Traditional tree chosen for the season

A weeping willow tree dressed with traditional miniature handmade creations is the Cayman Islands National Trust tree for the season.

The Christmas tree, designed by students from Triple C School took first place in National Trust Traditional Christmas Tree Design Competition held at the Bodden Town Mission House Saturday.

The competition, held for school-age children from private and public schools encouraged students to be creative in designing traditional Cayman Christmas trees.

Triple C students chose the theme A Natural Cayman Christmas and decorated their tree with colourfully painted collections of miniature thatch creations, curly red beans, bean pods, seashells and a painted sea egg as part of a tree topper.

Jennifer Rocket and Lauren Scott

Jennifer Rocket and Lauren Scott, right, pose by the winning triple C entry.

The students were awarded a gift package from the National Trust Gift Shop for their school library.

To the judges Florence Wood, Sue Gibbs and Debra Naused the tree perfectly reflected a traditional Christmas tree mirroring Cayman’s culture. But it was not an easy choice; Ms Wood commented that all the decorated trees were winners in her eyes.

Trees and decorations came about in quite an interesting way; some with leaves and some without. Ornaments made with food and some with thatch. The Lighthouse School decided to go with the painted light bulb look.

Whether inspired by culture or competition, the students’ spirit of the season had them scouring the beaches, backyards and nooks and crannies looking for inspirations for their decorations.

When Christmas was celebrated in Cayman decades ago, residents didn’t have shiny glass bulbs, garland or fancy wrapping paper. They had painted broken glass, seashells, cloth scraps, thatch, and anything that looked pretty enough to hang on the Rosemary bushes, sisal tops, weeping willow or wild coffee bean trees.

Christmas does not have to be this thing which breaks your pocket as could be seen by the interesting selection of items gathered by the children, but as the time spent with family and being creative, stated Historic Programs Manager Denise Bodden.

‘In days gone by Caymanians had to make do with what they had. They salvaged things from the seashore or local forest and along with cloth scraps, leaves; seeds and shells came up with a beautiful Christmas tree.”

At the Mission House visitors commended the students on the unique display of traditional trees being judged on originality, creativity, use of materials and overall traditional look.

While there some residents even took time to tour the Mission grounds and reflect back to some of Cayman’s most remembered Christmas tradition by older folks -the sand yard, church and concerts, fresh beef and unity.