Christmas is always highly anticipated time of year in Cayman, with a whirlwind of events and festivities designed to make spirits bright. Here we highlight some memorable holiday happenings in December.
1 High flying Santa
Saturday, Dec. 5
The annual Kiwanis Santa Landing sees Jolly Old St. Nick making a grand entrance at the Airport Park across from Foster’s Food Fair, where he and his helpers hand out books and goodies to the children. The little ones are treated to an afternoon of games, activities and special treats. This free community event starts at 1 p.m.
2 Toys for Tots
Sunday, Dec. 13
Bikers are revving up for the annual Toys 4 Tots drive. Members of the Cayman Islands Motorcycle Riders Association are seeking donations of new, unwrapped toys that can be dropped off at Cost-U-Less, FLOW, the Book Nook and Subway. The toys are distributed to a number of non-profit groups, including the Lions Club of Grand Cayman. The toy run takes place Dec. 13, when bikers are invited to join in the ride from West Bay to North Side in exchange for a toy.
3 Moonlight & Movies
Tuesdays to Dec. 22
Each year, Camana Bay presents favorite holiday movies under the stars. Families can cuddle up in the festively lit courtyard to enjoy their favorite Christmas films on a giant outdoor screen. Movies are screened every Tuesday in Gardenia Court, starting at 7 p.m. The line-up includes: Elf, Dec. 8; The Nightmare Before Christmas and Frosty the Snowman, Dec. 15; and The Santa Clause, Dec. 22
On Thursday, Dec. 17 there will be a special screening of the newly released film Max. Members of the Cayman Animal Rescue Enthusiasts (C.A.R.E.) will be on hand to raise awareness on how to help the island’s furry friends.
5 Pose with Santa
Thursdays to Dec. 17 and Saturdays to Dec. 19
Father Christmas brings delight to the young and young-at-heart each year as he poses for keepsake photos at Camana Bay. Kids can join the Santa decked out in his traditional red-and-white regalia to whisper wishes and snap memories every
Thursday in Gardenia Court from 5 p.m. to 7 p.m. On Saturdays, Santa goes island-style in a tropical shirt, shorts and flip flops for memory-making in the sand on The Island from 3 p.m. to 5 p.m.
6 Santa Paws
Saturday, Dec. 12
A special photo session is planned for the four-legged set from 10 a.m. to noon in Gardenia Court at Camana Bay. Pets and their human companions can take photos with Santa and shop for holiday gifts to support the Cayman Islands Humane Society.
Santa will also be making an appearance at Cayman Animal Hospital on Dec. 12 from 1 p.m. to 3 p.m. Bring your furry friend for a holiday photo, and kids are welcome to join in the fun. The photo session is free but donations are welcome to support the charity One Dog at a Time.
7 Lights tour
Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, Dec. 21-23
The National Trust for the Cayman Islands organizes an annual Christmas lights bus tour that visits spectacular homes decked out for the holiday season. The sightseeing tour includes a stop at historic Mission House in Bodden Town, where visitors can sample traditional holiday fare and experience an old-time Cayman Christmas.
The tours start and end at Dart Family Park in South Sound. The tours are from 6 to 9 p.m. Call 345-749-1123 to reserve your seat. Cost is $20 for members of the National Trust and $35 for non-members.
8 Gingerbread Man Tea
Saturday through Thursday, Dec. 19 to 24
See what happens when the magic of Christmas meets a child’s tea party where youngsters get to decorate their own gingerbread man. Indulge in tiny sandwiches and a tower of sweets before succumbing to the magic of Santa and his friends around the Christmas tree. Adults will enjoy a selection of classic and herbal teas, freshly baked scones, finger sandwiches and tempting pastries accompanied by holiday melodies.
The Gingerbread Man Tea is held in the Silver Palm Lounge at The Ritz-Carlton, Grand Cayman with sittings at 12 p.m., 1 p.m., 2 p.m. and 3 p.m. Cost is $70 for adults, $45 for children 6-12 and $25 for children 3-5 years. To make a reservation, call 815-6912.
9 Christmas market
Wednesdays until Dec. 23
Throughout the holiday season, Camana Bay’s popular Farmers & Artisans Market is infused with Christmas cheer. Pick up one-of-a-kind gift items – or treat yourself to a special holiday indulgence. Along with a wide selection of fresh produce and farm goods, there is an eclectic selection of artisanal products and handicrafts.
10 Holiday fun runs
Sunday, Dec. 13 and Saturday, Dec. 26
The Jingle Bell Walk/Run is a long-standing favorite with the running set. Many participants get into the Christmas spirit by donning festive apparel, even dressing up their four-legged friends. The fun run and walk, which raises funds for the Cayman Islands Crisis Centre, includes breakfast with Santa and raffle prizes. Start time is 7 a.m. at The Holiday Inn. Register online at CaymanActive.com.
If you’re looking to work off the turkey and Christmas beef, then join the annual Boxing Day walk/run along Seven Mile Breach, Dashing Through the Sand. The 1.5-mile trek starts on the beach near Hemingway’s Restaurant and ends at Calico Jack’s. Start time is 7:30 a.m., and the event includes breakfast and raffle prizes. Register online at CaymanActive.com.
11 Mistletoe White Party
Friday, Dec. 18
Here’s your chance to have some Yuletide fun while supporting a good cause. Don your best winter whites, head to Abacus in Camana Bay, and dance the night away at the hottest party of the season with D.J. Lin. The evening raises funds for Aimee’s Angels, which works to boost the overall wellness of breast cancer patients and survivors. It starts at 5 p.m. and continues until the wee hours of the morning.
12 Festive Flavour Tour
Wednesday, Dec. 16 and 23
This dining adventure takes on a festive spin, as the restaurants of Camana Bay celebrate the season with a four-course dine-around, highlighting traditional holiday fare and fresh local ingredients. The tours start at the West Indies Wine Company. Cost is $73 per person. Tickets are available at www.caymango.com/flavourtour.
Bonus: New Year’s Eve
Thursday, Dec. 31
Ring in 2016 at Camana Bay’s New Year’s Eve Fireworks and No Resolutions Party. There are two spectacular fireworks displays lighting up the harbor – one at 7 p.m. and the other when the clock strikes midnight.