those in sunny climes are embarking on a journey that’s putting a very different spin on the season.
Enjoy our impressions of a Christmas in Cape Town!
Take Cape Town’s world-famous V&A Waterfront. They’ve over the past few years launched a forward-looking initiative called Joy from Africa to the World – and in the process ditched plastic tinsel and baubles destined to end up in landfills, for an approach that’s infinitely more sustainable, inclusive and one that provides opportunities for artists throughout the country to showcase their skills. Above all, this is an initiative that celebrates the story of an African heritage and culture, of hope, inspiration and community involvement. Creativity is given a platform, traditions are honoured and the environment is protected by using locally sourced, sustainable materials and processes. This project has grown to create over 150 jobs and supports many small local design and craft businesses, most of which are women-owned. The V&A Waterfront collaborates with many good causes including the Cape Town Society for the Blind and New Crossroads Can. A win-win scenario if ever there was one! This is a visual spectacle of décor installations like nowhere else in the world, giving visitors the warmest and most authentic African Christmas welcome.
In parallel with the V&A Waterfront the City of Cape Town has also embraced the Christmas season with full festive gusto. Numerous Christmas markets have been laid on across the shopping districts where locals are selling stunning hand-made produce: exquisite jewellery, clothing & accessories, pottery & ceramics … and of course the delectable artisanal food, wine and flowers that Cape Town is so famous for. The wine estates, botanical gardens and other venues are alive with music festivals over the summer and the beaches are abuzz with gorgeous sun-worshippers, surfers, kite-surfers and dog-walkers exercising, eating and drinking. The city of Cape Town launched the switching on of its Christmas lights with a night of music in the city square, with close to 70 000 people enjoying the balmy night and stunning festivities.
On Christmas day most people will be planning a family meal and/or day out to one of the umpteen spectacular beaches. Some families will go camping together to one of the many exquisite campsites in the mountains or on the beaches.
If spending Christmas day at home, food offerings are likely to include something that can be cooked outdoors – no surprises that a barbeque or a picnic-style hamper will be on the menu for many! Very possibly accompanied by potato salad and ‘braaibroodjies’ (a traditional cheese, tomato and apricot jam or chutney toastie grilled on the barbeque, https://tarasmulticulturaltable.com/braaibroodjie-south-african-barbeque-sandwich/). Traditional custard and jelly Trifle and ice cream may just finish off many of the nation’s meals!
That being said, each of the hundreds of wine estates, the thousands of restaurants, beach bars, sky bars and other venues will also be populated with families and friends having a Christmas meal (or restaurant-packed picnic hamper) prepared for them.
As for Christmas gifts – the stores in the Southern Hemisphere are most certainly not as adamant to tempt people into spending on gifts for Christmas as those further north! The likelihood is that families will gift something small to one another – or donate to those less fortunate, and the preference would be to exchange a locally hand-made item, a gift of food (hot sauce is a favourite!) or a good bottle of wine.
We’ve also thrown in a few Christmas goodie-temptation ideas, just in case you’re still undecided.
‘TIS THE SEASON FOR GIVING AND RECEIVING LOVELY HAND-MADE GOODIES …
Wishing you a Merry Festive Season!
CAPE ISLAND @cape_island_
CAPE TOWN ETC @capetownetc
CITY OF CAPE TOWN @cityofcapetown
COLE JEWELLERY @colejewellery
DESIGN AFRIKA @design.afrika
GOOD THINGS GUY @goodthingsguy
INSIDE GUIDE @insideguide
ISOBEL SIPPEL @isobelsippel
JOY FROM AFRICA TO THE WORLD #joyfromafricatotheworld
KIRSTEN GOSS @kirsten___goss
ORANJEZICHT CITY FARM #oranjezichtcityfarm
RICH MNISI @rich_mnisi
SHE BY SHELLEY TAYLOR @shelleytaylordesigns
SKINNY LAMINX @skinnylaminx
THEBE MAGUGU FOR ADIDAS @thebemagugu
V & A WATERFRONT @vandawaterfront