10 Things about Island Christmas that Confuse and Delight Me

As I celebrate my very first Christmas on my rock, I can’t help but notice how oddly and wonderfully different it is to everything I’m used to…

1. It begins on November 1st, not the weekend after Thanksgiving.

It’s like, “Bye bye Halloween, hello Santa and Baby Jesus figurines.”

2. We’ve got snowmen, y’all. Like, many, many snowmen – all around the island.

And my thermostat (in my house!) read 85°F today. Go figure.

3. Inflatables! Inflatables everywhere!

Christmas inflatables_WWLOR

In nearly every yard boasting a light-up Olaf (see item #2), there is also an assortment of Christmas inflatables. My favorite one is Santa in a boat that says, “Hooked on Christmas”. Yeeesssss. Honorable mention: inflatable Christmas Minions.


Santas Park_WWLOR

Only my Spanish Wells friends will truly understand this reference. For the rest of you, just think: Christmas Explosion. We don’t have these in America. Americans, if you should ever visit Spanish Wells at Christmas, be sure to stop by Santa’s Park. (And if you happen to stop by Santa’s Park on the first day it’s lit, you can even sit on Santa’s lap and tell him – umm… her. I’m pretty sure this Santa is actually a she… – what you want for Christmas.)

5. Christmas lights on cars.

light up Christmas car_WWLOR

I’ve only seen one like this. But it was mind-blowing.

6. Fireworks. All. December. Long.

Christmas fireworks_WWLOR

That noise that sounds like a gun? It’s just teenagers shooting off fireworks and accidentally blowing each other’s fingers off.

7. Themed Christmas trees.

themed Christmas tree_WWLOR

The trees adorned by the womenfolk of Spanish Wells could rival those of any shopping mall in the U.S. of A. And they make my little ol’ “American” Christmas tree look rather homely.

8. Christmas carols on repeat.

We started singing Christmas carols at my church here almost exclusively starting November 15th. And I don’t know at least 50% of them. I do know Beautiful Star of Bethlehem now though. Because I’ve sung it. At. Least. 20. Times. (It’s actually a lovely song…)

9. Raiding.

Basically this means hooligans wonderful young people attack enter your home and commit all kinds of crimes eat your food and toilet paper your yard and put your furniture on the roof and drive your vehicle away, usually in the middle of the night – all in the name of Christmas “fun”. I’m still learning to think this is fun… and I may have subtly mentioned to some young people that I sleep with a large knife next to my bed. Just so they were forewarned.

10. The cookies. Oh, the cookies.

Too many kinds to list. This starts in November too. While the men are away fishing, the women are in the kitchen, cranking out more Christmas cookies than I’ve ever seen in my life. Gym memberships are $35 a month. Necessary after all those cookies. You’re welcome for that PSA.

 –   –   –

Christmas on Spanish Wells. It’s big, y’all. If you love Christmas, it’s the place to be. If you’re the Grinch, you’d better find a new island.

island Christmas house_WWLOR

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3 thoughts on “10 Things about Island Christmas that Confuse and Delight Me

  1. I have to comment – not all island Christmases are quite like this – that’s the beauty of the chain of islands in the West Indies – here in Saint Lucia we don’t have 3,5,6,9 for sure but we do have others – We have ‘bussing bamboo’ which is kids lighting kerosene in a piece of bamboo – that’s the noise like a gun going off that we hear (fireworks are way too expensive here and only licensed operators can set them off) We have black cake and sorrel, lots of local Christmas tunes – from October – we’re not so much into Halloween. We also go to Midnight Mass on Christmas eve and then some people party into breakfast of Christmas Day. Then we go to lunch and maybe go to lunch again by another friend, and then another lunch by another friend…you get the picture. Much rum-punch, ginger beer and sorrel(with rum) are drunk. We still have Christmas masqueraders though not like when I was a child and used to be really scared going past the market that Papa dJab and his little little helpers would get me as we drove by…

    • Finola, I love that Christmas around the world is so unique and different. It’s fun too to see what common traditions and themes emerge. In NC, staying up all night is not a thing…but here on Spanish Wells, people still do what you described. They go to the Christmas Eve service that ends at midnight, then party until Christmas breakfast! Fun times.

  2. Lucky you with Christmas Carols …… Long Island’s Anglican Churches will not start Carols until Advent IIII …. we are ready!

    Spanish Wells … Long Islanders are ALL taking about how Spanish Wells mobilized immediately after Joaquin and came to our aid. Pass it on, and Merry christmas !

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