You’ve heard of a white Christmas… but have you ever considered a white sand Christmas?
Holidays to Barbados during the festive season are becoming more popular, and it’s not hard to see why.
So, what does Christmas in Barbados look like? If you’re wondering whether Santa still comes, or whether you’ll get that all-important turkey, we’ve got the lowdown on what you can expect on a Bajan yuletide holiday here.
Sunshine at Christmas time?
Christmas in the UK can be a chilly affair. At best there’s a fresh dusting of snow; at worst, rain and freezing temperatures. For many, this makes for a romantic Christmas atmosphere. Being wrapped up in a scarf and sipping on a warm cup of mulled wine might feel like the best way to get into the Christmas spirit.
Yet many of us often long for a break from the annual routine, to do something really special with our loved ones at Christmas time.
“What could be more memorable than spending Christmas Eve at a beach barbecue or taking your after-lunch nap on a sun lounger?”
A Christmas break in Barbados offers the opportunity to do just that and more – including topping up your fading summer tan!
How Sandy Lane celebrates Christmas in Barbados!
The weather in Barbados during Christmas can reach highs of 29C whilst you are watching the Queen’s speech, and even during the evening when you are normally watching a classic Christmas movie, the temperature only dips to a comfortable 23C.
It’s not just warmer temperatures you can look forward to, either; you’ll have even more time to enjoy the Christmas spirit in Barbados. In contrast to December in the UK, where the sun often rises after we start work and sets before we finish, the day length doesn’t vary that much in Barbados thanks to its position closer to the equator.
So, on top of getting a good dose of warm rays to lift the spirits, you’ll also have more time to celebrate Christmas day.
All the trimmings
Do you find it hard to imagine Christmas without turkey and roast potatoes? In Barbados you won’t need to, because all of the luxury Barbados hotels have been welcoming British guests for decades. Thanks to years of experience, island chefs know exactly how to cater to traditional UK tastes.
Most hotels will provide extravagant Christmas buffets with all of your favourites plus some more regional fare too. So, if you want to break with tradition and have freshly caught fish, lobster or shrimp for Christmas dinner instead, that’s no problem either.
For an authentic Bajan Christmas meal, make sure you try Jug Jug.
This mix of pigeon peas, salted meat, corn, minced pork and herbs is similar to haggis. The perfect accompaniment to a sumptuous Christmas dinner.
Cobblers Cove – the island’s only Relais & Châteaux hotel – is one place where you’ll find a memorable Christmas dinner, where the incredible chefs will provide a mouth-watering selection of familiar favourites and dishes with a Caribbean twist.
Another popular favourite for Christmas dinner is The Atlantis hotel. This hotel is situated on the island’s quieter, more rugged, eastern side and boasts spectacular ocean views. Here you can enjoy authentic Bajan cuisine while being serenaded by a live steel band.
To top it all off, there’s the rum. On an island renowned for its distilleries you won’t be hard-pressed to find a delicious Christmas cake made to local recipes that include rum. The Bajan version is called a Great Cake. And you may even like to pay a visit to the Mount Gay rum distillery during your stay; a day trip that is sure to get you in the Christmas spirit!
Santa in the sun
If you’re travelling with kids in tow then there’s no need to panic – Father Christmas visits the Caribbean too!
Most resorts will have an appearance from Saint Nick, many on Christmas day itself.
At the inimitable Sandy Lane, for example, Santa arrives in a different style each year and it’s always a big event.
Whether he’s drummed in by a precession riding a festive Segway, on tractor-drawn sleigh across the sand, or even parachuting right down onto the beach (yes that really happened!), guests of all ages are in for a treat.
At Sandy Lane, every guest staying on Christmas Day receives a personalised gift from the hotel itself, too.
Adult-only properties don’t miss out on the Yuletide cheer either. For example, the guests at the luxuriously sophisticated The House by Elegant Hotels will often be treated to an informal carol concert from a local youth choir during their stay.
Family fun and games
Another traditional Christmas activity is playing games as a family. You’ll find that there’s plenty of all-age festive fun to be had in Barbados during Christmas.
Many resorts plan a special Christmas programme with younger guests in mind. At Waves Resort & Spa by Elegant Hotels, for example, there’s a “12 days of Christmas treasure hunt”, whilst Sandy Lane’s annual Christmas Day sandcastle competition has become quite the fixture with some truly impressive structures being produced!
Of course, quintessentially Caribbean experiences are always at your fingertips. At Crystal Cove by Elegant Hotels guests are invited to spend some time with the resort’s green monkeys on Christmas morning; definitely not something you’d wake up to in the UK!
Equally, you might take some time out of the celebrations to swim with hawksbill turtles. Most hotels offer trips to see these majestic creatures but few are better placed than the Fairmont Royal Pavilion, where turtles bask just off the shore and guests can reach them by kayak or paddle board.
Once you have recovered from the excess of your Christmas Day in Barbados, what else is there to do? For Boxing Day back in the UK most people would go on a traditional walk to work off the excess of yesterday’s dinner.
Naturally, you can do that in Barbados too – albeit this time in shorts and a t-shirt rather than full winter gear.
There is also the annual Boxing Day Races which takes place at the Garrison Savannah Racecourse. This has become a tradition in Barbados in itself so it’s certainly worth attending.
Your own Christmas hideaway
Like the idea of Bajan sunshine and culture but want more privacy and flexibility than you’d find in a hotel? In that case, we recommend looking into staying in a luxurious Barbados villa to celebrate Christmas in the sun. These impressive private homes offer acres of space and are perfect for an extended family getaway. If you wish, you can choose to cook Christmas dinner for yourselves. Alternatively, you can leave that to your private chef, who will cater entirely to your tastes.
It’s clear why many people decide to spend Christmas in Barbados, where the weather is generally sunny and dry, and temperatures hover in the mid-to-high twenties.
But it’s not only the Caribbean warmth that calls them to this beautiful island; it’s the whole holiday experience.
So when you write your wish list to Santa – put spending Christmas in Barbados at the top.