Top 10 Things We Love This Month – December 2016

1. Charitable giving

What better time of year to be charitable and giving to those less fortunate than Christmas? You won’t have to look very far to find many organizations looking for donations to ensure that all families and children have a merry festive season. There are several groups that specifically collect toys for kids so they have something to open on Christmas Day. Even if you can’t give money, give your time. Volunteer to assist charities that feed the hungry or visit the indigent. It’s what the season is all about.


2. A catered affair

Have you invited everyone to your house this year, and now you’re beginning to severely regret the idea? Cooking a turkey dinner for a few people can be a wonderful, heartfelt experience, but putting together a feast for 20 sounds like a whole lot of work. Call one of the resorts or catering services to have your meal prepared for you. Just place your order, let them know when you need it, then pick it up or have it delivered. Merry Christmas indeed.


3. Mulled wine

There is nothing like the smell of mulled wine roaming through the house to truly give it that cozy feel, particularly as any crackling fireplace will be limited to one on your TV screen. Mulled wine is incredibly easy to make and wonderfully warming to drink, as the mercury dives to 72 degrees outside. There are recipes all over the Internet, that almost always include wine (natch), cloves, cinnamon and other spices. This is the time of year when people are always giving wine as gifts. Put yours to good use.


4. Buy local

It’s always tempting to fly overseas to do your Christmas shopping, but have you taken a good look in the local stores to see what they’ve got? The boutiques are brimming with clothes from cheap and cheerful stylish looks to designer brands designed to wow at all those parties you’ve got on your calendar. Then there are the gift shops stocking items sure to thrill everyone on your Christmas list. Housewares, jewelry, local crafts, books, games and electronics – they’re all right here. Don’t be a Scrooge – buy local!


5. Catch restaurant

In case you hadn’t heard, Catch restaurant located at Morgan’s Harbour in West Bay won a stack of awards at the recent Jamaica Observer Table Talk Food Awards. The food and drinks are definitely worthy of the recognition, and you really can’t beat the view. When you make a reservation for dinner, be sure to request a seat on the deck overlooking the sea. Bring a wrap in the winter season for those cooler temperatures and marvel at Mother Nature. Extra tip: try to book on the night of the full moon.


6. Revamped Wyndham Reef

A wind of change has been blowing through the Wyndham Reef in East End, and it is a refreshing one indeed. Those who have not visited the resort for some time will be pleasantly surprised by its recent upgrades, including modern furniture in the lobby featuring a completely updated reception and concierge area, and comfortably cushioned lounge pieces outdoors by the bar, where guests can truly relax, Caribbean-style. The real revelation, however, is the upstairs signature restaurant, renamed “Tides,” with a new late-night menu and Parmesan flambé that is “to die for.”


7. Vera’s on Seven Mile

Vera’s brings the authentic flavor of Trinidad to Seven Mile Beach. The mainstay is Roti and various curries, as well as a different special every day. Open for lunch and dinner, Mon-Sun, Vera’s has entertainment during dinner on Tuesday night when top Cayman singer/songwriter Andy Blake performs, and on Wednesdays, the scintillating sounds of Master Pan-man Earl La Pierre’s Steel Pan. After dinner on Monday the dining tables are cleared to make room for Cayman’s Industry Night Party with DJ Mister P, who also plays during Happy Hour from 5 – 7 p.m. on Fridays followed by Rock Karaoke from 8 p.m. on Fridays & Saturdays until closing time.


8. “A Charlie Brown Christmas”

You’d have to have a heart like a lump of coal to not appreciate this Peanuts classic from Charles Schultz. Every year, without fail, it appears at least once on the U.S. TV schedule – it’s right up there with “The Wizard of Oz” and “It’s a Wonderful Life” when it comes to nostalgia in December. Thankfully, with today’s technology, you can watch it as often as you like – on the TV, on your mobile device, or on your laptop. Gather your family about you and watch the story of Charlie Brown and the little tree that could. Get the tissues ready.


9. Watches

Maybe we’re old-fashioned, but we think watches should be once again lauded as the primary timekeepers in this world. Sure, you’ve got a clock on the myriad technology devices on your person, but batteries can die and a watch makes a statement. It can be stylish, fashionable, funky, or a family heirloom … a “timeless” accessory, as it were. If you’re trying to think of a Christmas gift for a loved one, why not give them a watch? Makes counting down to midnight on Dec. 31 that much easier.


10. NYE

How could we possibly have a Top 10 in December without including New Year’s Eve? This is the date to reflect upon the year past, push aside any troubles, embrace the successes and look forward to 2017 with gusto. There are many venues with parties to suit every budget, starting with freebies to high-fallutin’ events that will cost some moolah and no doubt will feature spectacular food, drink and entertainment. If, however, you just want a quiet celebration with a few friends, head to the beach and take a seat in the sand. The great thing about fireworks is that no one can be selfish with them.