Would it still be Christmas in Jamaica?

For many, the sounds and sights and smells of Christmas convince us that the season has arrived, even if there is no snow on the ground. The weather turns cold, the radio stations all play music of the season and lights go up on houses all around us. There is a change in all the stores from regular hum drum to decorations and sales on items only seen during the Christmas holiday season. But what if you were in Jamaica?
Would it still seem like Christmas if you were in a part of the world where clothes were optional, and the sand under your feet was as hot as the asphalt on the street? Would it still seem like Christmas if the steel guitar and the banjos were heard beating out the old familiar island sounds and the only thing blowing in the wind was the smell of tequila? Walking up and down the beach with only a bathing suit on and worrying about sun burn isn’t the type of thing most people associate with Christmas. Is Christmas in Jamaica really all that different?

Most Jamaicans can be found lounging with an ice cold glass of Sorrel in their hands and humming along to the same Christmas carols that are heard in the United States. This Carribean island’s radio stations play the familiar favorites reggae style. “Now she rock da baby” is the name of a popular carol sung during Christmas in Jamaica. “Chrismus” as Jamaican’s pronounce it, is also not much different in that Jamaicans prepare both the inside and outside of their homes, (like the United States citizens putting up trees and lights,)there is an animal that is killed and prepared (like going to the store to prepare a ham or turkey for dinner) a few days before Christmas in Jamaica so that everyone can share in the feast, little children still do a presentation of the Christmas story and gifts (of a different nature) are exchanged.

There would be few Christmas’ spent in Jamaica that would be like any other, however. For those from the United States, the weather would just throw EVERYTHING off kilter a little. What does Santa Claus look like in Jamaica? The same as he does here, however, he talks with the accent of the “Jamaica mans sos they can unnerstan him.” (not a slam, just doing a bad interpretation!)

Christmas in Jamaica would be great for a one time thing, maybe as a reward for something well done that particular year, but the snow, the carols, the Salvation Army bells ringing, the shopping, the fighting for a spot in the parking lot, the cold and blustery wind, wouldn’t it be missed? Driving all over town with coffee or hot chocolate late in the evening to see everyone’s lights and who outdid who this year would just loose it’s appeal if done where it is light most of the time and warm. The feeling of sun on you back wouldn’t inspire you to build a snowman and call him “Parson Brown” or would have you listening to “Chestnuts roasting on an open fire” thinking of how warm and toasty you were inside while it blew and blustered outside! Baking and cooking, while still done at Christmas time in Jamaica, would consist of different foods and smells. All this is what makes the appeal of Christmas in Jamaica less appealing by the minute. Unless it was cost effective to fly entire families at the same time, the fellowship and friendship of those normally around would also be lost for the holiday. If you are like John Grisham’s character’s in “Skipping Christmas” who, after their children went away to college planned a trip to a warm deserted island only to find out that the kids wanted to come home for Christmas, then maybe Christmas in Jamaica is right for you, too.
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