What if, for once, you’d venture below the equator to celebrate the festive season? Argh, Christmas… its smoked salmon toasts, its foie gras, its tasty oysters sprinkled with shallots and scrumptious dressing, its stuffed turkey fumet and traditional and almond-flavoured desserts… How nice it is to gather by the hearth to open up one’s gifts and stuff oneself with After Eight chocolates (those who enjoy Kisses, Cherry Cordials and strawberry secrets from the good old Quality Street box, please go away…).
Yes, gazing at the store windows with your arms filled with bags, marveling at the illuminated trees during twilight and getting home with your boots covered with snow do contribute to put your in the Christmas mood. We all dream of gingerbread cookies, candy canes and mulled wine but is it really what it’s all about?
After all, Santa Claus has always found its way through our fare (houses) even though we do not have any chimney. The spirit of Christmas goes way beyond holly, pine cones, cold and sweetened chestnuts. Why don’t you let yourself be carried away in a thoroughly different universe, at poles apart ?
Let me show you that, with a few coconuts, a lot of sand, a sunshower and plenty of smiles, you will eventually find the authenticity that makes these celebrations so special !
In French Polynesia, Christmas happens to take place right in the middle of Matari’I I ni’a, the abundance period. It’s like Thanksgiving but it lasts for weeks… Avocados, uru, bananas, fe’i, you just have to look up to find something to garnish your fruit basket or to embellish your table runner made in Tahiti!
Thus, this year, instead of picturing yourself on the outdoor rink of New York city, of letting your mind wonder what your stay in this cozy little English cottage could look like or of wandering through the traditional Christmas markets of Alsace with a pretzel in your hand, we offer to make you discover winter wonderland in the islands! Besides, there are plenty of advantages of spending your Christmas vacation in the tropics: seasonal offers, fewer people and a temperature reaching 86°F. Chances that you get a cold on the evening of the 24th are much lower, except if you decide to jump into the lagoon in the middle of the night…
Take your paper and pencil and prepare your letter to Santa, here are five archipelagos where having a Christmas Eve party takes a whole different meaning.
Craving for lobsters with your feet in the ocean? How about heading to the Tuamotu islands? A yummy korori carpaccio, a great coconut tree adorned with light garlands, a kaveu (coconut crab) cooked by the fire on a white sand beach and tadahh! You are all about polar winter vibes? Let the coconut flakes snow!
Okay, if you really want to wear this cute stag head sweater you brought in your suitcase, nothing equals the Austral weather. Here, there are no artificial Christmas stars, instead we decorate our bungalows with flame tree flowers. You feel quite skillful with your hands? Go pick up some driftwood by the beach and hold this pae’ore roll, it is about time to learn how to weave. You did not really think this Christmas tree would remain naked, right? When in Rome, do as the Romans do! it’s what we call being at the right place at the right moment, let’s create memories…
However, if you cannot properly enjoy a festive supper without sea fruits, let’s go to the Marquesas islands! Pū, toetoe and mama are ready to be eaten raw. Add a bit of lemon juice and… bon appétit ! Trust me, walking by the cliffs and riding a horse along the beach will make you hungry… Perhaps will you even have enough room for a curry goat. Kai Kai !
You aspire to find a peaceful haven and are eager to take a sunbath away from all the crowd? Have you ever thought about the Gambier archipelago? Put your flip flops on, bring your Swiss knife, we are about to pick up some mā’oa (whelks) on the reef. If you are lucky, maybe you will find a pāhua (giant clam) or two but please keep some for the tāmā’ara’a (dinner). I know what you are thinking… “Nobody’s gonna know? How would they know?…” – Sorry, too much TikToks…
For a some taioro (a mixture made of fermented coconut milk) over and let the party begin. Hope you like to sing you heart out!
Eventually, if you want to feel at home away from home, go for a stroll in the middle of the lush green pastures of Taravao and smell tiare flowers, the Tahitian peninsula is going to be perfect. The mist, the rain, the smell of the meadow and a cozy nest where to snuggle on Sunday afternoons, come on… you’ve dreamt about it ! A convivial meal, the warmth of the ahima’a (Tahitian traditional oven), a milk-fed veal, some pua’a (pork) and poe (a mixture made of starch), the magic of Christmas consists in reconnecting with your loved ones and carrying on traditions, wherever you are.
Ok so this is your outfit?… Where is your flower crown? Your local shirt? This may not be the Bellagio but please, make sure to add a Polynesian touch and to sparkle!
Promoting the diversity of our archipelagos while contributing to boost local economy through tourism is probably one of the best gifts you could ever give or receive this year.
Besides, it is more than likely that these photographs from the other side of the world with a glass of champagne and your feet in the lagoon will make all of your colleagues jealous as you go back to work!
Meanwhile, we wish you a Merry Christmas and hope you will have the time of your life in the islands of Tahiti.