Christmas activities pure excitement

santa and kids

Kids in Jamaica look forward to Christmas activities which usually begin around December 1st.

On this beautiful tropical island we don’t have snow, neither did we have Santa and his reindeer.

In fact, I'll tell You about the fun we do have in what we called “Christmus Ja." Kids and parents alike become very creative with Christmas ideas.

"Christmus" breeze

It's a very exciting time, when you start to feel a little chilly breeze in the early morning. We call it the "Chrismus breeze." Depending on where on the island you are, you may probably need a light sweater.

As kids we used to check dad's and the neighbor's garden to see if all the gungo peas and sorrels were ready. They are the sign of Christmas.

Our job was to gather stones put them around the trees in the yard, like the oranges,mangoes,coconut trees and even some big flower trees.

White-lime would be used to washed the stones and about one quarter of tree trunk, maybe we were trying to get the illusion of snow.

frosty snow man

Spring cleaning

Christmas activities also include putting fresh coats of paint throughout the house, new curtains for the windows and new bed linens.

Why would everything have to be new? Good question.

I grew up with these things so I never really thought of it. I guess it’s just a part of our unique culture.

The house has to be cleaned from top to bottom, and we wash all the dishes in the china cabinet. It's like spring-cleaning in Canada.

Christmas carols

Popular Christmas carols over the airwaves include traditional

ones like:

"We wish you a merry Christmas."

"Joy to the world."

"on the first day of Christmas."

Other carols our talented reggae artists put their spin on them like.

"We wish you an Irie Christmus."

"Santa ketch up in a mango tree."

"Santa Claus do yu eva com to the ghetto." The kids are very engaging and delighted to help their parents with the preparations for the holiday.

Rum cake

Christmas cake or "Rum cake" as it also called is a must in every household. Look! Put it this way,take away the rum cake from Jamaican Christmas and it's like a party without music.

The same can be said about the sorrel drinks. Pass by afarmer’s field in December and see these beautiful red flowered plants, they‘re breathtaking.

Family and friends visiting for Christmas expect to indulge in their favorite dessert rum cake and sorrel drink.

Boy, oh boy, as kids my siblings and I used to go around the neighborhood just to taste the cake and sorrel from relatives and friends.

Reggae christmas

Christmas Eve.

Of all the preparation and the excitement the Christmas activities peak on Christmas Eve Oh yeah! We call it "grand market!"

It's pure excitement. Every little shop on every corner of the island is radiantly decorated and blasting music.

The parents are home finishing up last minute stuff, like the frying of fish and roasting beef, which we bought earlier from the butcher down the street. This is served with rice and gungo peas for Christmas dinner.

On this day more than any other children are overjoyed. Why? Because no matter how strict their parents are, on this day they cut their kids some slacks. The kids all dressed up in some cool kids clothes and off they go to the grand market.

"Pickney" (child)

Parents would be like “pickney uno no stay out too late memba tomorrow a church.” You know that falls on deaf ears, because this is our night. It’s party time.

The Christmas activities wrap up with church service all across the island, and a very low-key Christmas Day with family and friends enjoying well prepared meal that is top off with dessert which is rum cake and sorrel drink.

It should be fun to track santa, for us it was anything but

Grand market is Jamaican kids most memorable holiday

The yummy mouth-watering rum cake

The ever so popular sorrel drink

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