Deck the Halls with lots of Sea Side.
A handmade Christmas tree can not only save you time and money, but it can be magical and gratifying and can set the mood or theme for the entire Christmas Season. I was born and raised on the cosmopolitan and bustling Caribbean island of Trinidad and Tobago…..so I could never quite relate to a White Christmas, I’ve always found it hard to understand the use of cotton, fake snow-flakes and ‘snow in a can’ to represent a winter scene when I knew I’d be spending my Christmas vacation on the beach making sand castles and sand angles.
I grew up thinking that ice was invented for drinks or snow cones…..there could be no other possible use. It never occurred to me that people actually lived in it, and that entire holidays were centered around Winter Wonderlands. Yes, I read the books and I knew Santa lived in the North Pole….but I also read about the Easter Bunny and the Tooth Fairy. It was only year’s later in my teens and early twenties, after 4 years of school in Canada and another 4 more in the ‘deep freeze’ at RIT in Rochester New York, I finally understood the whole White Christmas symbolism and I learned to appreciate and respect the power of winter. I also totally understood why so many of God’s creatures hibernate or migrate south for the winter ; ) I knew then what I know now….this Island Girl’s blood is much better suited to a warmer climate so I moved as far south as I could and made my new home in Florida.
During the holiday bustle, it’s only natural to miss my little island. Christmas time is a big deal in Trinidad and I always miss all my ‘trini’ friends and family. The smells in the air of all the traditional Christmas food and drinks, the upbeat sounds of Parang music playing, and the laughter of friends and family taking some time out to ‘lime’ and be together….that whole magical and intoxicating island vibe.
This year once again, I won’t be visiting the Caribbean for Christmas, but if I can’t be there, I can always find a way to bring a little of the island spirit here by recycling and repurposing items that remind me of the islands and incorporating them into my Holiday decorating.
Last year I made an ‘Island Style’ Christmas Tree out of driftwood scraps, decorated it with seashells, and placed it on a big platter with sand and sea glass. It turned out so beautifully, I think I’ll reuse it again this year! So now I have my Caribbean Christmas Tree that smells like the ocean, my Parang playing, my Ponche Crema chilling and my fabulous Cuban husband to share it all with me. I give thanks, this Christmas for all my blessings!
Christmas is a time when you get homesick – even when you’re home. -Carol Nelson
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