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Sunday, December 25, 2011

My Island Life: A Crucian Christmas

My adventures living on a Caribbean island. Welcome to my monthly, or not so monthly adventures. We try not to commit too soon here on island :-)

First Impression #2:
After living on island for over a year, I've discovered that Christmas is a little different here than it is on the mainland.  On St. Croix, Christmas is focused on People, Parties, and Presents.

There are a few traditions that aren't as popular here. For example, Christmas lights. Very few homes bear any Christmas lights at all.  My guess is that this is due to the WAPA bills. WAPA is the electric company here and a big issue for everyone.  For my husband and I, our WAPA bills have run $300-$500 a month. Remember, we don't need to heat the houses here either. So my guess is, Christmas lights are not a priority because of cost.

On the other hand, people on the island highly prize each other at this time of year. Christmas parties abound, mostly potlucks. Getting together is the reason for the season. I'm guessing that presents are also important because the K-Mart parking lots (we have two) are completely full, 7 days a week between Thanksgiving and Christmas.

But the biggest difference here in relation to the mainland is that Christmas doesn't end on December 25th. Nope. In fact, the Christmas Festival doesn't even open until December 29th! This Carnival event, which is one long party for everyone, goes until January 8th, 2012. The actual Carnival Parade happens on January 7th. And you have never seen a parade quite like this. Unfortunately, to see the entire parade, a person would have to watch the parade go by for 8 hours.  Yes, 8 hours for about 48 entries.  But they are spectacular entries for sure, planned and created from the day after last year's parade. Here's a link if you want to see some photos or learn more.

Lesson #2: Island Life means I can't take the Christmas tree down until mid January, and I should plan to celebrate the season with as many people as possible. I will do my best to keep up with the crowd :-)

For a chance to win one of these wonderful gifts, leave me a comment about your Christmas. All commenters will be eligible to win each gift, but once you win one, you are not eligible for others. Winners will be drawn for gifts in the order they appear below. Winners announced Wednesday!

Tsunami Blue by Gayle Ann Williams (Futuristic Romance)
Lord of the Shadows by Alix Rickloff (signed - Historical Paranormal)
Chances Are by Shelly Stevens (Erotic Romance)
Everything I Know about Love I Learned from Romance Novels by Sarah Wendell (Nonfiction)
$10 Gift Card for


  1. wow ! very cool christmas indeed in the island, and a wonderful selection of gifts !

  2. Glad you like the gifts, Lynn :-) As for Christmas, it's just getting started. I drove past Christmas Village yesterday and it looks like the carnival rides are all ready to go. I'm sure the food vendors will be setting up this week. Can't wait!

  3. Alexis, don't count me on the prize list because I already won, but it's such a treat hearing about island traditions! I especially like the eight-hour parade and long-lasting tree...what a fabulous pace to live by.

    We just got back from our annual celebration with family in Tucson, and kick off the traditional Christmas-to-New-Year vacation this morning -- hurray!

    Laurie, glad I checked email while Pete's still asleep because that way it's like vacation hasn't officially started yet :)

  4. while I'd miss the lights as I enjoy driving around & checking them out even though I don't do it myself (sounds like a pretty good reason not to "light up" though). but otherwise it sounds like a spirited holiday. enjoy the festivities.

  5. Wish I was there with you, Alexis! But it's (relatively) near tropical here in Minnesota, 40s and no snow. We're usually knee-deep in the stuff this time of year.

    Have a wonderful Crucian Christmas!

  6. Hi Laurie, it is fun to celebrate well into the New Year. Happy to hear you are now officially on vacation!! Whoohoo! Enjoy the time off :-)

  7. Hi gamistress, it is a bummer not seeing all the lights, but we light up our yard. My husband put up about 10,000 lights on 5 palm trees, bushes, walkways, stairs and of course the house. We don't turn them on every night though.

    Hope your holidays are going great :-)

  8. Wow Laura, that is warm for you! We are hanging at 75 degrees at the moment and I'm sitting here in sweatpants, t-shirt and socks. Okay, 2 pairs of socks :-} Hope the warm spell continues for you. Merry Christmas :-)

    I just found your blog. Wanted to know how is life on Island.It is quite fun to read all stuff.
    Visit mine and follow please.

  10. Hi Izdiher, Every island is different depending on which culture settled it. I love going to St. Martin for vacation because it is half French and half Dutch. It also has beautiful beaches and amazing food.

  11. The island Christmas sounds like a delightful change. My Christmas here has been different. We were stuck on what to buy each other in my family so decided to pool our money together and buy a goat for someone through World Vision.
    a dot charol at yahoo dot ca

  12. Merry Christmas Alexis! Wow...10,000 lights...that should make your elec. bill go up Sounds like a fun time for the holidays on the island. Have fun.
    Mary Keith

  13. Carol, what a wonderful idea for Christmas! We all forget how much we truly have sometimes and helping others is such a reality check. Sounds like your Christmas was very fulfilling :-)

  14. Hi Mary, yes, I'm guessing the electric will go up a bit, but so many islanders have driven by slowly to enjoy the display that I don't mind :-) Glad to help celebrate the season!

  15. I do have a handful of places and parties to attend for Christmas, but none of them are many days long! I'm sure you're glad for vacation time right now to save energy and enjoy as much of the festivities as possible!

  16. You are so right, Dawn. Having vacation really helps enjoy the season here. Luckily the University here works the class schedule so everyone has off for Christmas Carnival. That is how huge this is :-)

    Hope you had some time off as well :-)

  17. Love the sharing of Cruzan Christmas, Alexis. I think you did well to capture the parade--it sort of symbolizes the general pace on the island, doesn't it? And the 3 P's (people, presents, parties). Good food for thought.

  18. What did you think of the photos? I hope you liked them since you took them! As we discovered last year, walking the parade route is a much faster way to see the whole parade. But if there is nothing else to do that day and you bring a good chair, and good friends, then letting the parade pass you by is perfect :-)