Many expat rock-dwellers like myself remember a time when Christmas meant roaring fires, snow-covered rooftops, and the sharp chill of a clear December evening.
It’s possible that I’m looking at winter through rose-coloured glasses because I don’t have to deal with it anymore, but Christmas just isn’t Christmas for me without sub-zero temps.
Sand and palm trees aren’t going to cut it.
In this part of the world, I need a little help getting into the festive spirit.
If you’re in the same boat (and yes – that boat could be labelled “First World Problems”), here are a few tried and tested tips to get you excited about Santa while you’re on island.
1.Dress up your dog/cat/lizard in Christmas gear.
Obviously this comes with a disclaimer – do not do this if your animal strongly objects.
Happily, I have a dog with zero dignity so he submits to whatever stupid stuff I insist he wears.
Exhibit A: His Christmas Eve outfit:
Exhibit B: His Christmas Day attire:
While you can do this with cats, I would only recommend it for the most pliable of felines.
Otherwise there will likely be raking, shredding, blood, and mayhem. Which is clearly not what the holidays are about.
2. Whine to friends about feeling homesick until they send gifts.
I’ve had great results with this one. One friend in particular always sends the most awesome and thoughtful presents.
A few years ago, she got us a Guinness ornament for our tree (not sure how that survived the Bahamian postal service, but I thank the Guinness Gods it did).
As soon as that beauty goes up, my festive spirit swells immeasurably.
3. Drink heavily and often.
The holidays are an extra drinky time. My advice to you is don’t fight it, embrace it.
It doesn’t have to be Guinness (although I do like to promote my homeland’s exports), you can happily experiment with all kinds of festive tipples.
Spiked eggnog, spiced rum, mulled wine. It depends what is available on your rock.
Personally, I buy Baileys on Dec 1st and drink it like water until Jan 1st.
I also encourage you to develop family traditions that are entirely based on alcohol consumption. It’s a healthy pursuit that encourages bonding between family members.
One momentous year, my brother and I pioneered our family tradition of breakfast mimosas on Christmas mornings.
The quality of my Christmas dinners dropped sharply, but festive spirit skyrocketed.
4. Eat heavily and often.
Some say the holidays are about peace, others think of this season as a time for family.
They are both wrong.
Christmas is a time for eating well beyond the bounds of normal human consumption.
I don’t trust people who diet during the holidays.
If humans were meant to fit into their skinny jeans in December, then God wouldn’t have made mince pies. Or Christmas pudding. Or roast potatoes. Or chestnut stuffing.
5. Play Christmas music on a loop, starting in October.
As soon as Halloween is over, take down the pumpkins and turn on the tunes.
By the time it gets to be December, your family will want to murder you but you’ll be feeling nice and festive.
My all-time favourite Christmas tune is Fairy Tale of New York by the Pogues.
Something about drunk Shane McGowan drunkenly singing about being drunk really does it for me.
And my most hated Christmas tune of all time is that weird Bing Crosby, David Bowie mash-up.
Watching the two of them croon through Little Drummer Boy makes my skin crawl.
I wouldn’t press play on that unless you’re deep into tip #3 [shudder]
If all else fails…
If you’ve carefully worked your way through tips 1-5 but you still aren’t in holiday mode, then I’ve just one final suggestion:
Find family or friends in wintery places and go visit.
A few weeks of snot freezing on your upper lip will instantly cure you of winter nostalgia.
That is, at least until December rolls around again…