Are you familiar with Genie floor polish, coconut brush, and white lime? These were essential items used by Jamaicans in the past to ‘clean up’ or decorate their homes just before Christmas Day.
It was customary for floors that were not tiled to be polished, (no matter how modest) and finished with a brilliant sheen that could only be given by the coconut brush. This accompanied the changing of curtains and bed linen and, the application of a fresh coat of paint inside and out.
In some houses, it was also common for Christmas cards to be placed in a prominent place in the home to serve as a discussion piece about family members and friends who lived far away.
On the outside, lawns were had to be neat; the trees were pruned and hedges trimmed. Those activities were offset by the use of white lime to ‘brighten’ tree trunks, fences or even outside walls.
Nowadays, cleaning for Christmas is still practised in earnest and after the cleaning is done, the Christmas decorations are set up to bring even more light and cheer into Jamaican homes.