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Christmas Lyrics and Laughs From the Caribbean

MsDora grew up, received early education and taught school in the Caribbean. Read her love and pride of the region—people and place.

Like all good Christians, Caribbean people worship God in Christmas services and celebrate Jesus as the joyful reason for the season. They also engage in secular festivities in keeping with their cheerful, ready-to-laugh temperament.

Photo by puroticorico (flickr)

Photo by puroticorico (flickr)

They have their share of problems, but even as they struggle up the ladder of economic progress and deal with all their personal issues, they find reasons to laugh heartily—not forgetting to laugh at themselves. They manage to carry this easy-going disposition through the Christmas holidays. The American singer, Jimmy Buffet, adds his two cents cent on their behalf in Christmas in the Caribbean:

We don't live in a hurry
Send away for mistletoe
Christmas in the Caribbean
We got everything but snow

The following excerpts from lyrics by Caribbean singer/song writers are from the secular part of their celebration. The common theme is contentment, and pride in what is distinctly Caribbean. The complete songs are all available on YouTube.

Photo by Petr Kratochvil

Photo by Petr Kratochvil

1. There's No Place Like Home for the Holidays

Everybody sings There’s No Place Like Home for the Holidays written by Al Stillman (lyrics) and Robert Allen (music). Although Christmas is not mentioned in the lyrics, the song is listed among the greatest Christmas songs; and in the media, its visual settings display snow and Christmas lights around the house.

So would Caribbean folks want to sing this song? The Mighty Sparrow (born Slinger Francisco), the Trinidadian Calypso King of the World fixed it so that they would. Thanks to Sparrow, the Caribbean people sing their own version.

*The locations in Sparrow's version are all on the island of Trinidad. The last line suggests the picnic-friendly weather which Caribbean islanders enjoy even at Christmastime.

The Original VersionSparrow's (Caribbean) Version

I met a man who lives in Tennessee;

I met a man who lives in Port of Spain;*

He was headin for, Pennsylvania,

He was headin for, San Fernando,

And some homemade pumpkin pie.

And some homemade pumpkin pie.

From Pennsylvania, folks are travelin down to Dixies sunny shore

From San Fernando, folks are travelin up to Maracas Bay for sure

From Atlantic to Pacific, gee, the traffic is terrific.

To a lovely moonlight picnic, man, the traffic is terrific.

2. Why Didn't Santa Come for Christmas?

The Sugar Mill Kids** from the Federation of St. Kitts and Nevis sing the dilemma of many island children who long for toys but receive none, or not as many as they would like. Their parents may give them the excuse that Santa did not come. The disappointment does not last very long, for they soon begin to laugh at their plight -- and at Santa.

Why didn’t Santa come for Christmas?
Why didn’t he ever pass our way?
The richest girls and boys
They get lots of toys;
We the poorest ones ain’t getting none.
. . . . . .
Maybe he’s [Santa's] just feeling sick or in the hospital,
For he’s so fat he must be ill from high cholesterol.

*Their names are not mentioned.

3. Santa Looking for a Wife

Apparently, Mrs. Claus has never made it to the Caribbean, so Bindley Benjamin of Trinidad and Tobago is rooting for Santa to find a wife who can help him with his universal task. Where would he find a suitable wife? Here is the singer's suggestion.

So much work to do, ah sorry for Santa,
He gettin down in age, and he want a helper,
So he lookin for a wife, de ideal companion,
And he know the best woman [is] from de Caribbean.

Santa pass through Jamaica; he pass through Antigua
He pass through St. Lucia, then he went to Grenada,
In Trinidad and Tobago, Santa confuse for so
So much ah nice woman throughout de Caribbean.

Refrain: Santa looking for a wife (from the Caribbean).

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4. How'd You Like to Spend Christmas on a Caribbean Island?

Without the cold of winter, there is no meed for the fireplace mantle and the chimney. So where would Caribbean people hang their stockings? And where would Santa enter?

The Merrymen of Barbados is a musical group which started in 1962 and continues to the present with great popularity in Barbados, the United Kingdom and Canada. They figured out the chimney substitute in their Caribbean imagination.

How'd you like to spend Christmas on a Caribbean island?
How'd you like to spend a holiday across the sea?
How'd you like to spend Christmas on a Caribbean island?
How'd you like to hang your stocking on a great, big coconut tree?

How'd you like to stay out late like the islanders do?
Or wait for Santa to sail in with your presents in a canoe?

Photo by Ross Anania

Photo by Ross Anania

The Merrymen of Barbados

  • Emile Straker (Vocals)
  • Chris Gibbs (Bass)
  • Robin Hunte (Tenor Guitar/Banjo)
  • Willie Kerr (Synth Guitar)
  • Peter Roett (Drums/percussion)

5. Black Cake Lover

Caribbean Christmas dinners are not complete without black cake on the menu. Amanda Marstellar on Honest Cooking describes it as "a richly-hued improvement on standard fruitcake, sticky with rum-soaked fruit and scented with island spices." She shares the recipe and some interesting details about the popular Caribbean dessert.

Sugar Aloes (born Michael Anthony Osuana) also a prominent calypsonian from Trinidad and Tobago, sings about his desire for black cake and the drinks that are usually served with it at Christmas. His lyrics state that black cake with a glass of sorrel on Christmas morning makes Christmas delightful and bright.

Ah doan like sponge cake at Christmas,
Ah find it does be too dry . . .
But it’s not so with a black cake; it melts away in you mout
And give you dat Yuletide feelin; you know what I’m talking bout.
It’s de black cake ah love; it’s de fruit cake ah want;
It’s de black cake ah love wid punch a creamer;
It’s de fruit cake a want wid sorrel or ginger beer.

6. Christmas Jamaican Style

Jamaicans, probably the most popular group of Caribbean people, consider themselves the representatives for the region, and in these lyrics they earn the title. Most Caribbeans would nod their approval for the sentiments expressed by their Unique Vision Band. Names of the individuals are not available, but the men can be seen on the accompanying video. Here, they also represent the region in sound.

Enjoy the Unique Vision Band (Part of the lyrics below)

They tell me snow is pretty, well maybe;
What I know for sure--it's mighty cold.
I would never never never be caught
Playing a cricket match on ice;
In or out of form, I would be bowled.

In the West Indies every Christmas is
A time for all to smile;
There's no winter time,
There's just sweet sunshine
At Christmas Jamaican style.

Their invitation to "Come on over" is not only Jamaican; it is Caribbean. If you ever pack your bags and fly to a Caribbean Christmas, you will find that the lyrics are true.

© 2015 Dora Weithers


Dora Weithers (author) from The Caribbean on December 30, 2019:

Thanks, Denise. Happy that you find our Caribbean perspective on Christmas interesting. We do not have snow. We must find other things to enjoy. Our generic lyrics make us happy.

Denise McGill from Fresno CA on December 30, 2019:

What interesting lyric changes to these songs. I've never heard them before but it was quite interesting to read.



Dora Weithers (author) from The Caribbean on December 05, 2018:

Merry Christmas, Dear Reader. So sorry that I cannot help with finding that song. I tried. Still hoping that you locate it.

Dora Weithers (author) from The Caribbean on June 22, 2016:

Alun, sorry you can't remember your Trinidadian year, but you can make up for it by spending a year now or in the future. Caribbean people do keep healthy by laughing at themselves--at Christmas time especially.

Greensleeves Hubs from Essex, UK on June 22, 2016:

Dora, I couldn't help but smile when reading some of the lyrics here, and when listening to 'Why didn't Santa come for Chriistmas?'

I love the humour in all the lyrics ...

(Eg: 'I would never never never be caught playing a cricket match on ice ')

Without wishing to sound patronising, there's something gently charming about Caribbean humour and the way it seems West Indians are happy to poke fun at themselves. It goes with the laid-back Caribbean lifestyle.

Nice to see the reference to San Fernando. I've probably mentioned before that I lived in San Fernando, Trinidad for the first year of my life. Even though I cannot remember this, articles like yours which reflect the attitude or lifestyle of the West Indies, make me want to return :)

Dora Weithers (author) from The Caribbean on December 23, 2015:

Toya, there are many Caribbean people in London. Hope there are some in your area and you can hear their Chritmas lyrics. Merry Christmas.

Anna Christie from London, United Kingdom on December 22, 2015:

Nice hub thanks

Dora Weithers (author) from The Caribbean on December 21, 2015:

Merry Christmas to you too, Flourish. The Caribbean black cake is an entirely different product from the American fruit cake. The texture is puddingy and moist; no hard pieces of fruit, since the fruit is soaked for weeks/months and dissolved. It's a must-have at Christmas and other celebratory events.

FlourishAnyway from USA on December 21, 2015:

I enjoyed learning a bit about Christmas in your part of the world. Never heard about black cake. (I have never met anyone who truly enjoys fruit cake so I bet there would be some interest here as well.) Merry Christmas!

Dora Weithers (author) from The Caribbean on December 20, 2015:

Robert, I appreciate comment. Glad you found the article useful. Merry Christmas!

Robert Sacchi on December 20, 2015:

Thank you. I enjoyed reading your Hub and listening to the videos. I have an interest in regional Christmas songs.

Dora Weithers (author) from The Caribbean on December 13, 2015:

Jo, you can never forget the Caribbean Christmas. Glad to remind you! Good luck with the black cake and a very Merry Christmas to you and family.

Jo Alexis-Hagues from Lincolnshire, U.K on December 13, 2015:

MsDora, you've left me feeling quite nostalgic. A roaring bonfire on the beach, bare feet in the sand, after a few glasses of the local rum punch the sand may as well be snow. A Caribbean Christmas is different, but very special in its own way. Have a very happy Caribbean Christmas. I'm now going to look for a scrumptious black cake recipe.

Dora Weithers (author) from The Caribbean on December 13, 2015:

Deb, there'll be new species of birds and you will enjoy the islands. Merry Christmas!

Deb Hirt from Stillwater, OK on December 13, 2015:

I could only imagine me and the birds in your part of the world. I just might never go back to the mainlands.

Dora Weithers (author) from The Caribbean on December 12, 2015:

Thanks Vellur, meeting you is a pleasure. Yes, Caribbean singer/song-writers have no shortage of the skills of the trade. Thanks for your comment and Happy Christmas again!

Nithya Venkat from Dubai on December 12, 2015:

Enjoyed the read, the lyrics showcase the creativity of the singers. Taking this opportunity to wish you a Merry Christmas!

Dora Weithers (author) from The Caribbean on December 09, 2015:

Frank, you would enjoy the black cake. Merry Christmas to you and family.

Frank Atanacio from Shelton on December 09, 2015:

MsDora.. what a nice push for a fresh perspective on Christmas.. love the ideas and would love to try the black cake one day.. bless you and happy Christmas :)

Dora Weithers (author) from The Caribbean on December 09, 2015:

Thanks, Shauna. You know that Florida is the nearer than other states to the Caribbean. You're getting close or as they say "You're getting warm." Merry Christmas to you and yours!

Shauna L Bowling from Central Florida on December 09, 2015:

What fun, Dora! I remember my first Christmas in Florida. I thought it so odd to be celebrating in shorts and warm weather. Now, I'm used to it. Christmas is all about the spirit, not snow. After all, there was no snow in Jerusalem when Christ was born, was there?

I really enjoyed a peek at Christmas Caribbean style. Love the music!

Dora Weithers (author) from The Caribbean on December 09, 2015:

Marie, happy Christmas to you. Yes, this is a fun time of year in the Caribbean. Wish you could experience it some time. Thanks for the comment.

Dora Weithers (author) from The Caribbean on December 09, 2015:

Michael, thanks for stressing the possibility of Christmas all year round. Christ is relevant any time of year. Great joy to you and yours during the season and for all times.

Marie Hurt from New Orleans, LA on December 08, 2015:

Sounds like it would be so much fun to spend Christmas in the Caribbean. Happy Holidays to you!

Michael-Milec on December 08, 2015:

No more constraints for 'christmas' celebration absolutely, decidedly any time. Thanks for letting us know the Caribbean's unique tradition. It is wonderful when the people find ''...great joy"... - as the angel has announced the Birth of Christ the Lord -" ...that will be for all the people...'' Once we have Christ in our heart, christmas celebration lasts a year around.

"Glory to God in the highest heaven, and on earth peace to those who have his good will!"

Dora Weithers (author) from The Caribbean on December 08, 2015:

Devika, thanks for weighing in. Merry Christmas to you and yours!

Devika Primić from Dubrovnik, Croatia on December 08, 2015:

''There is no place better than home for the holidays.'' A beautiful hub and so interesting for this season.

Dora Weithers (author) from The Caribbean on December 08, 2015:

Thanks Swalia. Glad you enjoy the Christmas merriment.

Dora Weithers (author) from The Caribbean on December 08, 2015:

Venkatachari, you're right about Caribbeans playing cricket. They play against India all the time--but not at Christmas, I think. Thanks for your encouraging comment.

Dora Weithers (author) from The Caribbean on December 08, 2015:

Alicia, you may want to click the link to the black cake recipe. Happy

Christmas to you, too.

Dora Weithers (author) from The Caribbean on December 08, 2015:

Whonu, I appreciate your very positive comment. Merry Christmas to you and yours!

Shaloo Walia from India on December 07, 2015:

A delightful read celebrating the festive spirit!

Venkatachari M from Hyderabad, India on December 07, 2015:

Very much entertaining and cheerful Christmas songs. And I love the Caribbean's playing cricket. They have always been superb at it.

Thanks for sharing this cheerful hub. Merry Christmas to you.

Linda Crampton from British Columbia, Canada on December 07, 2015:

This is such a cheerful and fun hub, MsDora. I love the sound of black cake! Thank you for sharing all the song lyrics. I hope you have a very happy Christmas.

whonunuwho from United States on December 07, 2015:

Uplifting MsDora and your message of the Christmas spirit is well received. Thank you for sharing the Caribbean's style of a delightful celebration. whonu

Dora Weithers (author) from The Caribbean on December 07, 2015:

True, Denise. We tend to think that everybody does what we do. Thanks for your comment and a Happy Christmas to you and family.

Denise W Anderson from Bismarck, North Dakota on December 07, 2015:

What fun to learn about Christmas in the Caribbean! We don't realize the cultural nuances in our celebratory songs until we hear it from another point of view.

Dora Weithers (author) from The Caribbean on December 07, 2015:

Thanks, Nell. A really happy Christmas also to you and yours, and a prosperous New Year!

Nell Rose from England on December 07, 2015:

Oh how I wish I could come across and stay there for Christmas! how lovely! what a lovely hub MsDora! I hope you have a wonderful Christmas!

Dora Weithers (author) from The Caribbean on December 07, 2015:

Thanks for the feed back, Telca. Great news about the cakes and puddings. Christmas is not Caribbean Christmas without them.

Telca Wallace on December 07, 2015:

Ms. Dora this Christmas Hub is awesome! Sparrow is my favorite

Please tell everyone that Reign of Elegance "Celebrating Moms" will be making the special Caribbean Cakes & Sweet Potato Puddings. A treat that you cannot afford to miss!

we will send you the poster later today!

Dora Weithers (author) from The Caribbean on December 07, 2015:

Manatita, I bet you like the Mighty Sparrow too. Thanks for your very kind comment. I didn't want readers to feel that the Caribbean Christmas is all about carnival and calypsos; I felt the need to let them know that we have Christmas worship services as well.

Dora Weithers (author) from The Caribbean on December 07, 2015:

Bill, glad you like the Caribbean Christmas. Merry Christmas to you and yours!

Dora Weithers (author) from The Caribbean on December 07, 2015:

Thanks, Eric. Great tidings of joy and cheer to you and your household. Merry Christmas!

Dora Weithers (author) from The Caribbean on December 07, 2015:

You're welcome, Jackie. I don't miss the snow either, but I wish for lower temperatures. However, in the spirit of the season, I'm grateful and cheerful. Happy Christmas to you, too.

manatita44 from london on December 07, 2015:

Nice Hub, capturing the spirit with songs, and the sweet information that we Caribbeans worship God at Christmas. So essential! That said, your videos and pictures are are 'cool.'

I see you like the Mighty Sparrow. Excellent Hub!

William Kovacic from Pleasant Gap, PA on December 07, 2015:

Thanks for a Christmas tour of the Islands. It was very entertaining and educational. Enjoyed it much!

Eric Dierker from Spring Valley, CA. U.S.A. on December 07, 2015:

Well this hub is refreshing and fun. I can just feel the warmth of holiday cheer. It is always good to remember this is a time of good cheer and celebration and the big let go.

Jackie Lynnley from the beautiful south on December 06, 2015:

A Caribbean Christmas does sound fun and I am sure I would not miss the snow at all. Not that we always get some and then not much if so but sun and fun sound better! Thanks for the little visit and may you have a very Merry Christmas!

Dora Weithers (author) from The Caribbean on December 06, 2015:

Thanks Word. Over there, over here, we're all about cheer. Glad we reached you.

Al Wordlaw from Chicago on December 06, 2015:

Very nice holiday hub Dora, the lyrics and music were very enjoyable and spreading good cheer even all the way over here!

Dora Weithers (author) from The Caribbean on December 06, 2015:

Don't be biased, Bill. Christmas on any island would be fun (smile). Thanks for your feedback.

Bill Holland from Olympia, WA on December 06, 2015:

As the rains fall I can tell you without hesitation that Christmas in Jamaica sounds very lovely right about now. :)

Dora Weithers (author) from The Caribbean on December 06, 2015:

Reynold, you would love the cake too, with sorrel or ginger beer. Thanks for your feedback.

Dora Weithers (author) from The Caribbean on December 06, 2015:

Denise, it's that time. Go right and start your decorating. We're doing the same thing here.

Dora Weithers (author) from The Caribbean on December 06, 2015:

Thanks, Jodah. You would enjoy Christmas in the Caribbean, I promise. Seems we have many things here that you like. Happy Christmas also, to you and your household.

Reynold Jay from Saginaw, Michigan on December 06, 2015:

Lot of fascinating ways to look at Christmas in your part of the world. I'll have a slice of black cake please.!!!

Denise McGill from Fresno CA on December 06, 2015:

I never heard these songs before. Very clever. Thanks for sharing. You are putting me in the mood to get out my music and lights and decorate!

John Hansen from Gondwana Land on December 06, 2015:

A delightful Christmas hub MsDora. I can feel the cheerful welcoming atmothsphere of the Caribbean in your writing and the lyrics of the songs. I would love to visit one day and I am sure I would feel right at home at Christmas time as I can relate to the snow man on the beach. We'd build a sandman here. Jimmy Buffet is one of my favourite singers..his laid back and fun loving lyrics. Of course I always loved reggae music too and the great Bob Marley. Thank you for sharing these new Christmas songs that I was not familiar with. Well done. Wishing you a great Caribbean Christmas.

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