EDITORIAL – As Cayman comes together for a ‘community Christmas’

The North Pole may be nearly 5,000 miles away, but “Santa” has managed to recruit an impressive number of helpers to fill our three little islands with beneficence and Christmas cheer.

Each year finds us more grateful for and impressed by the legions of groups and individuals who devote significant time, money and resources to making the holidays bright for all of Cayman.

Their generosity and giving spirit create a palpable feeling of community – a seasonal uptick in the old song’s wish for “peace on earth, goodwill to men.” You’ll find it in the smell of bake-sale cookies and sticky, minty candy canes; in the harmonies of a dozen Christmas concerts; in the twinkle of a million colored lights.

Indeed, there is such an abundance that it is almost too much to take in: From the whimsical drama in the Playhouse Family Christmas to the resonant voices of the National and Cayman Youth Choirs. From the imaginative displays in store windows and roundabouts to the fantastic scenes created by the Bodden sisters on South Church Street and by the Crighton family at their home on Shamrock Road in Spotts – and all the decorations, both ambitious and understated, to be found in every area in between.

There are the majestic decorated evergreens in downtown George Town and Camana Bay. The bazaars and bake sales hosted by philanthropic groups such as the Pink Ladies, and by school and church communities. There are Christmas markets and craft fairs throughout the island, and special events such as the Artisans’ Fair at the National Gallery.

There are a host of road races to get our blood pumping, and concerts, recitals and programs to inspire reflection on the season.

There are toy drives, food drives, and philanthropic efforts to make sure that no one goes without. (It is not too late to donate to these worthy causes, by the way.)

None of these would be possible without the immeasurable contributions of hundreds of our neighbors, teachers, coworkers and friends – whose only reward are the smiles of children, the gratitude of grown-ups and the satisfaction of knowing they are giving a special gift to all of Cayman.

So let’s recognize all the organizers, donors, sponsors and volunteers who bring such wonder and add a bit of magic to the season.

Coming together as a community is more than a diversion – more than a pleasant way to pass the time. It builds harmony, cohesion and resilience. It makes Cayman stronger, kinder – a better place to live.

And importantly, it teaches our children (and reminds the rest of us) that although we hail from more than 120 different nations and cultures and Christmas customs, we are more than a random collection of strangers.

Indeed, we may sometimes have our differences, but during the joyous holiday season, those differences somehow seem less divisive. We think that is because, in the most important ways, we are all the same.

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