Even though 98% of my holiday shopping is done and I leave for home in two days, I wasn’t feeling particularly Christmassy. Until today.

My iAudio (a gift my husband got me last year. I highly recommend it for any of you who are looking for a digital audio device) was on shuffle, and it played my favorite holiday jam of all time, Christmas in Hollis by Run-DMC!

The video always makes me smile, and the song totally takes me back to being a kid. I hope it does the same for you!
It’s Christmas time in Hollis, Queens

Moms cookin’ chicken and collard greens

Rice and stuffing, macaroni and cheese

And Santa puttin’ gifts under Christmas trees…

Wherever you go, it’s the same thing. Food and family. But I’m sure my holiday traditions are way different from yours.

For Christmas in Trinidad we eat pastelles, ham, macaroni pie and callaloo. We drink sorrel and ginger beer.

I can’t wait for the first taste of my sister Petal’s infamous and deadly ponche de creme! Imagine a drink that combines the richness of eggnog with the potency of Bailey’s, with the slightest hint of citrus to cut the cloying sweetness of condensed milk. Mmmmmm.

I found some amazing Trini recipes on Trini Gourmet, and Can Cook, Must Cook, for you exotic recipe experimenters!

The second song that my iAudio played was Trini to de Bone by David Rudder and Carl Jacobs. David Rudder is like Trinidad’s equivalent to Bob Marley – a diverse and talented musician with powerful lyrics, who always pushes the genre forward. If you’re interested in hearing more of him, check out the video for one of his biggest hits, High Mas, which is basically a prayer for Trinidad delivered in the height of Carnival debauchery. Beautiful, powerful stuff. Carl Jacobs is a calypsonian and pop singer who migrated to Miami and plays before huge crowds every week at Monty’s in Coconut Grove. (He also played the music at our wedding, and was incredible!)

Those songs hit me like a one-two punch to the heart. Finally, I’m ready. All of this music and talk about food has me ready for Christmas day. I’m just so excited to see my family, to play with my niece Dominique (the littlest afrobella in our clan, she’s one and a half and a bundle of joy), to see how much things have changed and not changed at home. Just to get there and be able to say “Ah home!”

What about you, my fellow bellas? What part of the season are you most excited about? And what are your holiday traditions?

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The TriniGourmet says:
December 21, 2006, 1:16 am
So happy to make your acquaintance Afrobella! :D So glad you like my site, I'll definitely be back to yours :)
Traci says:
December 21, 2006, 3:58 am
I wish I could come with you, Afrobella. I haven't had sorrel in over ten years. Best wishes to you this holiday season!
toni lawrence says:
December 21, 2006, 10:36 am
my personal tradition is to give to folks outside my family who are less fortunate. i think i get a bigger kick out of it than they do. i just surprised a volunteer worker at my job with a fifty dollar bill,
toni lawrence says:
December 21, 2006, 10:41 am
i love giving to those less fortunate outside my family. that blows me away. as far as family tradition i love trimming the tree,the lights blow me away.
Staceyann Lindo says:
December 21, 2006, 12:01 pm
Gurl I love sorrel my mom makes it every year for the holidays she puts a little rum in it to kind of spice it up a bit.
Chellz says:
December 21, 2006, 12:47 pm
Girl I pulled out some of my mom's old parang tapes to put me in the holiday spirit today!!
Staceyann Lindo says:
December 21, 2006, 1:41 pm
I have a question about skincare, the weather has been so cold and dry that I now have dry spots on my face, I use a mild scrub every day is there something I could use to stop the dry spots!!
Niki says:
December 21, 2006, 4:39 pm
I like when we all get together and pull out the old photo albums and home movies. The young kids get a kick out of seeing all the "old folks" as kids, clownin' and lookin' goofy. The food is always off the chain (my mother's 5-Flavor cake, similar to a 7-up cake, but not really.. is to DIE for, I end up eating pieces of it for breakfast LOL)and the chance to just pause and gather everyone that you love close and thanking God for another year of blessings.
RoxieCarmichel says:
December 24, 2006, 1:44 am
I must say I love your blog. It so funny to come across another person online who knows about sorrel, ginger beer and callaloo. I just finished helping my mom bottle the ginger beer and sorrel. And she'll be making callaloo on Monday! Enjoy our holidays!
petal says:
December 26, 2006, 2:07 am
Yes rum should be used in sorrel..needless to say that afrobella & the rest of our family glug it down mighty quickly *grin* & my ponche de creme isn't infamous *grin*....just seriously wicked!afrobella needs to let you all know what we ate for christmas day lunch (served at 5pm!)...
westindiangal says:
December 26, 2006, 10:45 am
Ahh, I miss sorrel, ginger beer, and crab & Callaloo. Note to self: I must go to Grenada soon. Have a great time in Trinidad! I love your blog.
samantha says:
January 5, 2007, 6:39 am
Girl In My Country We Eat Kalalou Too(I'm From Martinique)It's So Good!! In Christmas We Eat Also Christmas Ham(Very Spicy),Angola Peas,Acras,Punch Coco & Shrob(liquors)...
Aziza says:
January 6, 2007, 3:01 pm
Hahaha! On Christams morning we always have ham and homemade bread (Drools...my favorite part of Christmas is the food. Who needs gifts?) And I love macaroni pie...whenever I mention it to someone who's not Trinidadian they give me a strange look. And then I explain that it's basically baked macaroni and cheese lol. Of course whe had callalo and crab...it was really good! The pepper didn't burst in it or anything. I like spice but not THAT much spice. I don't like ginger beer or anything ginger flavored for that fact. Thanks for the links to the recipes...I can't cook anything traditional *sigh*.


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