Saturday, December 04, 2010

Ho Ho Who

Well I can't believe it is Christmas time again. Being back in America, I noticed the stores started celebrating Christmas as early as September.  It seemed so odd to me, to see Christmas goodies on the shelves long before the holidays.

When I lived on tiny islands in the Caribbean, the stores typically only restocked their place once a year and that was at Christmas.They often didn't get their merchandise on the shelves,  until at least early December.

The food stores, of course stocked more often, at the whim of deliveries by ocean freighter. If you ask a Caribbean grocery  store for a certain item you cannot find, they tell you "finished" meaning they are out of stock. If you ask when it will be back in stock, they say "When the boat come next."

On Tortola,in the British Virgin Islands,  I watched with comedy, the candy problem for many holidays. The purchasers for the stores, were notoriously late for everything, as life is slow on a small island.Besides that, there could be shipping delays, customs delays, plus problems with the hired help getting things stocked on the shelves in a timely manner.

So my first Christmas in the islands, I couldn't find Christmas candy anywhere. Instead I had to settle for orange candied pumpkins.  When Valentines rolled around, instead of buying chocolate hearts, we had chocolate Santa's in the stores and Hershey Kisses gaily wrapped in red and green.

Easter would come, and we could find candy hearts packed on the shelves with red heart shaped candy boxes.

Then when Mother's Day arrived, we could shop for candy Easter Eggs and Bunnies. While some islands are much better at stocking things more appropriately now, I remember several Christmas's in the islands when the food stores literally emptied out. You wold go in a few days before Christmas and be lucky if you can find a sad potato and perhaps a mushy onion rolling around the produce department. Meat would be eclectic, a chicken leg here, a beef tongue there and not much in-between.  

Here I am back in America, where the food stores seem perpetually overflowing, the holiday candy arrives months in advance and the clerks don't tell you "It's finished, til da boat come next."


Ho ho ho!
Santa Claus in the Caribbean, sunning his jolly old self before Christmas.





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