Begin making new Christmas traditions

It’s Christmas, a time for being with friends and family, a time for celebrations and good food, and a time for traditions. We have traditions all year round, in Cayman it’s camping at the beach on Easter and of course Pirates week, or whatever you want to call it. These are what make certain days special, different from all the rest.

At Christmas, everyone goes and looks at the lights, thanks to Mr. Crighton and the Bodden sisters who, despite hard times, never fail to enchant our children and keep alive the Christmas Spirit in all of us. In the olden days Caymanians made a sand yard where they covered their lawns with the whitest sand and lined their paths with gravel and conch shells.

Now the world has gotten very commercialized; it’s all about buying the latest high tech gadgets and designer jewellery, getting your kids the ‘must have’ toy of the season so that they won’t feel left out when all their friends have something they don’t have. Despite the fact that it costs over $200 and you know they’ll only play with it for a short time before it sits dormant gathering dust for the rest of the year. I’m 44 and I will never forget the doll house my father made for my sister and me when we were about six. It was two storeys high, made of plywood and painted white, and he and my mother saved up for months to furnish it. It didn’t cost much, but daddy made it himself from some plans my mummy found in one of her magazines and most importantly, it was made with love.

Nintendo games and designer clothes are not made with love; they are probably made in China. I’m not saying the olden days were better, I for one enjoy getting a box of my favourite chocolates rather than an orange or a pair of socks, but they were good times.

So it’s up to us not to forget the old traditions and make new ones of our own. Now that I have kids of my own, I’ve started my own unique tradition, a Christmas Scavenger Hunt, so instead of finding gifts under the tree, my kids get clues. This year I’m adding challenges like on Survivor and remembering not to write the clues with water based markers like I did one year, because it rained that night and all the clues washed away.

Whatever you decide to do, enjoy it, have fun and remember, it’s not the material things we remember, it’s the laughter, the visiting with friends and family you only see once a year, the looking at the lights, the smell of fresh baked cookies, and singing Christmas carols at the top of your lungs in the car, as you drive home from shopping with the kids.

Traditions both old and new make things special, so I encourage you to think of some new ones and enjoy the old ones. Listen to the children sing Hosanna Rocks at the school Christmas play and smile at the beauty of the lights when you walk around the lawns so colourfully decorated. And as you sit down to your Christmas meal with those you hold close, reflect on the past and the future and be thankful for the fact the we are all here to celebrate another year.

I wish you joy and happiness this holiday season, but most of all I wish you love, because without love, Christmas is just another day.

Merry Christmas.

Cathy Richardson