By Christopher Tobutt
Everyone feels like Christmas really has come when Heather Bodden and the hard working volunteers of the Savannah/Newlands Development Action Committee holds their very special Senior Citizens’ Christmas Party up at Pedro St. James Castle, and this year marks the 29th year it has been held. It’s turned into a wonderful Cayman Christmas tradition. “We have been hosting it now at Pedro St James Castle for the last 4 years,” Miss Bodden said. “They have been tremendous to us and we really appreciate this venue which they provide at no charge to offer us this beautiful location. The courtyard is always beautifully decorated by their staff.”
It’s a big and wonderful get-together for the seniors, and this year around 150 came to see their friends, and have a lovely Christmas dinner. Santa was there too, and each guest had a Christmas present, which were set all around a great big beautiful Christmas tree, just like one huge family. Oh and this year Santa was being helped by ‘Mrs Claus,’ a.k.a Miss Cayman Universe, Mariah Tibbetts. Mr. and Mrs Claus were going around having photos (“Elvies,”) of guests taken “I’m just supporting our community as Miss Cayman and these are very valuable members of our community so I think this is a really great thing,” Ms Tibbetts said.
“We have all of our volunteers out tonight,” Ms Bodden said. That’s at least 15 people who have worked hard for weeks in their spare time, preparing for the big party, not to mention all the musicians who gave up their time to lead everyone some lovely Christmas songs and carols. “We out and buy the gifts, and we take about two days to wrap all the gifts you can see in a circle around the tree. Then we get on the phone and we call all the people that help us every year with a little funding. Then we set to work with all the preparations for the event. We have to get all the tables and the chairs we have to get the food organized, and the drinks. We have to get the whole nine yards - everything that you see here tonight. But it’s worth it because it’s really a magical night, isn’t it? Ms Bodden said.
There was a slide presentation of previous Christmas parties, some of the faces and friends from years gone by, and raffles and lovey prizes so that everyone had a great time. Ms Carol Hay has been helping Heather Bodden since the early days, and is one of the founders of the group. Ms Hay organizes all the lovely prizes for the raffle, procuring them from generous organisations who chip in to help. “AL Thompson, Tortuga Rum are the predominant sponsors and they give me gifts every year, and this year the Department of Children and Family Services has helped, too. I started helping with it because of my friendship with Heather. She needed help because Heather has always started benevolent things she’s just a kind, giving person,” Ms Hay said.