Christmas really does feel just around the corner now and I’m starting to get a bit excited. My husband is changing jobs this month and with the holidays he had left he will finish for Christmas on the 13th!!! His new job is working from home (mostly) so it will mean an end to doing every weekday bedtime alone, not having any time together, never eating together as a family etc.etc. I genuinely can’t wait.
Having him around in the run up to Christmas will be lovely for the kids and they’ll be thrilled to spend so much time with Daddy, but it will also take a lot of the pressure off me. We always have Christmas day at our house, the thought of having to get up early with exited children, open presents then get them dressed out and to someone else’s house for a specific time, followed by worrying about what they are going to destroy in their excitement leaves me cold. Instead we have Christmas lunch at home with family. I love cooking (you might have noticed) and Christmas lunch is an excuse to do so many tasty things that I’m in heaven. I think if I was just cooking for the 4 of us it might seem a bit much but we can have anything up to 9 people to feed so it really does feel worth while. For me I think feeding people is an expression of love, so on Christmas day there is a LOT of love around.
Our day starts whenever the kiddies wake up and we go down to see if Santa’s been. He’s usually eaten the cakes on his treats plate, drunk his glass of milk and given the carrot to Rudolph. The stockings are from Santa so we open them first before moving on to the presents under the tree. After an hour or so of putting tiaras / knight helmets on Mummy we usually have breakfast (cooked of course) although finding somewhere to sit can be a challenge because I usually set the table for lunch the night before. After breakfast I get the kiddies dressed in their nice clothes (don’t trust your husband to find the right ones ;)) before handing them over to Daddy / any relatives who have arrived while I start sorting out the food.
As I said it’s all about the food for me. To get your mouth watering and your ideas going here’s our typical menu:
- Fresh baked rolls and soup- last year we had carrot and coriander but I’m going to try leak and potato later this week and see if it works out well enough to make.
- This may or may not be followed by snacking while I cook the veg and get everything else into dishes.
The main event…
- Turkey (obviously) – cooked breast down in the oven so the fat in the back moistens the breast meat.
- Roast potatoes – parboiled from cold until the water reaches a rolling boil then timed for 4 minutes. Drained and cooked in duck fat in a 220c oven for about 35 minutes until golden and crispy (unless it’s sharing with the veg then 200c for about 45 minutes).
- Roast carrots, parsnips and red onions – cooked in a little vegetable oil at 200c for about 35 min.
- Steamed sugar snap peas, green beans and spinnach
- Home made cranberry sauce – usually made a few days before, this looks amazing and will keep for months if bottled properly.
- Sage and onion stuffing – I’ve tried chestnut stuffing but my husband still prefers the old favourites.
- Red wine gravy flavoured with marjoram, oregano and thyme
Sweets and treats
- A Christmas cake, (usually chocolate as I truly hate fruit cake) although it’s been known to be anything from a gingerbread house to a mountain of cupcakes.
- Pavlova with strawberries, raspberries, blueberries and blackberries – my absolute favourite desert and something I rarely make for the simple reason that unless someone stops me I WILL eat it all.
- (shop bought Christmas pudding with home made custard) in brackets because my husband has asked for it the last two years then seen the cake / pavlova and chosen those instead.
- Mince Pies – again I can’t stand the revolting things but most other people in the world seem to like them….
- Once everyone has stuffed themselves and there’s no room for even a wafer thin mint we naturally start picking at all the chocolates people have given us
The rest of our Christmas day is made up of playing with the kids and their new toys, putting off doing the washing up and (for me) watching the Strictly Come Dancing Christmas Special. We’ve also started watching the BBC adaptations of Julia Donaldson books as a family and it’s becoming a bit of a tradition, as important to our Christmas as watching The Snowman on Christmas eve with all the lights turned down and the fairy lights twinkling. It’s a busy, crazy, family filled day of love, laughter and home.
This is what Christmas is all about for me, we aren’t religious but we do use Christmas as a time to come together as a family and celebrate. The day we’ll have this year, just like the days we’ve had every year since our kiddywinks came along, will be my idea of perfect.