The Falkland Islands is a British Overseas Territory lying over 8,000 miles away from the UK in the South Atlantic. It has a population of a little over 3,400 people on a number of islands comprising about 4,700 square miles. This means that the returning students studying in the UK have an eighteen-hour flight to anticipate the excitement of spending Christmas at home with their families and friends. Christmas in the Falklands is a celebration, a holiday, a time to gather family together as it is around the world. Being in the Southern Hemisphere means that at Christmastime it is daylight until 10pm so young children would be loaded into the family car in their pyjamas just before bedtime to drive around Stanley, the main area of population in the islands, to see houses around the town lit with colourful Christmas lights and decorations.
In recent years there has been a new tradition of a Christmas Tree Festival and Christmas Challenge Concert which is supported by many local community groups who sponsor and decorate a tree to raise money for charity in the blacked-out Parish Hall. The same groups are challenged to sing a Christmas song in the challenge concert in the Town Hall with hilarious results such as the fire service in full breathing apparatus singing ‘Frosty the Snowman’.
A community Christmas Tree is erected on Whalebone Arch Green, next to Christ Church Cathedral on the waterfront and on Christmas Eve the community come together to sing carols under the Whalebone Arch. The following morning a Christmas Day service is held in Christ Church Cathedral which is the southernmost cathedral in the world.
Christmas is a time for feasting and celebration, with the main Christmas meal of local Falkland Islanders lamb rather than turkey. Many families also celebrate with barbeques gathering together with their extended family and friends. This is especially true in Camp, the areas outside the main populace of Stanley, where a third of the population live in quite often isolated settlements and farms and the holiday is an opportunity for them to gather together.
On Boxing Day, a sporting tradition which goes back over a hundred years is the Boxing Day Races held on the Stanley Racecourse, the highlight of which is the hotly contested Governor’s Cup.
Many visitors would usually visit the islands over the summer months on cruise ships or on extended holidays to see the amazing scenery and wildlife of penguins, seals, orcas, dolphins and endemic bird species and often cruise ships arrive over Christmas week.
This year COVID will dramatically reduce the number of visitors to the islands leaving those who normally are involved in the tourist industry the happy prospect of visiting the wildlife and outer islands to enjoy the beautiful country they call home.
Text by Nancy Locke
With many thanks to all of the children for their wonderful drawings showing different aspects of our Falkland Islands’ Christmas. Many of the drawings worked especially well as stamp and First Day Cover designs, but only five designs could be chosen. This was not an easy task for the judges as all of the entries were so very special and imaginative.
Designer Bee Design
Illustrations 32p Rylee Molkenbuhr, age 5
78p Tessa Blake, age 8
£1.04 Laura Blake, age 13
£1.26 Neve Stanworth, age 14
FDC Renata Valeria Borquez Leiva, age 9
Printer Cartor Security Printing
Perforation 13 x 13 ¼ per 2 cms
Stamp size 30.6 x 38mm
Sheet layout 10
Release date 20 November, 2020
Production Coordination Creative Direction (Worldwide) Ltd