Christmas for me is completely different to most people. Growing up in the Bahamas meant that I never had a white Christmas. No ‘chestnuts roasting on an open fire’. See it’s a bit too hot for that…
Christmas to this day, even though I now live in the UK, is always best spent at home. Home with my parents, my brothers and my two Jack Russells in my yellow and white two-story house with the huge wooden front porch.
The front porch with the two green wooden chairs facing the front garden with the two small palms. The garden I convinced myself Santa and his reindeer landed on. I’d run out in my pyjamas in the morning sunshine looking for patches of eaten grass after finding the empty glass of milk and crumb-ridden plate. I’ve always had the most determined imagination.
Now that I am older, I can look back on the things that stand out the most. What makes my perfect Bahamian Christmas:
-Christmas morning, waking up to the indigo sky of the early am. Still at nearly 21, tripping on the overstuffed stocking at the foot of my bed. My mother always amazes me with her ability to not wake me, the lightest of sleepers.
-Going downstairs in my PJs to sit on the king size bed of my parents and open each lovingly yet hurriedly wrapped parcels from the same velvet red stocking I’ve had for as far as I can remember. It use to be nearly as tall as me, at least 4ft or did it just seem so big and magical? It’s still just as fun, annoying my sleeping dad with my thank-yous.
-Going into the kitchen, sitting in one our kitchen chairs, with its ability to swirl still after years of me sat in the same one, the one of three furthest left. Mum will usually make yummy gorilla bread by Paula Dean (recipe here). Me chatting to her and asking when my mum’s best friend Leslie (practically my aunt). Mum getting flour in the tile grooves of the counter. Us knowing only Leslie, her and I will be feasting on the delicious breakfast bread while drinking freshly brewed coffee and waiting everyone else to either wake up or arrive to begin opening presents.
-After everyone arrives, we all sit in the living room by our Christmas tree which this year may be quite unusual. Mum and I plan to make one out of driftwood. Here’s the YouTube how to video if you haven’t seen it yet.
-We always think the gift passing is taken in turns but I’m always delegated every year to sit by the tree on the tile floor and evenly distribute gifts (in my Santa hat of course). I’ve always liked doing this and my brother Mikey and I use to argue over who did it every year. That and when we’d decorate the tree!
-After the gifts we usually have two very over excited Jack Russells. Ben and Jerry always get really hyper Christmas day. Is it all the leftovers or they’re just as excited about gifts as I am?
-The day goes on and Mum and I usually go for a drive around the island on her golfcart dropping off gifts to family friends. I love seeing people on Christmas Day and exchanging hugs and gifts and ‘Merry Christmas”.
-The day is all and all tiring but somehow my Mum manages to slave away making a delicious Christmas dinner for a little get together we have every year. It’s like a Christmas party for our family friends who are more like family. They come over every year and it makes our Christmas complete.
-What do we usually eat in the Bahamas for Christmas dinner? Well seeing as my Mum was born and raised in Bristol and my dad is Bahamian we always have a multicultural dinner for any major holiday. My brothers and I grew up fully aware of what brussel sprouts were and shared the same distaste for them that most British kids did too. What I’ll do is write down everything we have this Christmas dinner and have some photos, explaining the eats won’t do them justice! (P.s. my next post will tell you about my first vegetarian “Christmas” dinner I made last night for my friends)
I’ll be heading home on Saturday with my Mum and Grandparents. We’ll fly from Heathrow to Miami, spend 2 nights there (and a full day of shopping!) before we arrive on the island I grew up on: Green Turtle Cay.
I cannot wait!