Sunday 24th December, 2006

 

Christmas memories

 
 
 
 
 
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WomanWise asked some of the women that we highlighted during the year to tell us what is their favourite Christmas memory/tradition:

Minou Montano; Vice-president of the Hispanic Women in Trinidad and Tobago.

What a difficult question! I have so many favourite memories and traditions. One of my favourite memories is, as a child, being shown the Christmas star in the heavens by my father and tracking it every night up to Christmas as it got bigger and bigger. Of course, by December 24, our excitement would be at fever pitch!

On Christmas morning, my brother and sisters and I would rush downstairs to see what Baby Jesus had brought us. (In Venezuela it is the Baby Jesus that brings the toys for the children). We would have put out our new shoes around the Christmas tree (a real one) the night before and the presents for each child would be arranged around that child’s shoes.

Today, as a mother, my favourite memory/tradition is to see the faces of my children on Christmas morning so filled with wonder and delight at the miracle of Christmas as we gather around the tree to see what Santa has brought them. (Hey! We are in Trinidad now! Santa comes over here!)

My tradition is to have Christmas dinner on December 24. My husband’s is to have it on the 25. So, we have two dinners! But my absolutely favourite memory of Christmas can be best summed up in one word: Love!

Vanessa Teelucksingh; Co-ordinator of the Kindness in Donations and Services (Kids) Trinidad Hilton.

Hmm, the significance of Christmas has varied for me over my lifetime.

Before my mum died, I have memories of home-made bread, my sister and I hunting around the house wondering where they left our presents each year and the excitement of new curtains on Christmas Eve. After she died, Christmas held no significance for me and I’d often start the day

crying and hoping it would be over quickly enough. For the first time in a long time, I’m actually looking forward to Christmas as we have new additions to our family and I’m not grumbling about having to do Christmas shopping!

I’ll always miss my mum, but I’m certain with time and the love of my family and friends, it will get easier. I want to tell everyone remember the significance of the season, hold your loved ones as closely and tightly as you can and be thankful for every moment you share with them this Christmas!

Dara Healy; Chairman of the Democratic National Assembly.

My memories of Christmas are filled with images of my grandmother in the kitchen cooking and the exhilarating smell of all of the traditional foods that she would create.

Our ritual was always the same and I looked forward to it all year. It was the one time that we got to have ham, black cake and ponche de creme, so it was a very special and exciting time for our family.

I was allowed to be involved in the cooking process, so I got to crush the fruit through the mixer, lick the bowl that the black cake was mixed in, and give my recommendations on the ponche de creme while it was being made. Unfortunately, I also got drafted in to clean sorrel and pigeon peas, but I didn’t mind too much as Granny and I would sit together and chat while we did it.

The symbols of Christmas were important features for me too; the twinkling lights of the tree, Santa, going to church with my granny and listening to the wonderful services of Fr Harvey; the stories about the birth of Jesus, parang music, and of course all the presents wrapped and nestled perfectly under the tree.

On Christmas Day, we opened the gifts, shared in that special meal and spent a peaceful day at home, with cousins and family dropping by. I felt safe, happy and complete in that small apartment in Laventille, protected by those who loved me and the warmth of the cooking. It was an important lesson about family and spirituality, one which will stay with me always.

My family and I wish the people of Trinidad and Tobago a warm and blessed season.

Jeneile Mc Carthy; jewelry designer.

I have lots of Christmas memories, but there is one that really stands out. It is having Christmas lunch with my family, grandmother and her two friends.

It is really something to see these three elderly women give each other flack and old talk. Mammy passed away a little over a month ago at 94 years of age and to this day, her death has not registered in my mind. That is a memory that I’ll always keep close to my heart.

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