The beginnings of the holiday season are not marked on anyone’s calendar and, in fact, most of us have our own unofficial harbingers to remind us that Thanksgiving/Christmas/Hanukkah and the New Year are upon us.
Those signs are beginning to appear with increasing regularity and visibility throughout the islands.
This past weekend, the annual Christmas tree lighting, along with entertainment and much merrymaking, took place at Camana Bay. Thousands – from toddlers to octogenarians (and beyond) – were in attendance and certainly would declare collectively (after the oohs and aahs when the tree lights went aglow) that this was indeed the “start” of the holiday season.
We personally mark our mental calendars when the landscaping on our roundabouts goes from merely verdant to holiday festive (again, Camana Bay gets especially high marks for its “trees and ornaments” presentation at its signature entryway to its growing retail, residential and commercial community).
Our Christmas traditions may be unique to our little islands – the Crighton display of spectacular proportions, the Bodden counterpart on South Church Street, the immaculate raked sandy front yards of our wattle and daub homes. In modern times, the traditions of more than 100-plus other countries are finding their way into Cayman’s cultural tapestry.
After the predictable chaos of the “Black Friday” sales later this week, social calendars will begin to fill up.
Christmas parties already on the books include the Pink Ladies Christmas Tea, the Visual Arts Society Christmas sale, the Playhouse Family Christmas, the Cayman National Choir and Orchestra’s annual Elmslie Carol Concerts and the Singing Christmas Tree … and so many more. (The Compass will be publishing calendars aplenty to keep you abreast of all the goings-on.)
Schoolchildren are already practicing for pageants, while charitable organizations are planning activities and opportunities to help the less fortunate and our aged during this special season. Our churches, of course, are preparing to usher congregations through one of the most important seasons in the Christian calendar – when the faithful celebrate the birth of Jesus.
Some will decry that Christmas is starting “earlier and earlier” each year, driven as much by commerce as spirituality. That is probably true and, equally true, probably inevitable. Nevertheless, such thoughts need not be dispiriting.
In fact, it might not be a bad thing if the spirit of Christmas – of giving, of caring, of reconnecting with relatives and friends – were shared more evenly throughout the entire year.
This is perhaps a good time to remind ourselves that “company’s coming” to share our holidays with us. Our “Christmas season” coincides with our high-travel season. Already, our hotels, condominiums and guest houses are largely booked with our northern friends who are opting for sand over snow. We should be aware that they are our guests and, like all guests, may require a little extra patience – especially on our roadways: Many have never driven “on the left” in rental cars with steering wheels on the right. Roundabouts, which even many Caymanians haven’t figured out, will be a total mystery to thousands of befuddled motorists.
Be understanding, be kind, and be reluctant to make your “real feelings” known by blaring your horn or employing a well-known (even universal) hand signal that even visitors will recognize. Don’t do that. (Santa will be watching and, as we all know, he knows who’s been naughty or nice.)
No. We encourage all our readers to get in the spirit, to share the goodwill that is beginning to make its annual appearance on these little islands, and to take the time to enjoy this most joyous time of the year.