Christmas. I love it. My family is very close and Christmas has always been a time when we give, share, laugh and eat together.
Until I met Mr M and moved halfway across Australia, I had never missed a Christmas at home. Sure, it wasn’t always on the 25th – our family classes Christmas as a ‘moveable feast’ which is flexible. We bend it around life – around travel and in-laws. It might be the week before or the week after, but Christmas always looks the same.
The same menu. Brandy butter. Homemade ‘butter horn’ rolls. Rather incongruous salads that signify Christmas in our family: my mother’s potato salad (the secret is in the sauce); cucumber, red onions and Greek yoghurt.
True, there have been some modifications over the years. The tokenistic Christmas pudding still has a place, but alongside home-made blueberry pie with a lattice or pastry-stars on top. We still have ham and turkey, but the turkey’s stuffing has been updated with an amazing macadamia and mango concoction. However, looking back over the years, little has changed.
The same china (a wedding gift to my parents, 36 years old and still precious).
The same ‘rituals’.
Christmas eve is spent around the Christmas tree (propped up by presents), sharing my mother’s decadent fudges (there are about five varieties), sipping home-made rum and chocolate egg-nog from preposterously small glasses, which must be filled many times. My mother reads ‘Twas the night before Christmas’.
Christmas day begins with stockings which my mother snuck into our bedrooms during the night. My sisters and I are now 33, 35 and 47. It’s not weird at all for our mother to sneak in during the night with a present-laden stocking. Our husbands may feel differently.
There are gooey cinnamon rolls and brewed coffee for breakfast. (My mother is American, in case you haven’t guessed.)
Presents are many – we are whittling the numbers down each year, but what can I say: my family loves giving and receiving presents.
Christmas 2015 was the second Christmas I have missed at my parents. Mr M and I live 2000km from my parents, so we alternate years between his parents’ place (2km away) and an interstate trip.
I miss catching
my mother a 60-somthing female Santa Claus creeping out of my room late on Christmas eve and waking up to the smell of cinnamon, but it has been a chance for Mr M and I to forge our own Christmas traditions.
Mr M has curated his ‘culinary wishlist’ from my family’s Christmas: the rum chocolate egg-nog (or, ‘Captain’s Mountain Steam… don’t ask, it’s a long story); the gooey cinnamon rolls; chocolate fudge.
We kept the many presents – while it’s just Mr M and I on Christmas morning, we have to be the big kids who get excited about all the presents under the tree.
It has been lovely to be a part of another family’s Christmas traditions too. Mr M’s family dinner is delicious, the many faces around the table are heart-warming, the post-meal games guarantee plenty of laughs.
So really, last year, I had the best of three Christmases!
Love, Mrs M
P.S. What makes Christmas special in your home?