Our original, plan 3 months ago, was to visit the upper Exumas first and then head north to the Abacos. As the holiday season approached, I thought long and hard about where I wanted to be for Christmas. First choice – home with family. Life is about choices and sometimes you really can’t have it all. We chose to go home in early November for my Dad’s 90th birthday. That’s a very special event, we would get to see our family, and it would be without the assorted holiday craziness (let’s admit that the holidays, although wonderful, can also be a bit stressful and crazy). That said, I knew that it would be sad to be apart on Christmas. Next best choice would be Christmas in Hope Town! We had wonderful memories from our stay here during the holidays in 2013 – I knew I would feel much better if I were spending Christmas here where we have many friends rather than in the Exumas, which are considerably more isolated.
Hope Town does the holidays with unrestrained exuberant enthusiasm – it is a wonderful whirlwind which really helps to decrease any home sickness. The comparison between our typical New England Christmas and Christmas here is a study in contrasts and similarities. Instead of frantically preparing our home for the holidays with decorations, cooking and shopping, we get to enjoy festivities with a lot less work. To our northern eyes, it still seems odd to have sand under our feet instead of snow, and a warm, humid breeze in our faces instead of that brisk cold air. But wait! From what we hear, the weather wasn’t all that different between the Bahamas and Connecticut for Christmas 2015. Weather aside, the shopping wasn’t finished back in the states, can’t carry decorations on the boat, and sure can’t bake all the cookies and fancy meals in my little galley. So, the only thing we could do is join in the festivities!
Couldn’t miss our first event – We went to Captain Jack’s Trim-the-Tree night. Bring an ornament and get a free drink. It was pretty cool to see my two Christmas box ornaments from 2013 hanging on the tree! Lacking a new inspiration, I made two more to hang for this year. In fact, I made quite a few boxes, filled them with Dove dark chocolates and gave them away to friends here in the harbor and on the island. It’s one of my favorite things to do for the Christmas spirit. It reminds me of my mother who taught me how to make the boxes. Our children each get a bag of 25 to open as an Advent calendar.
Sadly, my photos of our evening at Captain Jack’s are trapped in my MacBook and inaccessible. UPDATE: Mac is up and running again (THANK YOU, Apple Support people!) Here are the photos —
Just a few days after that evening we attended the St. James Christmas play, “Christmas in Black & White, Discovering the Real Story of Christmas.” Fifty-two children of all ages performed in this delightful production that unashamedly proclaimed “Christmas” loudly and clearly, instead of the politically correct, “Happy Holidays” message. I wish I could share a few photos from the evening, but alas, these also reside in the black hole that is now my Mac. Someday, even if it is not until next summer, my Mac will be revived and I will return to this post to add those photos. UPDATE: So glad the Mac is back so that I can share the photos of this wonderful play.
I suspect that caroling in the streets is a childhood tradition from the past for most of us. I can’t recall the last time I went caroling at home or anyone came to our house. Here on Elbow Cay, It’s a big annual event and everyone joins in, including us, and we are both terrible singers!
I was quite curious about a new Christmas event planned in Hope Town – the “Christmas Village” with a skating rink. A skating rink? We volunteered, along with many other harbor folks, to help set up this village. Oh, how I wish I could get that &@$?! MacBook up and running again. I took photos of Al, Dan and others assembling the puzzle pieces of the starboard “skating rink”; and Sam and Magnus plus a few more folks putting together the big tent, all on another very windy day. LAST UPDATE: Here are the setting up photos for the Christmas Village. It was mostly us boat folks helping out. I will admit that I had my doubts about whether or not this would ever look like a “Christmas Village.”
The caroling ended at this Christmas Village, so we were able to see the finished product. Who could ever imagine that a dusty ball field could be transformed into a twinkling magical holiday village?
Christmas Eve arrived and six of us headed down to PapaNasty’s for barbecue. We biked and the others walked (have to make use of these bikes after carrying them along for 1500 miles.) It was a delicious lunch. We had “pulled pork sundaes.” Try to imagine what that might be? It’s a BIG styrofoam cup layered with PapaNasty’s baked beans, spicy cole slaw, and topped with the pulled pork. So yummy, but we didn’t consider that we had a Christmas Eve party to attend! Sarah and Deanna we’re hosting their annual Christmas Eve Open House!
We attended the St. James’ Christmas Eve service when we left Sea House. I enjoy the simplicity of this little church.
Christmas morning began with sun and warm temperatures…… and apple raisin pancakes.
Looked like a good day for snorkeling –
Eight of us decided to have Christmas dinner together at the Abaco Inn.
All in all, we had a lovely Christmas here in Hope Town, as I knew we would. It may only be our second time here, but I feel like we belong to this close-knit community. BUT, we miss our family and that ache never fully fades away even when we are busy and enjoying life in the islands
P.S. For those curious minds out there – No, the MacBook isn’t working I did this blog post on Al’s iPad. Not as easy, but I’ll try to make it work