While some people are heading northwards to experience a snowy winter wonderland this December, others are shrugging off the thought of zero temperatures and heading to the Seychelles islands for a warmer Christmas experience, with better plans for dips in the warm Indian Ocean and frolics in the sand as part of a family holiday or a couple’s romantic retreat.
But what is Christmas like in this tropical wonderland?
One of the smallest capitals in the world, Victoria, is decorated with bright and delightful lights, which draw many families to take walks around the town in the evening and get into the Christmas spirit ahead of the main festivities on December 25th. Some decorations imitate the motion of falling snow, while Father Christmas and his reindeer can seen be next to snowflakes and stars in this imaginative display of lights which hang from the palm tree-lined avenues.
Christmas traditions in the Seychelles are similar to the Christian European customs and the majority of the population is Roman Catholic, so many attend religious services as part of the celebration but that doesn’t mean that the thrill of Christmas shopping is avoided.
Much time and energy are spent looking for the best possible Christmas presents for friends and family, with the streets of Victoria, with its small boutiques and merchant shops, are filled with busy shoppers, looking for a bargain or a great new toy.
The Seychellois take great pride in decorating their homes with a wide variety of colourful tinsel and fairy lights and a Christmas tree takes its central place in the living room, which can be a man-made tree or a Casurina tree, a local evergreen conifer which is found abundantly on the islands.
On Christmas Eve many families go to their local parish church for a Christmas Eve service, or they stay together at home and watch Christmas carols live on the local television.
Many children stay up all night waiting to catch a glimpse of Father Christmas arriving at their house, and in the morning find out he has left a lot of presents for them. After opening the presents, they will ether attend a Christmas day mass or join their families on the beach or a relative’s house for a large family lunch, where the merrymaking will go on throughout the day and late into the night.
The beaches of Mahé, Praslin and La Digue Island on Christmas day are full of families enjoying themselves, with many happy faces, rhythmic music and the smell of good food, as people celebrate the joy of the Christmas holiday with their loved ones.
Christmas for visitors of Eden Island
The prospect of a tropical Christmas Day under a coconut tree, listening to the lapping of the ocean waves and the laughter of children splashing about, is enticing.
One of the best places in the Seychelles to experience the Christmas spirit is Eden Island, a residential and commercial marina development, situated just off the coast of the main island of Mahé.
The man-made island has 550 luxury homes consisting of apartments, spacious maisons and private villas. Each home has access to a private mooring, so that every owner can have a boat or yacht anchored in paradise. It is also possible to rent an apartment, maison or villa for the holiday season.
The Eden Plaza commercial complex and the Eden boardwalk area have a wide range of restaurants and bars which organise Christmas Eve dinners, with high quality entertainment and a variety of culinary and music tastes.
The shopping area of the Eden Plaza also provides a great selection of Christmas gifts and is busy during this time of year.
Christmas Day can be spent on one of the Eden Island’s 4 private beaches; Anse Bernitier, Anse Bernik, Anse Bigorno and Anse Tec Tec, as well as a small cove called Cocotier Cove. All of these white-sanded beaches are wonderful for snorkelling, kayaking and paddle-boarding. Alternatively, a yacht can be chartered to sail around the Sainte Anne Marine National Park, or the islands of Praslin and La Digue.