This will be only the second Christmas I have not spent with my family. I don't get upset about Thanksgiving. It wasn't as a big a deal in our house. We still had an amazing dinner but my parents are West Indian and did not celebrate that holiday growing up. Christmas on the other hand was pretty special and my siblings and I always went home.
Christmas is two weeks from tomorrow and I am trying to get into the spirit. I do realize that my siblings are married and have their own traditions. This is when being single and far from your famliy f*in sucks. I never knew I would miss hearing really bad soloists during Christmas service. My brother, sister and I would try not to laugh. My dad would glare at us from the choir section. Once we got in the car he would tell us our behavior was not appropiate. I'm sorry, if you bring a boom box and sing some weird uptempo carol no one has heard of at 11:30 p.m. when everyone is already restless you might get some reactions.
I miss the crazy ornaments my sister bought from her elementary school's Secret Santa shop. My parents still have them (she is now in her 30s) and treat them like they were purchased at Cartier. I am shocked I miss my mom's brother who always argued at the Christmas dinner table with my dad about politics. He felt Nixon was misunderstood. My mom would try to bring peace to the table but my dad was not having it. Dad supported JFK.
No matter was going on during the year, I always looked forward to Christmas. I would see my family, eat well and get one or two nice presents. Once my parents moved back to the Caribbean we started a new tradition of going to the beach after church.
Anguilla has some of the nicest beaches in the Caribbean. I'm not saying that because both grandmothers were born there. "Conde Nast Traveler" and "Travel and Leisure" editoral and their readers have said it as well. Anguilla, named by Christopher Columbus, is Italian for eel. I suggest going to the long skinny island before it becomes over-developed. There isn't much to do except relax. If you are looking for nightlife her neighbors St. Maarten or St. Barths are a better choice. St. Barths is a more in your face scene. Think the Hamptons in the Caribbean. Many celebs and fancy types go to Anguilla but they keep it low key. Anguilla can be very expensive but if you check out some of the laid back places to eat you won't kill your budget.
When I was a kid we used go to my aunt's for a couple days during August Monday. The holiday is on the first Monday of the month and there are boat races, parties and lots of good food. She made us herd the goats. Those are some freaky looking animals. Only after chores (hello, we were supposed to be on vacation) we could go to the beach with our cousins. There are more hotels/villas now but the island has retained most of it's charm.
Last year when we went to see family, it was the middle of the day, high season and the beach looked like this. The hotel in the background will be the Viceroy (the same owners of the Viceroy here). I hear the prices are outrageously expensive. I didn't have my digital camera yet. I wish I could post photos of the Villas at the St. Regis. The prices there are quite high as well.
This is the view of the other end of the bay. The hotel at the very tip is Malliouhana. It was one of the first hotels on the island and sits on some of my maternal grandmother's property. Too bad I can't go back in time and look at that lease. The hotel is very nice. Here is their photo gallery. Anguilla used to be so off the beaten track that when the owner started building the hotel his friends in England asked him why he was building in Angola which was in the middle of a civil war.
Anguilla is part of the British West Indies, so be careful when renting a car, they drive on the left. You will have to stop for goats, cows and locals who like to talk to each other and tie up traffic. I wouldn't have it any other way.