If it is a white Christmas you're dreaming of, then the Caribbean can provide just that. Not with ice and snow, but rather with white sand. Taking a trip to the Caribbean is sure to fulfill all those warm holiday wishes, if those wishes happen to be bright sun and an icy beverage to cool things down. Those looking to get a sun tan with Santa Claus this holiday season will want to make a beeline for these fantastic Caribbean islands at Christmas time.
Carnival in St Kitts
St Kitts is one of the more fun islands to visit during the Christmas season, but not just for its Christmas cheer. The carnival season on St Kitts gets started later than the rest of the Caribbean and it happens to fall right around Christmas. Carnival time starts at the end of November and runs all the way through the first week of January. The carnival, called Sugar Mas, combines the elements of the usual Caribbean carnival with Boxing Day activities. This includes colourful parades and massive street parties combined with Christmas festivities when the date draws near. Highlights of the event include the Calypso Semi-Finals. Soca Monarch Finals, Band Clash and Folklore Avenue. Those who stay until January 1 will get to witness the Grand Parade that winds down the festival.
White Christmas on Cayman Islands
Most visitors to the Cayman Islands spend their Christmas holidays inside the boundaries of the resorts that host some fantastic Christmas celebrations reminiscent of home. However, if visitors happen to wander outside of the resorts on Christmas Day, they will witness a unique tradition to the Caymans. The local tradition called "backing sands" assures that the local children always get a white Christmas, even if it is balmy outside. On Christmas Eve after parents put the presents under the tree, they head to the beach and carry back some of the white sand, sprinkling it out in their yard as Santa's snowy welcome. Walking through this sand before Christmas Day dawns is a big no-no so as to not ruin the magic and the locals have gone so far as to compete with each other for the most beautiful sand yard.
Parang Festival on Trinidad and Tobago
Trinidad and Tobago is one of the Caribbean's most diverse islands and while Christmas isn't celebrated by everyone there, those who do celebrate it do so with style. The annual Parang Festival marks the Christmas season on the duel island nation and celebrates it with song. The Parang Festival is a series of parties in most towns on the island that include Christmas concerts and folk customs. The towns of Paramin and Arima in eastern Trinidad host the biggest parties. Visitors can expect costumed bands performing traditional folk songs in Spanish Creole, vivid parades with dancers and entertainers and a few select appearances from Santa in his favourite vacation spot.
Crucian Christmas Festival in St Croix
For the Christmas season, the island of St Croix in the U.S. Virgin Islands celebrates with the month-long annual Crucian Christmas Festival. This festival is much like the traditional Caribbean carnivals, but with a bit more Christmas flair thrown in. Visitors can expect carnival activities like J'ouvert parties, King and Queen crowning, calypso contests and parades. In addition to the traditional events are the Christmas oriented festival village set up, the festive Christensted boardwalk and the main event - the St Croix Boat Parade. The Boat Parade is a procession of watercraft of all shapes and sizes all set ablaze with Christmas lights and accompanied by music and fireworks. St Croix is undoubtedly one of the best islands to visit during the Christmas holidays due to their unique blend of traditional and Christmas celebrations all into one big month-long event.
A Dutch Christmas in the Antilles
Want to enjoy a traditional Dutch Christmas, but don't want to freeze over in the Netherlands to do it? Then the Netherland Antilles islands are the perfect place to spend this Christmas. Visitors won't see the Santa Claus they are used to back home, but rather they will see Sinterklaas and his mysterious companions Zwarte Piet, or Black Peter, wandering around the various towns in the Netherland Antilles. They arrive not by sleigh, but by boat, and they bring all the festive Christmas cheer with them. Sinterklaas and his helper make Christmas come early in this area by delivering gifts on December 6th to correspond with the birthday of St Nicholas. It seems that the Netherland Antilles not only makes for a warm beachfront Christmas vacation, but one that provides insight into some European Christmas traditions as well. It's a great time to get a taste of several new cultures all in one place.