Artisans throughout the islands are hard at work preparing for the Ministry of Tourism’s three-day 14th annual Authentically Bahamian Christmas Craft Show slated for December 5 at the Wyndham Nassau Resort, Cable Beach.

“From what I have seen so far, this year’s show is shaping up to be the best yet,” said Tourism’s manager Rowena Rolle. “Already we have almost 100 confirmed exhibits.”

The show coincides with the Bahamas Hotel Association’s annual general meeting held there.

“We take the opportunity to create linkages with hotel properties so that our tourists are offered authentically Bahamian-made souvenirs and memorabilia,” she said. “This is especially beneficial for our Family Island crafts persons.”

The show will feature Christmas ornaments and accessories, handcrafted jewelry, Red Bays’ indigenous straw work, scented soaps and candles, Bahamian books, scenic paintings, holiday treats, and Christmas plants among other attractions, she said.

“As craft is the industry buzz word now, we have to use these opportunities to take back our share of the tourist market,” said Ms Rolle. “Tourists are very much into native craft items.”

Awards will be given for the best booth, Christmas ornament, packaged food, and art/craft item.

Featured exhibits include shell work by Miralee Rose, Cathy Laing’s straw work, Celestine Albury’s wood carvings, Anastasia Charlow’s sculptures, bags by Eldina Miller, broaches by April Martin-Fox and Dwight Thurston’s Bahama beanie, all nationally recognized award winners.

“Our focus is Christmas,” said Ms Rolle. “Almost every thing authentically Bahamian, from gifts to ornaments, that are needed for the holidays can be found at the show.

“And it is not just a tourist thing. Bahamians look forward to this show every year. Bahamian-made handbags, broaches, pendants and rings are becoming a fashion statement.”

Last year, the Bahamas Philatelic Bureau recognized Bahamian-made Christmas ornaments by placing them on six stamps. They featured straw ornaments made from dried silver top palms, hand-woven into a variety of plait designs, and decorated with cedar bobs.

The shell ornaments were made from a variety of attractive seashells that are washed up on the beaches.

“The quality of our products is getting better every time,” said Ms Rolle. “Those who took our workshops have increased their sales significantly. It is important that artisans take advantage of those opportunities offered by the Ministry of Tourism.”