I have always held the belief that Christmas is a season and not a day. So naturally, getting ready for the festive season is the most exciting part of the holidays. Each year, I would look forward to creating a new tone, one that would set the right climate for a memorable season.
While I may agree that Christmas is best celebrated at HOME, home is a place wherever the heart (family) is. I’ve spent Christmas in so many ‘homes’ but each one was always filled with love and joy. One Christmas, my daughter and I spent the day bundled up watching the Very Merry Christmas Parade from a sidewalk at Disney World. To this day, every Christmas we reminisce over the cheesy pasta we enjoyed at the Italian restaurant at Epcot.
Shortly after getting married, we celebrated our very first family Christmas in Providenciales, Turks & Caicos. There we were joined by our three children, each having a chance to share what that Christmas meant to them. It was a joyous Christmas, one we marked with a day at the beach, enjoying the warm turquoise waters and soft white sand in December.
This Christmas, we return to the cold and we are actually looking forward to some snow, eagerly anticipating making new traditions again.
Nonetheless, as special as those Christmases were, my childhood Christmases evokes special memories and the authentic spirit of Christmas. See I grew up in a small town in the Bahamas made up mostly of family. If they were not your blood relatives, they were still family. Christmas was a time of cherishing those bonds, of sharing with those who had less and of remembering all the blessings we received the preceding year.
You were expected to visit each household, always taking something with you. You were also expected to spend time with the elderly, ‘keep them company’. And while you were there, eat whatever they offered. These visits were special, you learned about life through their stories. Stories of perseverance, struggles, karma, and not to mention the jokes. This is what Christmas means to me.
Getting ready for Christmas meant hard work. Just as the inside of your home must be cleaned and decorated, you must begin with the outside. The gardens had to be cleared of any weeds, the grass had to be trimmed and there was a lot of sand that needed to be carried from the beach to decorate the yard. That meant countless hours on the beach with your cousins (oh the struggle). The house had to be painted and the porch trimmed. The inside was usually weeks of work. This was Christmas, expressing pride.
Then there was the baking; benny cakes, coconut cakes, bread, fruitcakes, coconut tart, pineapple upside down cake, and candy. AH, the scents of Christmas!
And this was just getting ready for Christmas…
*This blog was submitted by my Holiday Guest Blogger Lady Gulliver