Christmas in Belize is always a big reminder that we live in the land of misfit toys. Since many of us moved here without friends and family, we make our own for the Holidays.
The Cayes as well as the mainland, come alive for the Holidays and Christmas week and along with New Year’s Eve, mark the end of a busy and festive month. Brightly adorned Christmas trees and decorations are everywhere. Happy Holidays, Merry Christmas and “Felize” Navidad became the standard greetings or Belize Navidad as I saw from a few different people making the “Belize” joke on the internet – great minds think alike.
Ham and turkey sales skyrocketed, potato mashers and dessert makers worked overtime. If you were lucky enough to get an invitation to a Belizean Family Christmas you might also have been lucky enough to enjoy some homemade local favorites including fresh fish and lobster, tamales, garnaches, panades, salbutes, ceviche, and other yumminess. Homemade Rum Popo; a rum cream beverage is also popular at this time. The fruitcakes my friend Denis and I saw at the local bakery were heavily doused with rum 🙂
Along with a wide variety of good food, Christmas is a truly multicultural celebration in Belize. I spent it with Belizeans, Canadian’s, Americans, a couple of Monacans, a couple of Irish and an Australian to name a few parts of the globe.
This year I found myself in my own tropical version of a ‘National Lampoon Christmas Vacation’ like the moment as I observed how the Betz-Eisenberg household and invited guests interact. As I looked around the room at everyone smiling and listened to Sandie’s husband Bob joking with her 98-year-old mother with his direct and sharp sense of humor. Sandie was also amusing in the kitchen telling us how she was going to make a cheesecake for dessert until she remembered that almost everything she made already had cheese in it. I say, just like bacon, there is never enough cheese 😀
Since Christmas fell on a Sunday this year, making more room for celebrations, I went to a great day before party southwest on the island at Playa De Sala, and another ambient outdoor party that night at Lady Dixie’s house. Last but not least on boxing day there was a super fun white elephant party at Martini Monday.
I might have made the naughty list a few times 😉 I definitely made the nice one too as I scored some great presents along the way and thankfully no coal. My favorite was my white elephant, I picked an envelope on purpose and it paid off – $25 at the Belize Chocolate Company. A couple of the people at the party brought gifts for everyone which was a nice surprise. Travel kit from Belizean Soap company and fragrant eye pillow from Caye to the Heart. Funniest gifts at the exchange was a toss-up between Bondage panda gift bag and balloon animals.
Of course, what is Christmas without a stop at the beach for a visit with suntanning friends Cindy, Cherie and Tinker along the way to Christmas dinner? My friend Dennis and I also stopped at our friend Lara’s place to spread some holiday cheer as she lives a stone’s throw away from our final feeding ground 🙂