Celebrating Christmas in America as a Jamaican is completely different from Christmas celebrated on the beautiful island of Jamaica.
This year, I was very homesick. I missed seeing houses being painted in the weeks leading up to Christmas. I missed the preparation of goats and pigs for the big Christmas feast and while I dislike mannish water, I really missed the aroma of it from that outdoor kitchen. Most of all, I missed Grand market night, walking uptown, downtown, uptown, downtown Christmas eve night.
To get as close to the traditions as possible, my mom still cooks her curried goat, brown stew oxtail, bakes the rum cake … but it is simply not the same. I think 2020 will be spent in Jamaica celebrating Christmas; after all, Moses has yet to experience a Jamaican Christmas.
Nevertheless, while I adjust to what Christmas celebration has become for us living in America, it has been hard for us to create our own family traditions. Christmas Eve for us is decorating cookies and carrots for Santa and the Reindeers and that’s the only thing that is consistent. With that aside, this year, we were intentional as a family to giveback to the community.
Though we volunteer at different organizations (Second Harvest, Give Kids the World) we wanted to do something tangible that could potentially change the lives of the persons we interacted with.
We decided to do SHOEBOXES FOR HAITI as our tangible gift.
It was an amazing experience for Moses as he was the decisionmaker of the content of each box. We did boys in his age group and since he is always begging for a sister, we did princess shoeboxes for babies 0-3months old.
It was amazing to see his choice of gifts. With no budget, we went to the Disney store and Moses stuffed the boxes beyond capacity, constantly saying “they are gonna love this mommy”.
It was one of the most meaningful givebacks for me.
As a child growing up in Jamaica, I received a shoebox on three (3) separate occasions.
It was a delightful experience as a child to get a box from “America”. While the contents were amazing, the best gift I ever received in the shoebox was a pen pal that I am friends with on Facebook today as an adult. The thought, that someone would not only send a stranger a gift for Christmas but also send a picture and contact information was mind-blowing!!
Having received this joy as a child more than 20 years ago, we enclosed a handwritten note saying “I LOVE YOU” from Moses attached to our family portrait.
As a small business, slowing growing, giving back to our customers and to our community has been the most rewarding and cherished part of this entrepreneurial adventure.
It is our hope to increase our giving, tangible and intangible for 2020 and beyond to ensure that by example, we can show that it is effortless to care for each another.
Share your Christmas cheers with us.
Tell us about how you celebrated Christmas this year?
Did you volunteer any time or gifts to your community?
We are excited to hear from you all.
Thank you for choosing Mojamaican.