During a recent conversation with an older parent, I found out His Imperial Majesty did in fact acknowledge December 25 as ferenji Christmas. He would have cookies sent to the various schools in Addis Ababa on that day. I would love to hear this from others who remember those days.
The celebration of Orthodox Christmas is different of course, in the sense that people did not used to exchange gifts on that day but typically eat a variety of yummy dishes after a vegan fast. Yes, doro wot, kitfo, yebeg alicha, tire siga. Yummy. Not before attending service at the church.