I grew up watching TV shows where during Christmas there were all of these nice Christmas work parties to go to as an end of the year celebration. I thought that once my PhD program ended, then I would enter a world where I would celebrate with my colleagues at a work party and then tag a long with friends to their work parties. But then reality hit me hard…I graduated and moved to a new city where none of my friends lived and I never really made new ones who didn’t already have families established meaning little time for a single nomad like me. To make matters worse, the office Christmas party consisted of a meal in the “conference center” on campus with a few door prizes. But oh how life has changed in a blink of an eye and now I get to experience that TV life that I longed for, for so many years.
I talked about the kickoff of Christmas on St. Croix but of course I have to rep the home team and tell you a little about Christmas on St. Thomas.
For starters there are Christmas parties everywhere and people seem to be pretty friendly when you crash them. Ok ok I’ll confess, technically I didn’t “crash” anything since I tagged along, and was kinda kidnapped in one instance (yeah she popped up and said “Get dressed, I’m waiting in the car!”), with one of my neighbors. It’s nice to live near someone who understands that I’m a transplant and is willing to make sure I know about events and takes me with her.
I guess the Christmas celebrations start with the lighting of the Christmas tree, and accompanying parties, in the mall and other areas across the island. I didn’t quite make appearances at those events, but the highlight is “Miracle on Main Street and Boat Parade” the Friday before Christmas. It’s similar to the event on St. Croix but bigger since it also includes all of the stores in town staying open really late and having great sales. There’s tons of shopping, food, and the decorated boats on the Waterfront. If you plan to visit around this time of the year, definitely make plans to be here for Miracle on Main. And again, there are parties all over the place so I’ve gotten a chance to play dress up and pull out the heels and fancy clothes! The parties usually contain 3-course dinner buffets with either OPEN or cash bars and a bunch of friendly island folks having a great time.
My work Christmas party was quite a surprise and joy to me! It really made me feel like the institution cares about its employees because they went all out for us. Instead of decorating tables and chairs on campus with the cafeteria catering dinner, they actually reserved the ballroom at one of the hotel resorts and decorated it with the theme for the party. People came dressed up and ready to have a great time. It was nice to see everyone away from work and celebrate outside of the typical work environment. I finally got the work party of my dreams and now I can’t wait to dream bigger…