What is it about the festive season that seems to plant a permanent smile on our faces? Is it the cooler breezes so we’re not sweating from pillar-to-post? Maybe it’s the twinkling lights, the swishing of shopping bags … or Santa Claus! Part of the reason people look forward to December is the general sense of happiness and goodwill it seems to bring with it.

We at What’s Hot are always interested to see what new gift items are available in the local shops; that’s why we create our guide each year, which you’ll find in this special feature. There are suggestions for every budget to make your decisions much easier.

Christmas and New Year’s Eve are all about the food, drink and socializing, so we’ve got a roundup of some great brunch and New Year’s Eve options. Just remember to book early – these are arguably the most popular dining and party dates of the year and everyone will want to nail down their plans before venues sell out.

Want to know what’s happening on the seasonal calendar? Check out our 12 Days of Christmas page that takes you from the beginning through to the end of December. There are wonderful events for all ages.

Speaking of special festivities for young and old, everyone is getting excited about the Winter Carnival, returning to the Cayman Islands after many years. Those of us old enough to remember will recall the Ferris Wheels and Gravitrons of this world, combined with an insane amount of decadent snacks and games that looked so easy (and so weren’t). It was a teenager’s dream. Learn all about the carnival and how you can get your tickets in this feature.

Yes, this is a wonderful time of year …the most wonderful time of the year, as the song goes. To keep it merry and magical, remember to be sensible on the roads. If you’re hitting the parties, arrange a designated driver or take a taxi.

We wish you safe and happy holidays.