Attend church, go to a chosen place for a sumptuous meal, then gulp down the drinks that appease the throat.
Then more indulgence, more merry-making, more interactions, till the day ends. That is the ideal Christmas plan for many.
But things don’t always go to plan. Mishaps can plague the big day, which may cause agony or negate the festive mood altogether.
A number of things have gone wrong on past Christmas days in Kenya and abroad. Here are few you should be wary of:
1. Robbery and burglary
Criminals know too well how the festive mood makes people drop their guard, and the possibility of Christmas Day being ruined by robbers is not too remote. So while you are away celebrating with your folks at the countryside, someone could be making away with your possessions.
2. Domestic disagreements
Given the expectations people have for Christmas, they may turn violent when things don’t go their way.
Besides, the things people do or fail to do on Christmas have led to divorces. Marriage counsellor Jennie Karina says one way to avoid such disagreements is by having a working festive season plan. “Couples ought to sit down and agree what they expectations are, family expectations and how to meet those expectations,” she said.
3. Traffic jams
In the lead-up to last year’s Christmas, the Nairobi-Nakuru highway was heavily packed with cars, with motorists spending hours on the route. Naivasha head of the police Titus Mathuku said it was due to “unusual heavy traffic” by commuters headed for Christmas celebrations.
4. Failure of technology systems
Mobile banking service M-Shwari, which allows for saving cash and taking loans through mobile phones, was offline the whole day last Christmas — meaning many could not access cash when they needed it.
Another famous technology failure happened on Christmas Day 2014 when Xbox Live and Sony PlayStation networks went offline, leaving millions of gamers — who had planned to mark Christmas by having fun though electronic games — high and dry.
5. Fashion faux pas
Wearing new clothes on Christmas can never run out of vogue. But what if your new garment is so small or so big as to embarrass you for the rest of the day? Various blogs call for physical shopping compared with doing it online. They also advocate pre-testing a garment to lessen the chances of being disappointed when it is worn on D-Day.
6. Failed sales initiatives
Some businesspeople are usually waiting for Christmas Day to make top dollar, but it does not always happen. Photographers, for instance, have for the past couple of years been recording reduced earnings as smartphones become the preferred mode of preserving memories. That could mean a hungry Christmas for many.
7. Delayed salaries
You have a family looking up to you for Christmas plans but no salary to facilitate that. Can Christmas get any worse than that? It makes a case for saving for festivities.
8. Being arrested
The Constitution orders police to ensure any arrested person is taken to court within 24 hours. But because Tuesday and Wednesday are public holidays, anyone who flouts the law will easily spend Christmas behind bars.
9. Noisy neighbours
You may crave a quiet Christmas but the final word could come from that neighbour with a new music system, who may have happened to invite scores of guests.
10. Leaving taps open
Given the erratic supply of water in the cities, the risk of travelling far while leaving taps open is high. A message circulating on social media, urging Kenyans to ensure taps are closed before travelling, has resonated with many. An unmitigated running tap on Christmas Day might mean a flooded house and ruined household items.
11. Poor exam results
Some candidates who sat this year’s KCPE and KCSE might have a different Christmas this year, especially if they posted poor results. Family gatherings will only magnify the extent of underperformance and some might feel embarrassed to be part of them.
12. Children going missing or being preyed on
Because of the crowding at social places, it is not uncommon for children to wander away from their guardians on Christmas. Also, crooks may want to take advantage of children’s vulnerability.