Sunday afternoon in Vancouver. It’s FREEZING, but there’s a lot of activity in the malls and on the roads. I wonder what everyone is up to today. Me, I’m still writing up Christmas cards to send off – yes, I know they should have been out already, but I’m not Superwoman! I’ve forgiven myself for being late, so I’m not overwhelmed and frazzled.
This time of year, I think about family and Christmas traditions. So much of Christmas, for Trinidadians, is about shopping. Typically, Christmas would be the time that the house would get a fresh coat of paint or a new living room set would be bought. It’s because it’s also the time of year when you open your home to anyone who is willing to come by! It’s the season for sharing. In my home, at least, Christmas was when we got our best food and most visitors. People coming by to eat and drink and visit are normal. It’s when your house would be at its best, lots of food, booze and baked goods. It’s so festive! So comforting! Having people come over and just eat, eat, eat! Don’t get me wrong, it’s expensive, but it evens out since everyone takes turns anyway going to each other’s houses.
Lyrics from a traditional Trinidadian Christmas song (soca parang) called “Eat something before you go”
When ah say I got to check Carol
She say no, stay let we have ah ball
Is only now you does pass through
This is why I prepare for you
You know today is Christmas day
Anything you want to eat just say
You could eat it right down to the bowl
Boy make yourself at home
I’ve gone back home for Christmas every year I’ve had Kidlet with me since the divorce…except this year. I opted to go back in the summer so we could have a longer visit. So now I am out and about wondering: “How does a Trinidadian celebrate Christmas in Vancouver?” Hmmmmm…..
It seems the stuff people are buying is really gifts for other people, something I don’t really have experience with too much, since with 5 siblings, we didn’t really exchange Christmas gifts, per se. Christmas doesn’t really mean that to me. Christmas means opening up my home and fridge and (by extension) my wallet to anyone who is willing to drop by and have something to eat and drink. It’s about charity and not in a tangible way. There is no ‘stuff’ to get, just a good time had and a full belly and a smile.
This year, I’ve been working on some traditions of my own with Kidlet and I’ll be having a couple friends over for Christmas dinner. I’ve bought a few new things for the house and did my big cleaning already. Traditionally, I’d change the curtains and buy new sheets. Maybe I won’t go that far. I only just changed the curtains last month – how very Canadian! I do intend to open my home and heart to the people in my life and have them experience a real Trini(dadian) Christmas!
If you want to, you can come by. There’ll be food for everyone!