Nearly 50 businesses set up shop on Shore Way Drive in Road Town on Friday and Saturday for Christmas in the City to provide residents with an outdoor shopping experience. (Photo: Rushton Skinner)

On Dec. 1-2, Shore Way Drive in Road Town was closed to cars and opened to foot traffic for Christmas in the City, kicking off consumerism in the Virgin Islands for the holidays.

Asked what they wanted for Christmas, however, residents mostly wished for peace and goodwill, if they admitted to considering the thought at all.

“For Christmas, I want peace of mind,” said emcee Sophia Rubaine.“Peace of mind and happiness.”

Nearly 50 small businesses were represented at the two-day event, according to Lynette George, the treasurer of the Advancement for Small Business Committee.

On white trestle tables under striped tents, vendors neatly lined up products ranging from toy dump trucks to cologne to local food.

Christmas in the City, called by other names in the past, is in its 25th year. Last year’s event saw 45 businesses attend, as well as the addition of a kids’ section.

This year, event planners retained the kids’ section, which included two bouncy houses, a train, and a small whirly ride. There were even computer monitors set up in a line to allow children the opportunity to play video games.

“[The event was] very successful for the 25th anniversary,” Ms. George said.

Serving as a watering hole for this year’s Christmas in the City, Savi’s bar and restaurant provided patrons with the usual libations, but some attendees ordered Christmas Coronas: the Mexican beer served with a pump of Grenadine and a lime.

The bartender — Savi’s owners’ son, Fayed Hassan — kept event-goers well-hydrated.

“I don’t really have anything in particular that I want,” Mr. Hassan said when asked about his Christmas wishes. “I mean, if I could ask God for anything, I would want a ticket back home to see my car.”

An officer working security along Shore Way Drive said he was excited for the Christmas season and already had what he wanted. Asked what that was, he leaned in and whispered, “Range Rover.”

Students play drums in front of the temporary stage just off Shore Way Drive in Road Town during Christmas in the City. (Photo: Rushton Skinner)
Holiday business

Later in the evening on Friday, Ms. Rubaine, who performs as “Sophie B.,” got back on the microphone and encouraged attendees to shop around at some of the booths she had noticed.

“I think I saw Fragrance Oasis,” she said. “They have a variety of perfumes. … The holiday season is the best time to get your loved one perfume or cologne.”

Nearby, Akeem Legair represented Fragrance Oasis VI with a smile.

“[The holidays] are a good time for spending time with family. You know, lots of shopping, eating,” Mr. Legair said. “Business is very good during the holiday season.”

Asked what he wanted for Christmas, Mr. Legair said he hadn’t given it much thought, but furnishing his new apartment was high on the list.

Though adults found it difficult to give a straight answer when asked about their Christmas lists, the children who roamed Shore Way Drive were happy to shout the first item that came to mind.

Some of the highlights were a Cristiano Ronaldo football kit, virtual reality goggles, and a PlayStation 5.