Tuesday, 28 December 2010

Post Christmas reflection

I love this photo of different coloured Christmas baubles because it sums up so much of what Christmas is about for me.  Lots of colour, bringing family and friends together, variety and fun.

This Christmas was different to others because my aunt died on Christmas eve.  It was not unexpected and yet the timing was awkward.  When my uncle phoned to tell us, my eldest was having a mini melt down because she and I had different views on what dress she was going to wear to the Crib service (she is 4 going on 14) and I was concerned that we were going to be late as it is the most popular service of the year and it was past the time we had agreed to leave.  My father had to go outside in the freezing cold so that he could hear his brother and conversed with him for a while.  Suddenly what time we got to the service seemed trivial.  A day later than usual the absent friends and family toast was more poignant than in previous years as we stopped to remember my aunt and think about those she had left behind.

For me Christmas is all about seeing family and friends to share food and drink and be together.  What I enjoyed about this holiday period was the time A and I spent thinking about what meals we were going to cook and what wines we would serve, including some rituals too.  This is how I show my love to those closest to me.  We baked a salmon for Christmas eve something that goes back to my childhood.  My Grandmother's birthday was 23 December so we always had salmon on Christmas eve when we got together because it was her favourite food.  Other highlights this year included a game terrine which we had on boxing day evening with a barley and pomegranate salad and crostini of roasted peppers and melted garlic goats cheese.  For the major gathering of the clans, I made and served a venison and cranberry casserole followed by trifle or pears in red wine (courtesy of my Mum) and Christmas cake.  What was special about the preparation of that meal was that my Mum and I prepared vegetables for the casserole together and it enabled us to bond through sharing a task.

We had the most fun on boxing day morning when we all went out to a field to go sledging. Old and young alike took turns on the sledges, often in mixed pairs.  A and I both ended up falling off more than once - and I found myself in front of the sledge at one point! The grannies won the prize for going the furthest on one of the sledges. It was fantastic because everyone let go of their inhibitions, relaxed and had good, clean fun. 

Note to self next year I am going to make sure we do something equally silly and relaxing a day earlier. Summing up ours is quite a traditional Christmas, it works and will not change much from year to year.  In fact the few Christmases in my life that I have been apart from those closest to me or abroad have felt very strange. 

Reflecting on Christmas, how traditional was yours?  What went well, what could have gone better?  What will you do differently next year?  How much did you really enjoy it? I would love to hear your thoughts.

Details of the photographer for the photo can be found here.

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