Now that the festive season is very truly upon us, thoughts turn to the annual task of buying, storing, preparing and serving the Christmas Day Dinner…. Well, in some households!
Christmas Day Dinner doesn’t happen in our house and hasn’t for around 15 years. The funny thing is when I tell most people that, their first response is “oh no, how can you not have Christmas Day Dinner?” but when I explain the reasoning behind it, that response usually turns into “oh my goodness, what a great idea”
I am sure that my family is not the only one who does things slightly differently over the festive season, many people, do not celebrate Christmas due to their beliefs and religions. However, that is not the reason why we don’t partake of it.
Around 15 years ago, we moved into our new house. My children were around 4, and the kitchen is on the opposite side of the house to the Lounge. My Mum in Law and I had spent weeks buying all the presents, wrapping all the presents, hiding all the presents. We had spent days getting the food, preparing the food and then came the big day.
We then spent that morning, running in and out of the Kitchen, in between presents being opened. The girls were getting stroppy because we kept having to make them wait whilst we checked the turkey, made sure the brussels were still boiling away and it wasn’t much fun for them AND us.
I found myself really upset and disappointed that I had put so much effort and hard work into getting the girls presents, to then spend over half the day not seeing them play with them, not helping them set things up because I was slaving over the stove, along with Mum, who felt the same. It just didn’t seem fair!
When it was time for the following year to roll around, we had decisions to make. What was it that made us follow a tradition that meant one or more of us would be away from the throng of guests, and excitement. Why did we put ourselves through it?
We decided that year we would not do it any more. And so, Christmas Day became PJ Day.
Christmas Eve came around, and we had a lovely roast dinner, Carols sung around the family piano, mince pies and Baileys. The children had a bath, a new pair of pyjamas and a Christmas story before setting out the carrots, milk and biscuits/mince pie for Santa Claus.
The next morning the children woke up at the crack of dawn. Presents were opened, toys made up, and we sat and watched the children play. Croissants, chocolatines, fresh fruit, orange juice, and Champagne was on offer for breakfast. Bacon Sandwiches for those who really wanted them.
We stayed in our Jammies, and watched the children’s faces light up with the sheer joy of playing, not being made to dress up, not being told to come and sit down and eat. It was their day really, and we just all relaxed.
Later on in the afternoon we put on a Christmas film, and some of us “might” have had a little nap. Board games were played, and once the children were in bed, us adults let our hair down a little.
Dinner time came, and we had cold meats, cheese, french bread, quiche, salads, olives, and hot canapes and nibbles. Gateaux and cheesecakes usually to follow. All simple, easy finger food, with not much preparation to do.
And it was the MOST relaxing Christmas Day ever. There was no stress, or worry that the potatoes still weren’t cooked, and dinner was now 45 minutes late, that we had picked the wrong turkey, or that the Christmas pudding had boiled dry. It was amazing.
Boxing Day arrived, and that was when Mum and I retired to the Kitchen to start our Christmas Dinner. Starters, Main Courses, Desserts, Cheese and biscuits, Irish coffee and after dinner mints. How we managed to eat it all, I shall never know.
And you know something else?
Again there was no stress or aggravation. Because it was just a “normal” day, we didn’t worry if it was a little bit late, or if I forgot to put the bread sauce on the table. It was a relaxed, inviting, wonderful dinner, which is exactly as it should be.
Many years passed, with us continuing on this tradition. We still got dressed in our Christmas finery on Boxing Day, laid the table with crackers and decorative centrepieces. Christmas Puddings were doused with Brandy and set alight. It was just the day after most people doing theirs.
Eventually the girls were hit 12 -13 and we asked if they wanted to continue the tradition. Their unanimous “yes” meant we carried on.
Here we are, the girls are now 19. Around 2 months ago, I asked that same question. Would they prefer reverting back to having Christmas Dinner on the right day, like most normal people…..
So, this year, On Christmas Day, you will find us all still in our pyjamas, drinking Champagne and eating Croissants, just like the past 15 years. On Boxing Day, I will be in my stunning new Chi-Chi London dress, rocking a vintage hair-do and serving up a veritable banquet!
Old habits die hard, and sometimes making a change that benefits both you, and your loved ones can be tricky, especially when bucking tradition. But we took the plunge and it has really worked for our family.
The only stressful part about our Christmas Dinner is deciding to have custard or cream with our pudding!
Anyway, as this blog comes to a close, I would like to thank everyone for their support this year, as I started off my little blog.
I wish you all a very Merry Christmas and a Healthy, Happy New Year.