13 December 2022
I’m getting a better appreciation for the lyrics behind the famous Bing Crosby song, "I’ll Be Home for Christmas."
The part of the song that evokes the most emotion for me is, “…if only in my dreams.”
The holidays will look different for me this year as I am oceans away from my beloved home in the Cayman Islands, currently residing in the United Kingdom. It’ll definitely be a colder Christmas, both for the lack of sunshine and the usual magnitude of warmth from family, friends and general community fellowship.
There’s also the travesty of missing out on the wonderful cuisine and drinks that make up a significant portion of Cayman’s holiday festivities. I’m getting misty-eyed just thinking about all the cassava cake and sorrel I won’t have this year — though my waistline is probably grateful.
Taking up the mantle from my mother, I usually spend the holidays cooking, baking and hosting family and friends. It’s a holiday tradition and routine that I’ve always enjoyed.
But equally, it has always been a lot of work — it puts the labour in labour of love.
Being away from home and having significantly reduced the number of guests to host, I’ve opted to take a break from traditions. I made a reservation at one of my favourite restaurants in London for a small group of other "wandering" friends and me to have a home (adjacent) cooked meal on Christmas Day.
Some people may have just screamed “sacrilege,” but I know others could be in a similar predicament and may find some inspiration here.
When you’re away from home, it’s a bit harder to feel the Christmas spirit when those usual tidings of comfort and joy feel distant.
I like to think that good food and drinks are the best available remedy for that.
The Cayman Islands has a sizeable transient community. If you’re fortunate to find yourself there for the holidays, rest assured that you are surrounded by a friendly and festive community backed by a fantastic culinary scene, especially this time of year.
If there’s no guarantee of a home-cooked meal, consider making a reservation at a local restaurant as I did. Some of the eateries in Camana Bay will be open on Christmas Day, and most will open on Christmas Eve and Boxing Day — all ready to host you with spirited hospitality and holiday cheer.
For those who feel dining in a restaurant for Christmas is a bit too far gone from tradition, catering or take-out is another option — just order, plate it at home and press play on your favourite holiday playlist.
I’d skip the renditions of "I’ll Be Home for Christmas," though.
Happy holidays from across the pond, Cayman!
This article will also appear in the December/January print edition of Camana Bay Times.