#CountdownToChristmas: Checklist for a Merry Christmas
As Christmas Day looms ever closer, the anticipation builds, and there’s an array of tasks to orchestrate for a spectacular holiday season spent with loved ones. To guide you through the intricacies of preparing for a truly merry Christmas, Observer Online has meticulously crafted a checklist. This checklist will serve as your compass, ensuring that no aspect of this festive occasion is overlooked, allowing you to bask in the warmth of the season with family and friends.
The savory cake, also known as fruit cake, is traditionally made during the Christmas holiday and often given to loved ones and friends as gifts. Preparation for this cake usually takes place months in advance, as the fruits used in the cakes are set to soak in fruit wine or red label wine ahead of the actual mixing and baking of the pastry. For many Jamaicans, the smell of the Christmas cake baking in the oven triggers happy memories of family and togetherness, marking that Christmas has officially come.
The centerpiece for many Christmas dinners is the ham dish. The cured meat is usually highly anticipated, as, for many, this is the only time of the year that ham is eaten. Done well in the oven, brushed with a citrus glaze, and decorated with pineapples, cherries, and cloves, everyone at the dinner table waits with forks and knives at the ready for their share of the delicious meat.
No Christmas meal is complete without sorrel. The sorrel plant, from which the drink is made, bears in abundance leading up to the Yuletide season and is sold so that households can enjoy the refreshing drink throughout the holiday. This is another highly anticipated item, and it takes care and planning to make a good batch of sorrel. The flower from the sorrel plant is picked and properly washed, then steeped in boiled water, and left to sit overnight. This is strained, and the liquid mixed usually with granulated sugar, and red label wine. For those who like a little bit more kick, add white rum and mix to your contentment. For storage over long periods, Jamaicans are known to add a few cloves of pimento or rice in the drink.
New Curtains, Bed Linen, and Everything Matching
There is usually a colour scheme either throughout the house or for each room at Christmas, and new curtains, with matching bed linen, often including a quilted bedspread, are bought. For the living room, the cushion covers and runners on the furniture would also match the new tablecloth in the dining room, and the curtains in those rooms too. This adds a little warmth in the home during the Christmas season.
If you grew up in a Jamaican household, you know that your Christmas break from school is not for idling; it is for spring cleaning! The curtains are taken down, and the windows cleaned, the awnings washed, the yard debushed, and every corner and crevice of the house is cleaned. Then the house is dressed in all the new bed linen and curtains which were bought during one of the many Christmas sales of the season.
While Christmas is often seen as a time of reflection on the year that was, it is also a time of celebration, and the many social events and parties at work and otherwise are evidence of this. Therefore, new outfits are needed, and with the different sales online and in stores, remaining trendy and fashionable will not leave you broke for the incoming new year.
Christmas Lights and Decorations
Decorating the home for Christmas adds to the magic of the season and is enjoyable to look at. While it can be costly to decorate with pepper lights, using solar-powered lights to decorate the home can offset costs and add some cheer to the home and to the hearts of those who happen to walk past.
White washing the base of trees and stones placed in a decorative pattern in yards is a tradition of the Christmas season in many homes. The yard is debushed, and the trees are white-washed to brighten the space and create a clean, almost new look.
Christmas music sets the tone for every activity and every occasion of the season, and it can be heard blasting from speakers in almost every home once November ends. Christmas carols recount the birth of Jesus and remind us of the reason for the season, and the right mix of Christmas songs can help spread love and cheer during family gatherings.
Christmas Sunday Church Service
For many, Christmas, Easter, and New Year’s Sunday services are the only times that we go to church. A new suit is often bought for these occasions, and the church hall overflows with people during these times. However, it is a welcomed occasion where the blessings of the season are pronounced on everyone in attendance.