Christmas Eve finds me rushing hither and thither trying to tie up the loose ends (or should that be loose ribbons?) of Christmas and get things organised for tomorrow. There is food prep and baking, tidying up (I won’t say cleaning as that’s just going too far at this late stage in the festive game), prezzie wrapping and hauling in the holly to brighten the place up a bit.
After the disaster of the tree collapse (aka The Crash Of Christmas) whilst I was in Wales and discovery that it was just too far gone to salvage, we had to try to find another. Much searching of garden centres and supermarkets with little or nothing to offer had me trekking back to our local farm shop and buying the last tree on the block, the sorry little specimen that was heading to the tip. I had to laugh when the woman told me her asking price boasting that she had reduced it by £10. I turned to walk back to the car and she shouted after me asking what I’d pay for it. “I’ll give you a tenner but nothing more” I said not expecting her to accept the offer but not being prepared to pay any more for something barely 3 feet tall and with a chunk of branches missing. “Done!” she replied and the tree was mine.
Since many of my precious glass ornaments were broken in the Crash it was just a matter of stringing up the lights and hanging a few baubles on the stumpy branches and trying to fill in the gaps here and there. It doesn’t look too bad when lit up, but not a patch on the old one of last week.
The kitchen is where I am holed up for most of the day. Peeling and chopping veggies for tomorrow and making Idgy her favourite dessert for Christmas Day. The Buche de Noel (French style chocolate yule log) is her choice every time over the traditional Christmas pudding. I like both but have to admit that I would rather make this light and easy cake than tackle the pudding and then have to steam the damn thing for hours.
I remember my Mum always making her Christmas pudding (or clouty dumpling as it is called here in Scotland) and setting it by the fire after steaming to let it dry before cutting into it at the dinner table. We would each hope that we’d get the silver sixpence she had hidden inside it. The sixpence was a double-edged sword, there was joy at the cash reward but trepidation at the thought of only finding the thing when your back teeth had crunched down upon it.
As I write this it is 3pm and I have done my stint in kitchen and cleared up the mess of icing sugar that always seems to form a cloud over everything and settle in places you’d never normally bother to reach with a sponge. The peelings are off the floor and the table cleared in readiness for tomorrow. I’ve made us macaroni cheese for supper tonight as the thought of more cooking somehow doesn’t really appeal just now.
Tonight will mean a few hours spent having a drink with my neighbours and then back to fill Idgy’s stocking (you are never too old for a Christmas stocking even at 16) and set the prezzies under the little tree. I shall sit by the fire with a glass of good red and think back on all the Christmasses before. Mad nights of trying to piece together impossible presents for a little girl all those years ago. Years when the floor would be littered with coloured paper and boxes that were always just that bit more interesting than what was inside, at least to a tiny tot who just marvelled at all the excitement that this special day brings.
Memories wash over me like waves at Christmas. It is a time of remembering, setting aside problems and resentments and thinking only of the joy. Raising a glass to those no longer here and wishing them well and hoping that all those near and dear and far away in the here and now will have a wonderful and peaceful Christmas and a marvelous New Year.
So to you dear reader I wish you joy. I hope you have enjoyed my recipe posts and maybe even made some of the foodie gift ideas this year.
I’ll be back after Christmas.
Have a very merry Christmas wherever you are!