Carol’s tied to Christmas
With a name like Carol Christmas, small wonder it’s the most wonderful time of the year for this Bajan mother of two.
Throw in the fact that December is also her birthday month; it is as if all her Christmases come at once.
This Christmas has been having a jolly good time for the past 65 years savouring the sweet sounds, treats and delights of the Yuletide season, as well as the experience of bearing a name that often brings joy to the world.
While she does not decorate her Black Rock, St Michael home as lavishly as before, the glitter and the gifts, the tinsel and the twinkling lights are still a delight. Not to forget, the Christmas tree.
Dressed in her favourite Christmas colours of red and green, and with a twinkle in her eye as if reflective of the gold tinsel and lights adorning her living room, Carol repeatedly stressed that from a child, she loved the things of Christmas.
“I don’t know if it is because my name is Christmas, but I always loved Christmas. And then my birthday is December 3, so December is really my Christmas month,” she told the DAILY NATION.
“I love the different songs at Christmas that make it feel so special. Also, in the old days, the smell of the ham, turkey, the bread and the sorrel, plus the painting, varnishing, and all of that.
“Christmas is a time of helping people. Yes, we help all during the year, but it’s more special at Christmas time for those who need a little help. That really blesses my heart.”
But it was not the Santa, snow and secular things that the devout Christian and member of the Black Rock Wesleyan Holiness Church cherished most. It was celebrating the “Christ” in Christmas.
No surprise then that her favourite carol is O Holy Night.
“It’s just the way that people sing it. And when you hear the way Mariah Carey or Whitney Houston sings it . . . oh, I just love that song,”
she said in a soft, tender voice, with eyes closed, as if replaying it in her mind.
But with such a name, sometimes travelling in and around The City during the holiday rush can be a real nuisance for Carol.
Most of her friends and former schoolmates simply call her “Christmas”, and that is where the confusion comes a-calling.
“With everybody talking about Christmas, Christmas, Christmas in Bridgetown, sometimes I think they are talking to me or about me – or it is someone from school days. Yet when I look back, nobody is talking to me. Sometimes it has me so confused,” she said with a chuckle.
Carol, who said she disliked the last-minute shopping, told of times when she just had to hustle out of Town to get away from the “Christmas” calling.
“Sometimes I hear them talking about what they are going to buy for Christmas, or ‘This is for Christmas’ or ‘We doing this for Christmas’, but then I realise it is not anything for me.”
The former student of St John the Baptist School and Modern High School, who grew up in the Holders Hill/Thorpes area of St James, said from those early days, her name was a source of amusement for many. She said the children were often more naughty than nice.
“Oh Lord, they used to call me ‘The Christmas Worm’. Every time they see a Christmas worm, they would say, ‘Look you there; look yuh brother there!’ Those children used to be cruel, you hear.”
Carol would go on later in life to spend 26 years living and working in the American capital of Washington D.C. as an administrative assistant. Yet every Christmas there was no dashing through the snow, sleigh rides or playing with Frosty. It was back to Barbados.
“Down there never felt like Christmas. Yes, they had the Christmas trees up and so on, but as soon as the 26th of December came, Christmas trees were thrown in the garbage and you didn’t hear Christmas songs any more. Not like over here where we celebrate 12 days of Christmas.”
The single mother’s family includes her two children Marvyn (who lives in Maryland, United States) and Cindy Christmas, as well as four Christmas brothers – Edbrook (who lives in England), Julian, Davidson and Hugh – along with their offspring. They, she said, loved Christmas just as much.
When those living here get together on December 25, they just call it ‘The Big Christmas Dinner’, Carol said with a laugh.
Their Christmas menu usually includes rice and green peas, fried and baked chicken, ham, macaroni pie, sweet potato pie, jug-jug and cassava pone.
“I love the variety, but only eat a little of each. And I would also have a little wine.”
The retiree, who has been home for the past five years, said Christmas of today was a bit of a letdown compared to yesteryear.
“People would pass around the house and get a little piece of ham, a piece of cake and maybe a glass of sorrel or whatever they had, but nowadays you are eating and drinking those things every day. It is still special for me at Christmas, but it’s not the same.
“People used to have a lot more love and respect, caring and sharing, for others. Not anymore. Those old-time days and ways are gone; gone through the eddoes. There is not that much love in Barbados any more.”
Carol is not one for Christmas Morning In The Park – she recalls only going twice – but will be dressing up for church as usual. She said this will be the first time in a while not having to lead the Christmas worship.
And while this year she has had to deal with some personal and financial challenges, she intends to have herself a merry little Christmas with the other Christmases, and is looking forward to whatever the New Year brings . . . until the next Christmas. (BW)