By Marlana Bethel
For the third year in a row, the community of Scotland Cay worked together to create a little extra Christmas cheer for the people in the small towns of North Abaco. In the weeks leading up to Christmas, Scotland Cay was a makeshift “North Pole” (minus the cold, of course). Lists were made and checked twice, just as is the custom of Old Saint Nick. For weeks, presents were wrapped, stockings stuffed, and preparations made for hams and dinners to be purchased and delivered.
On the morning of Dec. 23, as the sun began to rise, Scotland Cay’s “elves” were busy loading boxes, bags, and coolers to be taken by boat to the mainland.
Once they arrived in Marsh Harbour, the red van (aka the sleigh) was loaded from stem to stern and roof to floor with Christmas cheer, and the trek north began. As in years past, word had spread of the impending trip, and children were gathered in groups awaiting the group’s arrival. This year, they teamed up with Santa and Mrs. Claus and a few of their cheerful elves to bring an added dose of excitement to the kiddies.
Candy and gifts were handed out to young and old alike along the route from Coopers Town to Crown Haven. They visited the elderly and infirm (familiar faces) and between their beaming smiles, warm hugs and lively chatter, they distributed gifts, cookies, candy, cakes and hams.
The children were bouncing with excitement as they drove up to houses, bearing gifts and stockings for the young and the young at heart. Full ham dinners complete with homemade pumpkin cakes were handed over to the adults to take charge of. One little young man greeted the group by running wildly out of his front door shouting at the top of his lungs, “I LOVE Christmas, I LOVE Christmas!” followed by huge bear hugs for all.
By the end of the trip, the “sleigh,” aka red van, was completely empty of all gifts, stockings, cakes, candy, cookies, hams, and food items, but hearts were filled with wonderful new memories from old and new friends made during our North Shore visits.
“Each passing year we are privileged to see new faces and make new friends along our way, and each year we become more resolved to outdo ourselves on the next Christmas visit north. I guess it may not be too early to start coming up with ideas for the 2017 North Shore Christmas trip,” one organizer said.