Monday, 22 December 2014

Christmas Loves And Hates

With Christmas almost upon us, emotions can run high. Stress, excitement, anticipation, sadness and happiness – they can all feature as part of the festive season!

On the whole I look forward to Christmas, although the build-up can often be more fun than the actual day, when there is too much pressure to enjoy the whole event, however you may feel.

A 'pink' hamper put together for my daughter's birthday
I quite enjoy Christmas shopping, but go out of my way to avoid the shops on certain days. I certainly didn’t shop on Black Friday (looked a nightmare from what I saw on TV) and as for Panic Saturday – for us it was more of a ‘put-your-feet-up’ Saturday, where we cracked open the Christmas biscuits and enjoyed a visit from family.

The swing between eager anticipation and utter madness got me thinking that actually Christmas can be rather a love/hate relationship, making me realise there are things that sit on each end of the scale.

I love:
Shopping for Christmas gifts for the family (except for on the days I’ve already mentioned). I love trying to find presents that are individual and a little bit different, often making up my own goody bags or hampers to suit a particular person.

Christmas lights. I can take or leave all the other fussy Christmas decorations, but I do love all the twinkly lights and enjoy seeing whole displays of them.

Christmas music. OK hearing the same tune in the shops for the fortieth time in a row can start to get irritating, but whilst out shopping last week, I thoroughly enjoyed listening to the gospel choir singing at a local shopping centre – the atmosphere was just lovely!

Cold turkey on Boxing Day. Christmas dinner is all well and good but what I enjoy even more are the cold cuts on Boxing Day, served with jacket potatoes, a variety of relishes and a lovely cheeseboard. Mmmm, feeling hungry just writing this.

I hate:
The sadness I feel that certain family members are no longer here to celebrate with us this time of year. I still miss my dear dad thirteen years on and the loss of my two sisters, four and almost three years ago, is still quite raw. Sadly this year has also seen the passing of a couple more family members and the news of the death of an old friend.

That everything seems to return to ‘normal’ on Boxing Day now, whereas when I was younger the holiday seemed to stretch for several days, with shops and businesses staying closed and more time therefore available to catch up with family and friends. There seems to be much more pressure for people to enjoy the one and only day now.

Christmas pudding. As a child I used to look forward to stirring the Christmas pudding mixture and making a wish, but was never very interested in eating the pudding itself. As an adult I seem to like it even less – and the rest of my family hate it too! We always go for an alternative dessert, such as a gateau or Pavlova.
TV chefs telling me what I should be doing or serving at Christmas – with the exception of Mary Berry, who recommends very down-to-earth recipes, using very down-to-earth ingredients. Her turkey crown with herb butter and orange slices sounds tasty, although I may stick to my own version with apple and onion slices!

Whatever you’re doing this festive season I hope it’s a very happy time for you. We will be celebrating in our ‘glorified shed’ with a few close family members, enjoying a few treats and our new rural, riverside setting, but no doubt taking a little time to reflect on the memories of those we miss.

Peace and happiness to you all!

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