Christmas Lyrics and Laughs from the Caribbean

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

Photo by puroticorico (flickr)
Photo by puroticorico (flickr) | Source

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.

(1) There's No Place Like Home for the Holidays

Photo by Petr Kratochvil
Photo by Petr Kratochvil | Source

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 Original Version
Sparrow'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.
*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.

(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).

The Merrymen of Barbados

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

Photo by Ross Anania
Photo by Ross Anania | Source

(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?

(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

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 Isaac Weithers

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Comments 56 comments

Jodah profile image

Jodah 12 months ago from Queensland Australia

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.


PAINTDRIPS profile image

PAINTDRIPS 12 months ago from Fresno CA

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!


Reynold Jay profile image

Reynold Jay 12 months ago from Saginaw, Michigan

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


MsDora profile image

MsDora 12 months ago from The Caribbean Author

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.


MsDora profile image

MsDora 12 months ago from The Caribbean Author

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


MsDora profile image

MsDora 12 months ago from The Caribbean Author

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


billybuc profile image

billybuc 12 months ago from Olympia, WA

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


MsDora profile image

MsDora 12 months ago from The Caribbean Author

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


word55 profile image

word55 12 months ago from Chicago

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


MsDora profile image

MsDora 12 months ago from The Caribbean Author

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


Jackie Lynnley profile image

Jackie Lynnley 12 months ago from The Beautiful South

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!


Ericdierker profile image

Ericdierker 12 months ago from Spring Valley, CA. U.S.A.

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.


lifegate profile image

lifegate 12 months ago from Pleasant Gap, PA

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


manatita44 profile image

manatita44 12 months ago from london

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!


MsDora profile image

MsDora 12 months ago from The Caribbean Author

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.


MsDora profile image

MsDora 12 months ago from The Caribbean Author

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


MsDora profile image

MsDora 12 months ago from The Caribbean Author

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


MsDora profile image

MsDora 12 months ago from The Caribbean Author

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.


Telca Wallace 12 months ago

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!


MsDora profile image

MsDora 12 months ago from The Caribbean Author

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


Nell Rose profile image

Nell Rose 12 months ago from England

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!


MsDora profile image

MsDora 12 months ago from The Caribbean Author

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


denise.w.anderson profile image

denise.w.anderson 12 months ago from Bismarck, North Dakota

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.


MsDora profile image

MsDora 12 months ago from The Caribbean Author

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


whonunuwho profile image

whonunuwho 12 months ago from United States

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


AliciaC profile image

AliciaC 12 months ago from British Columbia, Canada

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.


Venkatachari M profile image

Venkatachari M 12 months ago from Hyderabad, India

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.


swalia profile image

swalia 12 months ago

A delightful read celebrating the festive spirit!


MsDora profile image

MsDora 12 months ago from The Caribbean Author

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


MsDora profile image

MsDora 12 months ago from The Caribbean Author

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

Christmas to you, too.


MsDora profile image

MsDora 12 months ago from The Caribbean Author

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.


MsDora profile image

MsDora 12 months ago from The Caribbean Author

Thanks Swalia. Glad you enjoy the Christmas merriment.


DDE profile image

DDE 12 months ago from Dubrovnik, Croatia

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


MsDora profile image

MsDora 12 months ago from The Caribbean Author

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


Michael-Milec profile image

Michael-Milec 12 months ago

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!"


truthfornow profile image

truthfornow 12 months ago from New Orleans, LA

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


MsDora profile image

MsDora 12 months ago from The Caribbean Author

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.


MsDora profile image

MsDora 12 months ago from The Caribbean Author

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.


bravewarrior profile image

bravewarrior 12 months ago from Central Florida

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!


MsDora profile image

MsDora 12 months ago from The Caribbean Author

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!


Frank Atanacio profile image

Frank Atanacio 12 months ago from Shelton

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 :)


MsDora profile image

MsDora 12 months ago from The Caribbean Author

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


Vellur profile image

Vellur 12 months ago from Dubai

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


MsDora profile image

MsDora 12 months ago from The Caribbean Author

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!


aviannovice profile image

aviannovice 12 months ago from Stillwater, OK

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


MsDora profile image

MsDora 12 months ago from The Caribbean Author

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


tobusiness profile image

tobusiness 12 months ago from Bedfordshire, U.K

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.


MsDora profile image

MsDora 12 months ago from The Caribbean Author

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.


Robert Sacchi profile image

Robert Sacchi 11 months ago

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


MsDora profile image

MsDora 11 months ago from The Caribbean Author

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


FlourishAnyway profile image

FlourishAnyway 11 months ago from USA

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!


MsDora profile image

MsDora 11 months ago from The Caribbean Author

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.


listsnthings profile image

listsnthings 11 months ago from London, United Kingdom

Nice hub thanks


MsDora profile image

MsDora 11 months ago from The Caribbean Author

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


Greensleeves Hubs profile image

Greensleeves Hubs 5 months ago from Essex, UK

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 :)


MsDora profile image

MsDora 5 months ago from The Caribbean Author

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.

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    Dora Isaac Weithers (MsDora)946 Followers
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    For MsDora --teacher,counselor, mother and grandmother-- holidays and family make the perfect blend for good times and pleasant memories.



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