Thursday, December 27, 2012

Christmas and Boxing Day in Belize

Well, the holiday season started off with a bang…literally…on Christmas Eve with the sound of firecrackers going off throughout the day. From what we were told, Christmas is a very big deal here, and folks go all out to celebrate. We can state for the record that some neighboring families must have had one heck of a party. We heard the music start around 6 p.m. on Christmas Eve and it continued, almost without a break, until 6 a.m. Christmas Day. The partying did stop briefly around midnight when a bunch of fireworks went off. That lasted about 20 minutes, then the music got cranked up again.

Feeling a bit bleary-eyed on Christmas Day from lack of sleep, we took things easy for the most part. We had been invited for Christmas dinner by our good friends Dave and Dianna and their friend, Elsie, who would be hosting the event at her place. We had read about Elsie on Dave’s blog, and looked forward to finally meeting her.

Folks started arriving at Elsie’s around 4:00, with everyone bringing a dish to share.
Denis, Vivian, Christina, and Dave

Maria, Ed, and their son, Thomas

David, Dianna, and Elsie

Dianna working on the gravy, while Vivian and Elsie tend to the turkey

Many hands making light work of getting everything on plates and platters

And oh what a feast! Elsie did an amazing job with the turkey. It was perfectly browned and the meat was tender and juicy. Dianna had made a big batch of mashed potatoes, contributed a corn side dish, and whipped up an amazing gravy. You can’t go wrong when a gravy is based on cream and butter! Carrots and cranberry jelly joined the party, along with stuffing, black beans, Yorkshire puddings and rolls. But before digging into all of that, Mae and Craig served up a salad that was chock full of wonderful things like pears, candied walnuts, and cranberries.

After literally stuffing ourselves into oblivion, we all somehow found room for dessert. Maria made an apple pie that was beyond delicious. It has been years since I had a slice of apple pie and after one bite, I was in love. A traditional black cake was also served, sort of like the local version of fruit cake.
Elsie was a fabulous hostess and we look forward to meeting her partner, Alan, when he arrives on December 31.
But more than enjoying all the wonderful food, we thoroughly enjoyed spending the evening with friends. We couldn’t have asked for a better holiday. But the fun was just beginning, because the next day we hitched a ride with Dave and Dianna to Four Mile Lagoon for a Boxing Day lunch at Ed and Maria’s house.
Situated right on the lagoon, their house is absolutely lovely with some very distinctive features including a domed ceiling in the their dining room. I would guess about 30 people were in attendance and, like the Christmas dinner, folks brought various dishes to round out the awesome ham that Maria made.

Circling the buffet

Ed and Maria's porch with lagoon in the background

Just some of the guests chatting in the living room.
It’s impossible to list everything that was served, but I can tell you that everything – from the spanakopita and mini meatballs to the pasta and macaroni salads, chocolate chip cookies, made-from-scratch chocolate cake and chocolate cherry cookies --  looked and tasted delicious.

Once everyone had finished gorging themselves, it was time for the gift exchange game. For this party, the rules were that an individual or a couple could bring a wrapped gift that cost about $20 BZD. I had purchased a clay pot from a local store as our gift. I thought it might be a popular item, but I had no idea it would be stolen and passed back and forth so many times! But the pot had competition against a bottle of red wine. But amid all the swapping and stealing, everyone had a great time. Thanks to Ed and Maria for a fun-filled party!

The holiday festivities don’t end there. Next Tuesday, we have back-to-back parties. First up is a New Year’s luncheon back at the lagoon at Gail and Earl’s house. After that, we head over to Dave and Dianna’s to take part in their second annual Polar Bear Swim. Stay tuned for details.

One thing’s for sure: we have never had so much fun or been on the go like this during the holiday season.

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