While images of cerulean blue Caribbean waters and palm tree-lined beaches may not spring to mind when you think of Christmas, St. Croix is a wondrous place to spend the holidays. Starting the day after Thanksgiving, the holiday season is packed with events island wide where you can indulge in scrumptious local holiday foods and drinks, shop for locally made gifts, give to the St. Croix community, and celebrate Crucian Carnival. If you are planning a trip to St. Croix around the holidays, or even if you live here, take advantage of the many opportunities the island offers to get into the holiday spirit.
Christmas Jump Up has become the unofficial kick-off of the holiday events on St. Croix. While Jump Ups are held four times per year in Christiansted, Christmas Jump Up is the most anticipated of them all. This huge town-wide party includes live music, entertainment, shopping, local food vendors, and much more. Christmas Jump Up is also a great opportunity to see the island’s iconic mocko jumbies and fire dancers perform, and local businesses stay open late so you can enjoy an evening of great dining and start your Christmas shopping too.
Starving Artist Day at Estate Whim offers the chance to shop the wares of local artists, photographers, jewelers, designers, craftspeople, and more. Find unique gifts that were handmade right here on St. Croix while enjoying aspects of Crucian culture like live music, dancing, and food in the historic setting of the Estate Whim Museum grounds.
Christmas Spoken Here is one of the great holiday traditions of St. Croix. As you meander around the grounds of the St. George Village Botanical Garden your senses will be delighted by the sounds of choirs singing, the delicious smell of barbecue, the taste of locally made coquito, and the sight of the spectacularly decorated Christmas trees in the Great Hall.
The St. Croix Christmas Boat Parade is a must-see for the holidays. Family-friendly events and entertainment start at noon on the Christiansted Boardwalk, but the main event happens when the boats parade through Christiansted Harbor decked in their holiday finest. Participating boats choose a theme and are decorated with thousands of lights, inflatables, and handmade decorations, some boats even have their own entertainment, DJ or musician on board! While prizes are awarded to the best boats in the show, the spectators are the real winners of this event. The parade is then followed by a spectacular fireworks display.
Gallows Bay Holiday Festival is an annual community event where you can take advantage of extended shopping hours at the stores in Gallows Bay while enjoying Christmas music, holiday treats, and live quadrille performances by the We Deh Yah Cultural Dancers. At this family-friendly event, children can also get their picture taken with Santa at Undercover Books & Gifts.
Holiday Fest in Frederiksted joins community and culture for a fun, family event. Sponsored by the VI Port Authority and the Frederiksted Economic Development Association, Holiday Fest includes live music, cultural dancers, steel pan orchestra performances, mocko jumbies, local majorettes, and arts and crafts vendors. This is kid friendly event which also features a Christmas tree lighting, visits with Santa Claus, and face painting for the kids.
Galas, benefits and fundraisers, oh my! With Christmas being a time for giving, there are also a number of wonderful charities and organizations here on St. Croix that host galas, benefits, and fundraisers in December. Holiday Hope is a benefit hosted by the St. Croix Hotel & Tourism Association and the St. Croix Chamber of Commerce to raise funds for the Boys & Girls Club of the Virgin Islands, CASA of the Virgin Islands, and the Richard Patrick Henry Scholarship Foundation. Holiday Hope features both a live and a silent auction, as well as complimentary hors d’oeuvers and live entertainment. The elegant Gala in the Garden is held at St. George Village Botanical Garden to benefit the Garden’s education programs. Gala in the Garden includes a delicious holiday meal and a live auction. If you prefer something more casual, there is a Holiday Cookie Sale each year at the December Art Thursday to raise money for the St. Croix Animal Welfare Center. You can donate by shopping the bake sale, providing three dozen cookies to be sold at the event, or you can volunteer your time to decorate, box cookies, or help out at the cookie sale.
Crucian Christmas Festival (Carnival) events happen island wide all through December and into January, culminating with the Children and Adult Parades held the Friday and Saturday following Three Kings Day respectively. Carnival kicks-off with the opening of the main Festival Village in Frederiksted, and is followed by a series of cultural nights, soca competitions, pageantry, fairs, j’ouvert and more! The highlights of Carnival each year are the colorful Children and Adult Parades. As you stand along the parade route you are treated to the sight of troupes clad in vibrantly colored costumes dancing through the streets, along with themed parade floats, mocko jumbies, fire dancers and more. You will hear the sounds and feel the rhythms of steel pan orchestras, DJs and live musicians, and before you know it you will be dancing along.
Here on St. Croix, Christmas time provides the best of everything you could ask for this time of year. Not only do you get to enjoy warm weather and Caribbean beaches instead of snow, but you also get to see the island’s community come together and truly celebrate the Christmas season. Crucian Christmas time reminds us to: appreciate the time we have with family and friends; give what we can to local charities and organizations; support local businesses and artisans; and, get out and enjoy the island paradise we call home. From all of us here at GoToStCroix.com, we wish you and your loved ones a safe and happy holiday season!
– Jennie Ogden, Editor