Leav­ing win­ter be­hind for a va­ca­tion in the sun, Suzanne Rogers shares her favourite hol­i­day tra­di­tion—Christ­mas and New Years in the Ba­hamas.


Tucked away on the western tip of New Prov­i­dence Is­land in the Ba­hamas sits the pic­turesque, pri­vate gated com­mu­nity, Ly­ford Cay. Tall, lush palm trees sway ef­fort­lessly in the breeze, and sparkling ocean wa­ter ca­resses the pris­tine beach­front sand as the tide rolls rest­lessly in and out. Ly­ford Cay Club is an ex­clu­sive con­clave es­tab­lished by Cana­dian horserac­ing ty­coon E.P. Tay­lor in the 1950s, and has since drawn in its fair share of no­table vis­i­tors. JFK stayed here dur­ing the early years of his pres­i­dency, and Sean Con­nery re­mains a prom­i­nent sea­sonal res­i­dent to­day. It’s also where, for more than half a cen­tury, my hus­band’s kin has main­tained a warm and wel­com­ing home-away-from-home. For nearly a decade now, we’ve con­gre­gated here for the Christ­mas hol­i­day.

Our vis­its have be­come a trea­sured an­nual tra­di­tion; one that I hope to carry on for years to come.

As Jack Frost cov­ers Toronto’s busy streets in a blan­ket of snow, I head south for a six-week Caribbean es­cape, fam­ily in tow. Our stress-free so­journ be­gins the minute we’re greeted by the com­mu­nity’s el­e­gant pink steel gates, and drive past the one-time home of CBS founder Wil­liam Pa­ley and his stylish wife Babe (where, be­fore the cou­ple’s no­to­ri­ous fall­ing out, Babe reg­u­larly en­ter­tained her good friend Tru­man Capote). The trip gives me an op­por­tu­nity to truly un­wind; the most hec­tic thing we have to deal with dur­ing the month of De­cem­ber is a tangle of golf cart traf­fic boot­ing through the com­mu­nity.

We al­ways drop by the Ly­ford Cay Club for a Rum Dum cock­tail (the house spe­cialty, made with two kinds of rum and an egg white). You never know who might be sit­ting be­side you as you sip your tasty con­coc­tion, watch­ing the sun­set: a Greek ship­ping mag­nate, a Euro­pean prince or princess, an in­vest­ment banker, or a fash­ion icon.

With the chance of bump­ing into fash­ion roy­alty (and true roy­alty) on the is­land, I keep my style game strong. For sea­side loung­ing, my go-to out­fits in­clude colour­ful caf­tans by Pucci and TAJ, and for is­landap­pro­pri­ate day­wear, I’m par­tial to Miguelina’s black or white all-lace cover-ups—they’re di­vine and easy to wear. In the evening, I’ll opt for some­thing el­e­gant, of­ten from Os­car de la Renta.

When De­cem­ber 31st ar­rives, I pick some­thing light and flow­ing from one of the afore­men­tioned de­sign­ers. The New Year’s Eve cel­e­bra­tion at Ly­ford Cay is vi­brant; a fes­ti­val full of colour and move­ment where ev­ery­one is danc­ing and en­joy­ing them­selves. Noth­ing can quite com­pare to a Ba­hamian “junkanoo,” which is a tra­di­tional cel­e­bra­tory pa­rade with per­form­ers dressed in brightly coloured cos­tumes. The junkanoo be­gins at the stroke of mid­night, as the Caribbean sky lights up with fire­works, ush­er­ing in the New Year. When the clock strikes 12, I al­ways take a mo­ment amid the colour­ful com­mo­tion to re­flect on and ap­pre­ci­ate life’s sim­plest joys, like how blessed I am to be in this trop­i­cal par­adise, and most im­por­tantly, in the com­pany of those I love.

Un­til next time...

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