Christmas is probably most residents’ favourite time of year, not just because of the Christmas celebration itself but also because it’s a time when we welcome our famous Christmas breezes, which cool the Islands down and allow us to get out and about much more! And with so many fantastic festive activities on offer during the festive season, young and old will never run out of fun things to do.
Annual Events and Celebrations
Camana Bay is a beacon for families any time of the year, but at Christmas it’s a particularly magical location, as the entire town gets decorated with enormous baubles, reindeer, snowmen and other decorations to give a truly festive glow.
Mid-November brings the start to the Christmas season with Camana Bay’s annual lighting of the Christmas tree — and what a magnificent tree it always is! — a 40-foot beauty perched right in the centre of the town on the waterfront. It seems as if the entire community comes out to watch this much-loved event, which brings children’s choirs, the Cayman National Choir, dance groups and, of course, Father Christmas himself, centre stage. There is a collective gasp from the crowd as the Christmas lights are illuminated, and then the celebrations can really begin. There’s music, food and merriment for all the family to enjoy.
Another tree lighting ceremony, which just so happens to be one of the most-loved annual events in the Christmas calendar, is the Rotary Club of Grand Cayman’s Annual Tree Lighting Celebration that takes place in Heroes Square, George Town. Everyone turns out for the beautiful singing by school choirs and, of course, the big event — the switching on of the Christmas tree lights, to great applause!
Camana Bay also holds a craft market. Wonderful, locally made products such as cute Father Christmases, tree decorations carved from driftwood or sparkly, locally made festive earrings, make for great Christmas gifts.
Who doesn’t love an actual meeting with Father Christmas himself? Each year Father Christmas dons his best Caribbean attire, complete with flowery shirt and flip-flops, and welcomes children for a photo shoot at the Island in Camana Bay.
Singing Christmas carols is probably one of the most evocative ways to come together to celebrate this special time of year and there are two particularly lovely services that people young and old can attend. The first is at the annual Singing Christmas Tree event just off Old Crewe Road in George Town, a 90-minute show that brings in big crowds to watch this fantastic family event showcasing the life of Jesus. Find out more at caymansingingchristmastree.org. The Elmslie Memorial Church on the George Town waterfront is another lovely place which holds an annual Christmas carol concert, with the Cayman National Choir on hand to help everyone hit those high notes!
St. Ignatius Catholic School also always puts on a cheerful and festive annual concert that features their talented school bands and choirs, as well as a fantastic gate prize drawing. Tickets are available from parents, staff and students, at the school/church offices and outside major supermarkets.
Lighting Up the Season
Out and about in Grand Cayman you will also encounter some amazing Christmas lights in private homes and gardens, as many people keep up the Cayman tradition of dressing up their gardens and yards with a dazzling array of Christmas lights and decorations. One of the most famous is the South Church Street home of twin sisters Maxine and Maureen Bodden, whose father, Captain Theo Bodden, originally owned the home. They have kept up the family tradition of adorning their spacious front garden with a myriad of lights and decorations that bring families from all over Cayman to view this Winter wonderland. Further east in Prospect, the Crighton family home is another brilliant location to view an amazing Christmas lights display. And best of all, the homeowners keep their gates open and permit visitors to come and browse the spectacular displays.
The Cayman National Parade of Lights takes place at the Crescent right on the waterfront at Camana Bay, with a number of brilliant boats bedecked with Christmas lights and other Christmas decorations, plus a few Father Christmases onboard, too, all taking part in a wonderful aquatic parade in front of an enthusiastic crowd. The evening finishes up with a fantastic fireworks display to end the festivities in fine style.
With so many wonderful activities to choose from, we know your Christmas experience in Cayman will be a magical one for young and old alike.
Author: Stephanie Peacock