If you are ready to exchange white snow for white sand, Jamaica can be a wonderful place to spend Christmas. Did you know that Jamaica is a very religious island, with more churches per square mile than any other country?
So, what’s there to do for Christmas in Jamaica?
Jamaica Christmas Traditions
Let’s start with one of my favorite holiday traditions, Midnight Mass, did you know that you can attend Midnight Mass while in Jamaica.
Let’s talk decorations bright – yes Jamaica can give you that. Once the ‘crismus breeze’ comes and cools down the island a bit, you will find local Palm Trees decorated with ‘Peper Lights’ and even some taxi’s decorated up. If you wanted a ‘real Christmas’ Tree, the Blue Mountain pines are available to give you more of an “elegant down-home Christmas feeling”. And those beautiful Poinsettias will be around as well. There are many ways to see Christmas decorations in Jamaica.
And yes, of course, the guy in the big red suit comes to Jamaica as well – there may be no chimneys or snow, but there is white sand and there are children all over the world for Santa to bring gifts too. Plus who wouldn’t want to get their toes in the sand?
Plus on Christmas Eve, he may want to stop at the ‘Gran Market’. This is one of the longest days around the island for both adults and kids alike. From Christmas Eve, until Christmas Morning vendors set up on the sidewalks in major cities and display their goods at these markets. They have not only the usual things but items that you would not normally find. These markets also entertain shoppers with fun festivities. The best Gran Market to attend is in Linstead, St Catherine, where you can find last-minute gifts, food, decorations, and most of all enjoy the party atmosphere.
In the past, these markets would be set up on Christmas Day, and the children would come with their parents dressed up in their best new clothes and they would come to the special ‘Gran Market’ to find the toys that were on sale. These would not be the normal stores that were open, but street vendors that would open a spot on the sidewalks. There are so many fun and wonderful ways to spend Christmas in Jamaica.
Jamaican’s also love their Christmas Ham for dinner. I wanted to share a Jamaican Ham Recipe, that I found on about-jamaica.com that I’ve made and my family has savored and I wanted to share for you to enjoy.
Easy Jamaican Ham Recipe
- 1 ham (4-6 pounds)
- 24 cloves
- 1 can pineapple slices
- 8 maraschino cherries (or preferred choice)
- 2 cups orange juice (or preferred fruit juice)
- ¼ cup brown sugar (or granulated sugar)
- Allow the ham to fully thaw, then remove plastic casing and stockinette.
- Wrap ham securely with aluminium foil to keep moisture in.
- Places on a baking rack with the fat side up. Place the rack with the ham in a roasting pan with water and bake at 180ºC(350ºF) for 20 minutes per 500 grams.
- Remove and discard the aluminium.
- Peel off ham skin and place to the side in the roasting pan. Make diagonal cuts using a sharpe knife, then stud with cloves.
- Arrange pineapple slices over the surface of the surface and place a red cherry in the center of each pineapple slice. Fasten with a toothpick to keep pineapple slices and cherries in place.
- Pour orange juice over the ham, then sprinkle on brown sugar.
- Return to oven and bake at 150ºC (300ºF) for 20-30 minutes until a golden brown color is achieved. Baste with sauce in pan at 5-10 minute intervals.
And Enjoy! Until Next time… Happy Travels!