This time of year might be one of cheer and goodwill, but it’s also a time for lists. By this time, my list has taken on either a hint of desperation or resignation, and the latter is far more soothing.
What will be, will be…
- Write the final Christmas cards, usually for family, so fairly disastrous if they’re missing on Christmas morning;
- Check the cupboards and fridge to make sure that all the required ingredients ordered were delivered and put away in a lace someone human would recognise. All that goodwill means there are plenty of hands willing to help put stuff away but it never seems to end up in the obvious place;
- Make the mushroom risotto for tomorrow’s pie, and if you’re feeling good, think about making the pastry case also;
- Consider knocking up a trifle, or maybe this year making 4 individual trifles in glasses because the trifle bowl is vast, we never get through it all and it takes up a huge amount of space in the fridge;
- Dress the table ie. wrap it in some festive paper and make it look cheerful. Do not put out a cloth for the cats to trash with muddy footprints;
- Plan tomorrow’s campaign.
Every family has some traditions they’ve inherited from their parents and some they’ve made all on their own. Our kids have been brought up with a stack of them, in part because I had so few. Christmas wasn’t exactly a non-event, but it certainly wasn’t as memorable as most seem to be.
We wake up Christmas Day and gather in the parents bedroom. Settled with a coffee, the kids open up the presents in their Christmas stockings which tend to be small and trivial but still get the day off to a good start.
Usually, there are pancakes for Christmas breakfast, whilst the preparation of the meal gets going with vegetables peeled (potatoes, parsnips, carrots) and the first two parboiled ready for roasting.
The first, main round of present opening happens post-breakfast and pre-church.
The local church service starts at 10:30 and finishes at around12ish with a glass of prosecco at the back of the nave.
Back home, and the oven is warm having been turned on by timer, and the vegetables can go into the over to roast. If we’re aiming for “lunch” at around 2pm, it means potatoes to roast in oven by 1pm, parsnips shortly thereafter, with the pie going in at 1:30.
The sprouts go onto boil for 5 minutes at around that time because they are drained and pan-fried with chestnuts just before serving. The carrots are put onto boil at about 1:45 and can be drained and fried with some honey or maple syrup with a dash of lemon.
There should be some cranberry sauce left over from topping the pie, plus some bread sauce heating up in the microwave. & hopefully someone else is laying the table in the dining room.
We have trifle for desert but everyone is far too full to eat it so we mainly retire to the living room for some telly.
Each to their own.
Wishing everyone a very happy Christmas!