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Christmas decoration © Jorge Franganillo/Flickr
Christmas decoration © Jorge Franganillo/Flickr

A Guide to Celebrating Christmas in the Bahamas

Picture of Sheri-kae McLeod
Freelance Caribbean Writer
Updated: 3 December 2017

Christmas time in the Bahamas is as festive as any other time during the year. All the inhabited islands in the archipelago are fully decorated during the winter and abuzz with various holiday activities for the entire family. With food and shopping being a huge part of the Bahamian experience, there are also guides of what to eat and where to shop in December. Here is our guide to celebrating Christmas in the Bahamas.

Where to shop

The Port Lucaya Marketplace in Grand Bahama is the biggest shopping complex in the Bahamas and is a shopper’s paradise during Christmas. The property is decorated with various Christmas lights and ornaments as well as a huge Christmas tree at the centre of the market. The 40 shops and boutiques in the marketplace sell a variety of items and often have Christmas sales and specials throughout the month of December. On Christmas Eve, the marketplace is especially crowded with locals and tourists bustling for the best deals.

Many other markets in the Bahamas are also busy during the Christmas season such as the Nassau Straw Market, Festival Place and McKinney Straw Market.

Christmas activities

Christmas in the Bahamas is not complete without the annual Christmas Junkanoo Festival that takes place on December 26. Thousands of locals and tourists dress in colourful costumes and come out in the streets of Bahamas to dance to the rhythmic bands playing soca, reggae, roots and other genres of Caribbean music. The Junkanoo parade can be witnessed in Grand Bahama, Eleuthera, Bimini and Abaco.

If you’re not interested in the Junkanoo Festival, there are still many other Christmas activities that you can participate in. Every December, the Ministry of Tourism kicks off the holiday season with a Christmas tree lighting ceremony at Pompey Square, Nassau. Throughout the month, there are Christmas concerts and celebrations hosted by different organisations in the Bahamas.

Hit the beach

Tourists, especially those from cold countries, enjoy the warm Caribbean climate that gives them an escape from the snow and hit the beach in the Bahamas for Christmas. In December, the high temperatures fall slightly, still maintaining the warmth and sunshine that the islands are known for. There are beach parties held during the holiday season, especially on New Year’s Eve.

Christmas delicacies

Food has always been a huge part of the Bahamian experience. During the holiday season, locals enjoy traditional Bahamian Christmas items such as various conch dishes, black cake, garlic pork, pepper pot and of course, ham! The Christmas meals are further complete with holiday drinks which include sorrel, mauby, sweet potato fly (a fermented drink) falernum, shandy, rum and wines.