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My Favourite Christmas Memory

December 8, 2019

'Twas the night before Christmas, when all through the house not a creature was stirring, not even a mouse."

Is how I would have loved to start this story but alas, my story technically started a few days before Christmas Eve. I suppose by now you realize that I love Christmas. The change in temperature, the food aplenty and the overall vibe the season brings makes me happy.  This love I have for Christmas goes back to my younger years. I have many wonderful memories of Christmas in the past. This story, however, involves my grandmother, God bless her soul, and food. Here is my favourite Christmas memory.

How it started

Growing up in Jamaica, one of my favourite things to do at Christmas time was to go to Gran' Market. Now Gran' Market is a huge shopping event that takes place on Christmas eve each year in Jamaica. You can read more about Gran' Market in my post 12 Things Jamaicans do that make the festive season more fun.

We always went to Gran' Market in Clarendon (the parish I grew up in). Most of my cousins grew up in St. Ann and the older ones would brag to us about how awesome the Gran' Market in Brown's Town was. Brown's Town is a small, rural town in the parish of St. Ann. My maternal grandmother resided in St. Ann. As children, it was a common practice for us to go to St. Ann or 'country' as we dubbed it to spend time at 'Grandma's' house during the summer holidays. It was less likely to happen in the festive season since the temperature would get really cold there at that time of the year, well at least it felt that way to us.

Off to Grandma's House

One year we were finally convinced to go to the Gran' Market in Brown's Town and spend Christmas with grandma. It would be our first time experiencing Christmas away from home. We didn't mind too much because we knew we were in for a major treat where food was concerned. Grandma was an excellent cook and an even more remarkable baker. Grandma's cakes and puddings were the best...sorry mommy 😁.

We went to grandma's house a few days before Christmas Eve so we could determine how we would get to Gran' Market. It was decided that our aunt would take us (myself, my sis and cousin) to Brown's Town in the evening after she took the younger kids (my other cousins). Grandma lived in a residential/farming community a bus ride away from Brown's Town so we would have to take a bus to get there. The plan was that our aunt would let us know when she was close by so we could start getting ready.

Christmas Eve

Christmas Eve finally arrived and we were excited. We spoke to our aunt in the morning to confirm that we were still on and then we had the rest of the day to think about all we would eat, what we would see (referring to the late-night window shopping) and how much fun we would have. The morning quickly turned to noon and we were teeming with excitement. This increased after our second call, with aunty letting us know that she was already in Brown's Town with my younger cousins and would be on her way back soon. This was some minutes after 3 p.m. Then the clouds started rolling in 😔.

If there is one thing I remember about St. Ann is how unpredictable the weather can be. You could have clear skies early in the day and by noon it's raining cats and dogs. I vividly remember a few really scary thunderstorms I experienced while visiting grandma. Unlike now, I wasn't very interested in or paid attention to the weather updates or the news for that matter. So when the rain came it was a shock to us all (well to us kids). For as long as I can remember I've always been very optimistic and even though it poured I still held out hope that it would ease up in time and we'd still get to go.

Then this happened

Our aunt arrived home and advised us that she would still be willing to go but she had to get an assessment of how the town looked. We were advised that Brown's Town was not very awesome after a heavy shower. With this, we remained hopeful. Grandma was already convinced we wouldn't be able to go and she told us not to get our hopes up. We were still optimistic and even ironed. At around 7 p.m. aunty called us to let us know that she wasn't going as doing so was not a wise decision. I'm probably exaggerating but we were devastated. Imagine, the whole reason we came to St. Ann in the first place and still didn't get to go.

Comfort Food

Grandma could tell how disheartened we were and being the grandmother she was, she wanted to cheer us up. She decided to make us some comfort food. This came in the form of rice porridge. Rice porridge is a simple dish consisting of rice and milk or water. The Jamaican Rice Porridge is somewhat different from the other types as it includes additional spices and is sweetened. This idea did not excite me in the least. I was a picky eater and I wasn't sure I would like it. Boy was I mistaken. If you want to try the Jamaican Rice Porridge feel free to check out this simple recipe.

My Pumpkin Belly

Grandma finished making the porridge and gave us each a bowl. You know how when you're trying food for the first time you take a tiny bit? That's exactly what I did and with that tiny bite, I was hooked. It was the most delicious porridge I'd ever tasted. I'm not sure how much helpings I had all I know is by the time I was finished I couldn't move and my belly was the size of a pumpkin. Mind you I was a skinny child "mi did maaga". My sister and cousin got me out of my food coma by pulling me around the house. Grandma advised me to put a wet rag on my belly. Suffice to say I’m not sure what the rag was supposed to do but Grandma said I should use it so that's what I did. A short while later I was all good.

The End

Later that night we had a good laugh at my antics. Grandma stayed up with us till around midnight telling us stories about Christmas in her younger years as well as duppy (ghost) stories which we enjoyed.  The next day we woke up to chocolate tea and a hearty Christmas breakfast, in the afternoon we had a scrumptious dinner followed by all the cake we could eat. This memory will forever be etched in my mind.  That year I learnt an important lesson. Things may not always go as planned but it always works out in the end.

 

What is your favourite Christmas memory? Tell me in the comments below. Thanks for reading.

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24 Comments

  • Reply Devrhoid December 8, 2019 at 7:29 pm

    Thanks for sharing with us Kimberley. My favourite Christmas memory is also of when I was very little. I remember getting a toy crane as a Christmas gift and having my Aunt visit. It was a time of great joy and togetherness. There was a big poinsettia tree across from our house and I always loved seeing its bright red flowers at Christmas time.

    • Reply Kimberley December 8, 2019 at 9:32 pm

      That sounds like a great experience. I really love seeing the poinsettias in December.

  • Reply Manahil December 10, 2019 at 6:51 am

    The best read of the day <3

  • Reply Chimnaza December 11, 2019 at 1:15 am

    Awww I can imagine having your Hope’s high and the unpredictable weather spoilt it.

    Well, not sure i have a favourite Christmas memory but yours was good.

    Merry Christmas in advance.

    • Reply Kimberley December 11, 2019 at 11:15 am

      Merry Chistmas to you too and thanks for reading!

  • Reply Amy December 11, 2019 at 6:12 am

    My favorite Christmas memory, is growing up my dad would always cut me a “charlie brown tree” also known as a stick. Spray paint it white and set it up in my room so I could decorate my own tree. It may have just been a stick but it meant the world to me

    • Reply Kimberley December 11, 2019 at 12:01 pm

      That’s really sweet. I see why it’s your favourite memory.

  • Reply Serena Cooper December 11, 2019 at 10:29 am

    What a sweet memory! I had no idea you grew up in Jamaica – so cool!

    • Reply Kimberley December 11, 2019 at 12:03 pm

      Thank you so much! Jamaican born and raised. Thanks for reading!

  • Reply Samantha December 11, 2019 at 11:00 am

    I love hearing about everyone’s Christmas memories and traditions. Christmas is my absolute favorite season/time of year. My favorite Christmas memory is every year my dad and I would go the first or second weekend of December (whichever had snow) to get our tree and my gramma and poppa’s tree and then we would drop it off and I would get to help decorate both and it was just a really nice time with family and festivity.

    • Reply Kimberley December 11, 2019 at 12:09 pm

      That sounds like fun. I’ve never had the oppurtunity to decorate a real tree but I really enjoyed decorating the one we got while I was growing up. I still enjoy decorating, I actually help to decorate my office each year.

  • Reply Cathy December 11, 2019 at 7:34 pm

    I loved reading your story. You are right, things don’t always turn out the way we planned, but sometimes they turn out even better! Thanks!

    • Reply Kimberley December 11, 2019 at 10:11 pm

      I’m happy you enjoyed it. Thank you so much for reading!

  • Reply Kelly| citytoast2southerntea December 11, 2019 at 9:01 pm

    This memory sounds so sweet and grandma sounds amazing. It makes me want to meet her….lol

    • Reply Kimberley December 11, 2019 at 10:28 pm

      She was and you would have loved her!

  • Reply Kimberlie December 11, 2019 at 10:27 pm

    My mom is from St. Ann and Ibwoukd spend holidays there as well. Rice porridge has always been one of my favorite things to eat. When my mom visits, she always make it for me. You just helped make me hungry now. I’m happy to see I’m not the only Kim blogging about things that make growing up in Jamaica special.

    • Reply Kimberley December 11, 2019 at 10:33 pm

      Thanks girl! I really enjoy reading your stories btw, it’s probably a Kim thing.

  • Reply Amber Hurley December 12, 2019 at 1:00 pm

    This is beautiful! Alot of my friends are Jamaican. Love the food and culture.

    • Reply Kimberley December 12, 2019 at 10:23 pm

      Thank you so much and that is amazing!

  • Reply Rose Hahn December 27, 2019 at 12:12 pm

    What a lovely story! It makes me want to taste this amazing porridge that made up for such a big disappointment. Thank you for sharing the recipe too! ❤️

    • Reply Kimberley December 29, 2019 at 11:51 pm

      Thank you so much, and I highly recommend that you try the rice porridge.

  • Reply Manahil December 28, 2019 at 2:39 am

    Memories to adore! Isn’t?

    • Reply Kimberley December 29, 2019 at 11:43 pm

      I agree, thanks for reading!

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