When you think about Christmas in Trinidad, the first thing that comes to mind is a very tiny Susan Maicoo singing and dancing away to ‘Trini Christmas is De Best’, arguably the best local Christmas song to grace our airwaves, ever. This song in particular drums up memories of my childhood Christmas holidays where the entire house was turned upside down with the scent of oil paint and varnish lingering in the air and the notion of ‘no playing until we finish clean x, y or z’.
This year, I thought I’d share a little bit of my Christmas favorites; nothing too deep, just the little things that bring an extra sparkle in my eye and a bounce in my step.
Christmas wreaths – I’m no Grinch but I abhor Christmas Trees. I love the idea that you can get the glitter, shimmer, sparkle and Christmas Spirit with just one tiny wreath. It graces your doorway and welcomes guests. I had the unique opportunity to go to a one a day Christmas decorating class with the incomparable Jennifer Goberdhan. If you are ever privileged to take this class, do it. Here are a couple of wreaths I did this year for my mom. Bows made from scratch, yo! Can you tell how pleased I am?
Pastelles – is there anything in the world that can compare to a Trini pastelle? I love pastelles and I enjoy the sweet pleasure of convincing both my mom and my mom-in-law that each of theirs is the best. This results in one thing – an inundating number of pastelles pouring in from both of them. Shhh, don’t let them in on this secret. With Pastelles, I’ve heard people say that they don’t like a particular ingredient; olives, raisins, capers – to those folks, I say, buy a beef pie and stop with the desecration. I’ve made pastelles, with help, before, and can attest that if you’re looking for a real winner of a recipe – a good place to start, try the one from the Naparima Girls’ High School Cookbook.
Can ham stand alone as its own point? Of course! What is Trini Christmas without ham? In recent years I’ve found a particular brand and type of ham that makes every other ham look like rags. Though I do miss the scent, flavor and inconvenient wince of biting on a clove, I must say that Great Foods’ Boneless Ham hits the spot. It’s easy to bake with no excessive puncturing and unwrapping and the slicing is the best part. When there are no bones to interfere with your meat life, cutting is a breeze. The size of the slices also fit quite perfectly on homemade hops and the flavor is on point. Although any serrated knife will work just fine, I’ve found that using an electric knife takes the perfection to a different level. Bonus: Try the Proctor Silex Electric Knife – also good for carving that turkey.
Lifetime/Hallmark movies. They’re so excruciatingly cheesy and it’s impossible to not know the entire plot from the first few seconds of these films, yet, somehow I find myself glued to the TV and experiencing exponential excitement as she realizes he’s really the one, or as the Prince realizes that he loves the commoner, or as she realizes that she’s more fulfilled running the small business back home rather than being the hot shot executive in NYC. I know it’s pretty warm in Trinidad but it’s hard not to crank up the AC, put on the fluffiest sweater and socks and curl around a good old cup of Swiss Miss to take in the awesome predictability and horrific acting that is Fa la la la Lifetime/Hallmark. What do they do to get us so entwined in these?
Church and family. There’s a special peace that comes with Christmas after all the hustling, bustling, window washing and curtain hanging. When it’s all said and done, there’s a spirit of quiet and peace that hovers over us on Christmas. The things that I’m most grateful for are family and faith; I get to see most of my loved ones over the season and had it not been for the season and these traditions, we might not have made it a point to do this. I also love that I get to go church on Christmas morning, after all, it is when we choose to celebrate Christ’s birth, so what better place to do just that. And as an added bonus to that, there’s nothing that can make you feel as Christmas-y as singing Christmas hymns and carols so early in the morning, out loud with skilled accompaniment and bunch of folks who’re just as crazy about it as you. And so, in the theme of going with my very specific suggestions above, I’ll recommend Faith Centre, Prince of Wales St. San Fernando, 8am, Christmas morning.
Those are my top 5. What are yours?
To that end, I’ll close by saying, from all of us at Aura-Tech Solutions Merry Christmas and we truly hope that you have a super awesome fantastic 2018!