By Flynn Bush
For several years now, I have written a piece on Christmas. Every year, I do a different piece, but each usually takes the same format. I speak of the traditions and customs of Cayman from decades ago and compare them to those of today. I usually end up pointing out that, although a lot has changed over the years, there are still much of the customs being practiced on our fair isles. Like I said, usually I take this approach. However, this year, I will vary the approach a little.
Now I still believe that it is important to talk about the longstanding traditions that have been passed down through the generations. Our forefathers instilled a gamut of very important values in their children and ensured that this country’s Christian heritage would remain in focus during the Christmas season. They knew that Jesus is the reason for the season, as the saying goes, and they paid homage to that fact. Visiting neighbors, singing carols, giving to those in need and attending church services as a family are just a few examples of the Christian customs. Those things still happen nowadays.
Years ago, Caymanians started preparing for Christmas months before. Fattening up the cow, painting the house, growing the cassava and other breadkind, backing sand for the yard, sewing new outfits (dresses, pants and shirts), and making Christmas presents were all done dutifully. Today’s world is a little more “ready-made” but I believe that there is still a lot of preparation ahead of time that occurs for Christmas now.
Basically, the simple fact is that our beautiful country, the Cayman Islands, evolves and will continue to do so. We as residents will find ourselves doing things differently, even if slightly, from our parents or grandparents did. Hopefully, we will retain some of the time-honored traditions of our ancestors; and hopefully those are traditions that have to do with the true meanings of Christmas. However, it is inevitable that we will also adopt new customs for our families.
With that said, I would like to make an appeal to all of you this year. Let’s all make a conscious decision to ensure that at least one new custom we adopt is in the same spirit as our traditional Caymanian customs were. Let us add a new routine or ritual to our lives at Christmas, no matter how small. Perhaps on Christmas Eve we can gather as a family and take turns thanking God for something specific; and then perhaps tell each of the other family members what we love most about them. Maybe, we can learn a new recipe and make the meal together. Another possibility is to make it a point to make at least one card or gift for a member of your family or circle of friends. These are just a few suggestions, and they are by no means an exhaustive list. I am sure that you can all think of some way that you can do to install a new custom in your family’s Christmas agenda.
So, I am game to try this myself; and I will. Perhaps, in the new year I will write to give an update on how it went. I pray that you are successful in this. I also pray that the true spirit of Christmas will envelop you and your entire family this year and you will be truly blessed.