“Glory to God in the highest heaven, and on earth peace to whom his favour rests.” – Luke 2:14

As I reflect on the Christmas season, I am drawn to the multifaceted beauty of this festive period, especially within the vibrant tapestry of Caribbean culture.

Celebrating Christmas begins with acknowledging its core – the birth of the Christ child. This miracle, steeped in spiritual significance, forms the foundation of our Christmas traditions. Each year, as we commemorate this miraculous event, I am reminded of its profound impact across centuries and cultures.

This date holds a special place in my heart as my partner, Judy, celebrates her 81st birthday on Christmas Day. Birthdays coinciding with Christmas add a unique layer of joy and celebration, blending personal milestones with the broader festive spirit.

Christmas in the Caribbean is synonymous with family reunions. It’s a time when distances shrink and hearts grow closer. Our homes become hubs of laughter, stories, and shared memories. The warmth of togetherness makes this season even more special.

The essence of our region is captured beautifully in our Christmas cuisine. The array of food and drink infused with distinct Caribbean flavors is a testament to our rich culinary heritage. From spicy meats to sweet treats, complemented by sorrel, ginger beer and punch de creme, our tables are a feast for the ever-ready taste buds.

Music, an integral part of our culture, takes a festive turn during Christmas. Caribbean rhythms set the backdrop for our celebrations, with each beat resonating with the joy and vivacity of our people. The unique Parang rhythm in Trinidad reminds us of our Spanish heritage.

The adornment of Christmas trees in homes and commercial establishments is a sight to behold. These sparkling beacons of joy and festivity add to the enchanting atmosphere of the season.

Gift-giving is another hallmark of Christmas, fostering friendship and family bonding, especially among children. The excitement and anticipation in their eyes as they unwrap presents is a reminder of the innocent joy of the season.

My sister and I were involved in decorating the Christmas tree at home from an early age, placing presents for family members at the base of the tree and anxiously awaiting the moment after breakfast on Christmas morning when the children were given the task of distributing the presents to each member of the family and curiously looking to see what each had received.

I vividly remember my first White Christmas in the UK as a student. It was a stark contrast to our tropical celebrations. Yet, it offered a different perspective on this global festival, reminding me of the diverse ways Christmas is celebrated around the world.

Speaking of diversity, Christmas in the Caribbean is a unique experience, one that I believe our tourism authorities should promote more aggressively. With its warm weather and welcoming spirit, our region is an ideal destination for holidaymakers. There is still room in traditional hotels and sharing accommodations, offering a range of experiences for visitors.

However, amidst these celebrations, the commercialization of Christmas is a growing concern. It is essential to strike a balance and remember the true reason for the season. While gifts and festivities are delightful, the essence of Christmas lies in its message of love, peace, and goodwill to all.

As we celebrate this year, let us embrace the true spirit of Christmas. Let’s cherish our traditions, enjoy the company of loved ones, and remember the miraculous birth that started it all. I wish everyone a Merry Christmas filled with the joys of the season.

(Dr. Basil Springer GCM is a Change-Engine Consultant. His email address is basilgf@marketplaceexcellence.com. His columns may be found at www.nothingbeatsbusiness.com).