Merry Christmas from Antigua!
Christmas on the boat is always vastly different from what I’ve experienced on land. First, there are the obvious things.
1) No real tree, though I like our conch shell tree better anyway, and 2) no snow, but it’s not like we had very much of that in Florida, either. The thing you never seem to think of until it hits you in the face, however, is presents. Clearly, we don’t have the space for random things that most people receive, and we can’t buy things online because of the logistics. So, that leaves extraordinarily little in the gray space.
However, my parents don’t make things any easier. If you ask them what they want their response is always: “I don’t know, I don’t need anything. Maybe a massage?”
With their completely unhelpful answers, I spent a lot of time trying to wrack my brain for things I thought they’d like. Thankfully, a few days before Christmas, my dad made a request...Cookies. He wanted cookies.
At the time, we were at an anchorage named Falmouth Harbour with our friends from SV Galatea, Misha and Frank. Falmouth Harbour is a really nice place with huge, fancy yachts and the area has a lot of history. For instance, Nelson's Dockyard, around the bend in English Harbour, has beautiful Eighteenth century buildings that are cool to see and I learned so much about the history there and the British Royal Navy.
Ok, I veered off track. So, back to cookies. When my parents left to hangout with Misha and Frank, I used the time as an opportunity to cook the cookies. Despite him clearly making the request, I decided it would defeat the purpose of a gift if he saw me bake them.
My goal was to be finished before they returned. I wanted to clean everything so it looked like I didn’t bake anything and hide the cookies in my room until Christmas Eve (which was the next day), so it would be a surprise. He’d be super disappointed then BOOM! I’m the best daughter to ever exist.
They arrived back at the boat while my second batch was baking and I tried to shoo them away but they were ready to retire to their room. I let my mom in but forced my dad to wait on the sugar scoop until they were done cooking. To anyone looking, he probably looked like a dog who was kicked out of the house for peeing on the furniture. But he didn’t mind, he knew what I was doing. He could smell the sweets from outside.
I didn’t let him back in until the cookies were placed in plastic containers and any evidence of my baking was erased from the galley.
On Christmas Eve, after a lovely lunch at Boom Restaurant (located in front of the historical Gunpowder House), we returned to the boat and opened gifts. The cookies was the first gift Dad unwrapped. He spent the rest of the evening with them by his side. My mom, though still hard to shop for, was easier to give gifts to. I found a skirt I knew she loved from a local shop, made a few bracelets, gave her cards to open when I’m being annoying, and some cocoa balls for hot chocolate.
Christmas Day we had lunch at the Copper and Lumber restaurant in Nelson's Dockyard. This is a very old historical building that sits right next to Fort Berkeley. It was a picturesque setting with windows open, views of sailboats, old buildings and a gentle breeze cooling us at the perfect temperature. The restaurant had a special Christmas buffet lunch with a steel drum band. I felt bad for the restaurant because there were only two other small families dining at the same time as us. The restaurant was eerily empty. Covid has really hurt these businesses so we were very happy that we DID spend our Christmas there .
By New Years we were in a marina and the cookies were completely gone. My mom and I helped...especially me.
Antigua has a different time zone then New York, despite being on a similar longitude line, so we decided not to watch the ball drop. My dad went to sleep immediately after returning from dinner, but my mom and I stuck it out. We watched a movie that I have no memory of and watched the clock turn from 11:59 to 12:00.
We celebrated by watching fireworks from bays around us and enjoyed some sparkling cider.
Happy New Year!