"Oh, do you celebrate Christmas here, too?" That is one of my all-time favorite questions from a tourist - especially since she was standing in front of the Catholic Church.
Yes, Virginia. We celebrate Christmas in Belize. Santa and turkey and presents and decorated trees and everything. Just like a goodly portion of the rest of the world.
Granted, we don't do some of the things here that are done in the northern climes. To wit:
We don't wear ski jackets and snow boots unless the temperature drops to the upper 60'.
We don't roast chestnuts on an open fire.
We don't go dashing through the snow in a one-horse open sleigh.
We don't dream of a white Christmas.
We don't spend frustrating hours shopping in a mall.
We don't buy funky ties for favorite uncles.
We absolutely never shovel snow or de-ice windshields.
Santa doesn't come down a chimney.
And, we don't go to a Christmas tree lot to pick out a Douglas fir.
In the tropics, we do Christmas things a bit differently.
We can spend Christmas in shorts, T-shirts and barefooted.
We bar-b-que fresh seafood over coconut husks. It makes chestnuts look pretty insubstantial.
We dash through sand if we bother to dash at all.
We dream of a bright, 80º Christmas, and fervently hope that the weather bringing others a white Christmas will stay north of our borders.
We shop in local stores, Belize City or, perhaps, make a quick trip to Mexico or Guatemala. No one has ever been trampled in a pre-Xmas sale in San Pedro.
If all the uncles here got presents from all their nieces and nephews, the country would be completely bare of anything to give anyone else.
We shovel sand but only if there' an extremely good reason, and we de-salt our windows.
Santa comes roaring in on a mahogany skiff with his hands on the reins of a Yamaha outboard.
We get unbelievably creative when it comes to Christmas trees. We decorate palm trees, branches from Australian pines, cahun palm nut stalks and the hardier species of potted plants. We make Christmas trees out of tortillas, palm thatch, or baby coconuts.
We eat turkey and dressing, ham, and pumpkin pie. We also fill out the meal with lobster, grouper, snapper, conch, or shrimp with fresh coconut pie to finish us off.
We go caroling on golf carts, three and four wheeled motorcycles, and pick-em-up trucks.
We drink rum that' neither hot nor buttered.
We visit a lot on Christmas Day.
We get the holiday extended because the day after Christmas is Boxing Day (which generally has nothing to do with fisticuffs).
We do share some Christmas things with the northern climes.
We have tinsel fallout all over the house.
We look forward to the noise-making toys losing their noise.
We groan and puff with the abundance of Christmas dinner.
And, we share the holiday joys with those around us, and shed the holiday wrought tears for those who are not.
Most of all, we enjoy.
Happy Holidays, ya'll.
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