There’s no country in the world that parties like Jamaica and when it comes to Christmas, we take it to the next level. For Jamaicans, Christmas is THE big event. It’s not only about the day itself, it’s the whole Christmas season. The moment the “Christmas Breeze” starts to blow, Jamaicans entire mood changes. We become way more tolerant, we become kinder and there is a sense of togetherness that emanates right across the island.
Every dollar that we saved up all year, any bonus we received, all goes towards THE big event. From Christmas decorations, to Grand-market night, to the big feast on the day itself; Jamaicans spend a considerable amount of money to carry-on one of our most celebrated cultural heritages – Christmas.
With all that spending in December, there is usually the inevitable “Tambrin Season” to contend with in January. Tambrin Season is a period of time after Christmas, where money is seemingly hard to come by and when the Gregorian Calendar’s month of January seems to increase considerably in its number of days. Legend says that in Tambrin season, the month of January grows to a total of 90 days.
Jason’s Voice shares 5 ways to survive Tambrin Season, even after having a bountiful Christmas:
- Left Overs – Us Jamaicans like to refer to this as ‘Sunday Monday’. As the name suggests, this is when left overs from Sunday’s dinner is saved for the next day; either to take for lunch, eat for dinner or both. Spending less on lunch or food throughout this month is certainly a way to help survive. So cook at home more often and take lunch to work.
- Car Pooling (Beg ride) – Jamaicans are typically boastful in nature, we like having our own things and “we nuh like sponge pan people,” simply because…well, “nuh baddy nuh more dan we.” Yet this would be an excellent way to help survive this dreaded month. If your neighbour works in the vicinity of your job or if you have a coworker that lives in close proximity to your home, you would do well in asking them for a ride. Please note that Jason’s Voice does not recommend begging rides from strangers and we strongly advise against it.
- Coins – By time the new year rolls around, you should have amassed a significant amount of coins from change received from carrying out cash transactions throughout the just concluded year. Recently I happened upon a tweet about a guy who saved all his coins last year. When he carried it to the bank, they allegedly counted over $30,000.00! Now that’s a sure way to push you through the month.
- Canned Food – Usually in Jamaica, we stack up on canned foods during natural disasters like hurricanes etc. Well Tambrin season really is like a hurricane if you look at it. A big event takes place and subsequently wipes out your money and groceries. Canned foods tend to be relatively cheap in comparison to other types of foods/meats. You won’t only get to save monetarily, but you will also spend less time in the kitchen and do something else more constructive – win/win.
- NHT Refund – Finally, one of the best things that the National Housing Trust ever did was to start refunding people their NHT contributions. Applying for my NHT refund has become like a ritual for me. When the clock strikes 12 on New Year’s Eve, don’t mistake my celebration for only the start of the new year; I’m also celebrating the open application period for my NHT refund. You are eligble for this refund if you made contributions to NHT at least 8 years prior to the current year. NHT refund in Jamaica is like tax season in the U.S
Stay tuned to Jason’s Voice for our ‘How to’ guide on claiming your NHT refund.
Written By: Jason McPherson