Christmas is indeed the most wonderful time of the year for many Jamaicans.
It’s the time when the meat options are plenty, and loved ones convene for dinner at the larger, more comfy home of a relative.
For those who opt-out of a home-cooked meal, there’s always a neighbour or some other family gathering elsewhere. Fact is everyone is dining and usually happy.
Things have changed somewhat this year, so we urge you to practise safety protocols, such as socially distant dining, and washing and/or sanitising the hands often while preparing meals and before and after dining.
Here’s our list of 15 things Jamaicans look forward to at Christmas time…
1 As creatives, many Jamaican children would rub together Styrofoam from the packaging of new appliances or the like to make ‘snow’.
2 The young’uns stock up on ‘clappas’ and fire rockets for Christmas Day, New Year’s Eve and New Year’s Day merriment.
3 Mothers and/or grandmothers get new everything: new ‘runners’ for the furniture, new pyjama sets, new figurines, new rugs/mats…new everything!
4 The official Christmas cleaning would take place closer to Christmas Eve. You’ll know it’s time when you see new drapes/curtains, newly wrapped sofas, or for those who can, an interior decorator transforming the space.
5 Piping hot chocolate tea with the oil floating on top is the ultimate Christmas breakfast beverage. This is usually served with Ackee & Saltfish, callaloo and ham, Ackee and corned pork and/or fried/boiled dumplings and produce.
6 Everyone packs up and heads to the country to visit the grandparents’ or to gather for the annual unofficial family reunion.
7 Once you see the lights and decorations strung in the popular plazas, you know it’s Christmastime in Kingston.
Many Jamaicans grade the plazas on best presentations, while others view it as a spectacle, made to bring about Christmas cheer.
8 For Kingstonians, a shopping spree at Tropical, Mall, Village or Springs Plazas is typically expected!
9 Grand Market shopping on Christmas Eve is an event like no other! You find the nearest market or head to Half-Way-Tree and walk the streets in search of bargains before – any many times, after – midnight.
Due to the COVID-19 restrictions this year, many have been asked to stay at home, which gives time to prepare for the traditional Christmas-morning breakfast.
10 In a COVID-19 world, many use Poinsettias to lighten the mood and bring in the Christmas cheer, but traditionally, Poinsettias are purchased to either decorate the home or office or to gift loved ones.
11 All the dominoes, ludo boards and video games come out for an entire day of games and activities among family members.
12 Whether or not you’re at Grandma’s house, the first church service for Christmas Day is a MUST!
13 You know it’s Christmas when there’s a trip to LP Azar to purchase decorations, home accessories or to secure the finest fabric that a family member or seamstress will spin into custom drapes and curtains for the holiday.
14 There is a seemingly unending supply of sorrel, soursop juice, a Grace Fruit Punch mix, Ginger Beer, egg nog or carrot juice.
15 Jonkunnu parade! Whenever these guys come around it’s ‘all hell bruck loose’.
And oftentimes, when children would see these eccentric and mysterious masqueraders dancing wildly to the Afro-inspired drumming, they’d either be terrified or excited.