Top 7 Traditional Christmas Season Activities

1. Enjoying a Traditional Caymanian Meal on Cayman Thanksgiving Weekend

Cayman Thanksgiving is not a public holiday but a weekend-long national celebration to honour Caymanian heritage, culture and way of life. This is a time for fellowship among family, friends and neighbours while allowing an opportunity for our Caymanian community to express gratitude for our many blessings. This weekend celebration will culminate on the first Sunday of December, centred around a traditional Caymanian meal.

2. Christmas Eve Shopping

Christmas Eve shopping is one highly anticipated activity for the whole family. It’s the last opportunity to get last minute gifts and fireworks. In yesteryears, parents would give their children about three shillings to ‘do shopping’. The children would buy fire rockets, candies and ballons from other neighboring yards.

3. Caroling and Christmas Concerts

A popular tradition at Christmastime is Caroling and Christmas Concerts. Before the days of town halls or theatres, groups of musicians in each district would come together with their instruments to entertain the community. ‘Marchers’ with their violins, harmonicas (mouth organs), accordions, guitars, and drums would sometimes start entertaining in the weeks leading up to Christmas but were always out in numbers on Christmas Eve. They were welcomed into people’s yards where they were given light refreshments and something to drink (alcoholic or non-alcoholic) in return for their performance. The sounds of ‘the marchers’ playing their instruments as they walked through the streets was a welcome reminder that Christmas Day was just around the corner. These days Caroler’s go from district to district on floats singing songs of the season. Another highlight and tradition of the season is to attend a Christmas Concert. Every church has its own practices for recitations, songs and re-enactment of the Christmas Story.

4. Visiting Family and Friends during the Festive Season

The importance of the season and family stems from the days when the men of Caymanian households would return from sea in October and the arrival of Christmas breeze in November. Just like Thanksgiving weekend, it is a time for fellowship among family, friends and neighbours and time for togetherness.

5. Potluck Christmas Dinner

Food played an important part in Christmas celebrations with beef being a savored indulgence for this time of the year. Tables would be laden with freshly baked heavy cakes and the smell of apples lingering in the air, today is no different. Family and friends prepare their traditional food of choice and gather at a special location or family home.  

6. Sightsee Home & Roundabout Displays and Decorations

One traditional Caymanian activity during the festive season is to drive around the island and stop in to see Christmas displays at welcoming private homes and company roundabouts. In Christmases of yesteryears Caymanians would ‘back’ sand in traditional thatch baskets and arrange it in neat piles, spread and brush the sand with rosemary brooms and pull weeds and perform any other necessary maintenance on the structure and compound. The sand would give the illusion of snow. A Casuarina Pine tree was decorated with lights, balloons and candies in place of a Christmas Tree in the front yard. Today, families decorated their homes and yards with thousands of colourful Christmas lights and open their gates to welcome visitors for viewing and photo ops. You can also enjoy the displays and light decorations at various company sponsored roundabouts across the island.  
Decorated private homes open to the public are:
  • Crighton family home, 389 South Sound Road, across from Sunset House
  • Crighton family home, Shamrock Road
  • The Bodden sisters’ home, 705 South Sound Road, across from Smith Cove.
Decorated roundabouts open to the public are:
  • Cayman National Bank (CNB), Elgin Avenue
  • Cayman Utilities Company (CUC), Crew Road
  • Island Heritage, Esterly Tibbets Highway
  • Tomlinson, Linford Person Highway

7. Bring in the New Year in Church – Attend New Year’s Eve Sermon

Being a predominantly Christian country, you will find most families still bringing in the New Year in church. It is an opportunity for families to express gratitude for their many blessings in the past year and for the New Year to come.