Ho ho ho – it’s that time of the year again.

Like everywhere else in the world, my island of Mauritius has gotten carried away in the commercial whirlwind that is the festive season. While I can assure you that I am not entirely against Christmas, I do believe that we here in the tropics are not very well suited for the whole traditional Christmas shebang. Before you categorize me as a modern day Grinch, allow me to make my case…

 

Islander Dog checking out my Xmas tree

 

Let’s start with Santa Claus. The legendary figure sports a long white beard, travels around on a wooden sleigh pulled by reindeer, and goes down chimneys to deliver gifts to children who have been good. His work attire: a red coat with a white fur collar and black leather boots. Are you begin to see the island problem here? Our poor island Santas would be better off if they were allowed to arrive in swimming shorts on waterskis. I’ve seen numerous Mauritian Santas on the verge of fainting from the 33°C and 75% humidity of our Mauritian tropical summers. Let’s do Santa a favour, islanders, and give him permission to drop the beard too.

 

Hates being disguised as a reindeer

 

As for everyone else’s holiday attire, I can’t understand why people here still insist on dressing up as though our White Christmas did not mean white sand rather than snow. A friend recently asked for recommendations on Facebook about where he could purchase traditional Christmas sweaters. I assumed that he was spending Christmas in the Northern Hemisphere, but no – it was for here in Mauritius. Who in their right mind would buy Christmas sweaters when it’s a sauna outside? Because it’s Christmas, everyone feels compelled to don special outfits which are totally not suited to the outside temperature.

Then there’s all the Christmas decorations that are being sold everywhere (must keep the economy going, right?). Decorating your island house with Christmas trees, fake snow, and icicles makes absolutely NO sense to me. We don’t build snowmen here- we build sandmen! Surely someone can come up with an idea for Christmas decorations suited to the tropics – ones that don’t involve snow.

 

No snowflakes on my table

 

And what about the traditional heavy Christmas meals? Think roast turkey and Christmas puddings. To start with, there’s a high chance your frozen turkey would have melted by the time you walk from the supermarket to your car through the parking lot. There’s another high chance that your gravy will be off by the time you are ready to eat it as island time dictates that your guests will probably be arriving 2 hours late. December is slap bang in the middle of cyclone season in the Indian Ocean too. This means a 50% chance of spending Christmas in heavy rains with no electricity. Dinner by candlelight is fine, but does anyone want a side of gastroenteritis with their meal?

Things started to get festive here starting in early November (and apparently that’s not so bad, as I am aware that in some countries it starts as early as October). That’s two entire months we’ve had now of Christmas carols blaring in stores all over the island – you know, the ones that get stuck in your head like superglue. I don’t know about you, but I find it a little bit paradoxical to be singing about reindeers when we don’t have any here… nor chimneys for that matter. And I am sorry to disappoint, but the chances of it snowing here in Mauritius are effectively zero.

So here we are – it’s Christmas in the tropics. I’m currently stocking up on candles and canned food because we’ve got two cyclones currently evolving in the Indian Ocean, with one most likely to pay us a visit up close on Christmas Eve… ho ho ho!

Merry Christmas, islanders!

 

Too hot for mulled wine around here !

Cheriza Seeneevassen

Current Rock of Residence:

Mauritius

Island Girl Since:

Birth

Originally Hails From:

Mauritius

Cheriza is a born and bred island girl and has lived half her life on the island of Mauritius and the other half of her life on another rock, namely Australia. Well, Australia is actually a continent but since it is land surrounded by water, then by definition it could be considered as a rock, right?

Cheriza currently works in the hospitality industry, the other choice of career having failed miserably since tending to koalas and kangaroos are impossible on Mauritius. When she is not at work, you will find her tending to her two dogs (which most of the time behave like spoilt feral brats), hiking the rock’s numerous mountains, perfecting yoga poses (still can’t touch her feet by the way), bar hopping with her friends at sundown, or exploring the island’s numerous beaches because let’s face it, life is better in a bikini!

Cheriza is often consumed by wanderlust and loves to discover the rest of the world, even though sometimes the next travel destination has sometimes been other rocks such as Koh Phi Phi or Fiji Islands. It is always with great anticipation that Cheriza returns to Mauritius after two weeks of traveling at a time and there is no better feeling for her than to see the familiar blue lagoons, white sandy beaches, and green sugar cane fields whilst landing. That is, until Island Fever strikes again!

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