What the Holidays Look Like on a Tiny Island in Belize
As another holiday season approaches, it’s evident that ours will look a little different this year as we prepare to celebrate the holidays and ring in the new year from Belize. We’re thrilled to be able to do so from here, but at the same, it’s bittersweet. Bittersweet because most of our family and friends will be gathering together over the coming days back home in Ontario. As we get set to welcome the holidays from the Caribbean for the first time, this week's newsletter will take a look at our experiences preparing for the holidays here, as opposed to back home in Canada.
First things first. What have the days and weeks leading up to the holidays looked like on our little island compared to what we’re used to in Canada? Honestly, it’s very similar. The island is filled with strings of colourful lights and decorations at every turn. The only difference? Down here, we decorate coconut trees instead of a Fraser fir. The kids are off from school for a couple of weeks to spend time with family to celebrate the festivities. Gifts are bought and wrapped, and delicious food is to be prepared and enjoyed by many. Santa won’t forget about this little island while he makes his rounds in a few nights.
The weather has also taken a turn the past few days. No, it hasn’t snowed, and we definitely won’t be having a white Christmas. But, by Caribbean standards, the past few days have been “cold.” The sun has been hiding behind the clouds, the breeze is cool, and the sprinkle of rain here and there has led to temperatures hovering around 20-23 degrees Celsius. Sweaters, jackets, and long pants are typically not seen much on this island, but they’ve been used extensively over the past few days. We were told before relocating here that we’d experience a few days of sweater weather. When I think back to the sweltering hot days we had near the end of the summer, the idea of putting on a sweater here is hard to imagine. But, as she always does, Mother Nature will quickly humble you.
Even though we’ll be in Belize for the holidays, it has felt a lot like home the past few weeks. Kaila’s mom, Sharon, visited us for two weeks and recently left. Upon her arrival, and in typical Sharon fashion, she graced us with MANY gifts, treats, and necessities from home. She was thrilled to spend time with us in our new home, and the two weeks spent with her were another reminder of just how big of a heart she has. The seafood won’t miss you, but we certainly will, Sharon! Thank you for everything! We’ll see you in a few months!
I also ventured home to Ontario earlier this month for a few days to meet my brand-new nephew for the first time. My brother and his wife welcomed their first child into the world just a few short weeks ago. Being able to fly home to meet him and spend valuable and cherished time with family is easily one of my top highlights of the year. Right before my departure, and in typical Ann (Brendan’s Mom) fashion, she sent me on my way with an array of Christmas decorations and lights. She’d never let the season pass by without making sure we had a little Christmas spirit from home. Getting that dose of family time was incredibly special, especially around this time of the year.
As we look forward to celebrating the holidays in Belize, our hearts are filled with love from our families despite the distance between us this year. It's a reminder that no matter where we are, the spirit of the season and the love from our families are constants that fill our hearts with joy and gratitude.