Classic Christmas Traditions
Christmas seems to get earlier each year – or at least the preparations for it do!
Cards and decorations are now starting to flood into the shops, as are the traditional tins of sweets and biscuits. And Christmas wouldn’t be complete without many of the traditions that we follow each year, including decorating the house with holly and mistletoe and all manner of Christmas lights!
One of the most important things for Christmas is, of course, the Christmas tree – where else would we put all of our decorations or place the Christmas presents, ready for Christmas morning?! We seem to start putting the tree up earlier each year and it has become almost a tradition itself now to buy at least one new decoration each year. And, for trees, there are so many options – a lot of people like to buy real trees but there are lots of artificial trees about which can look equally pretty once they have been decorated. But did you know that Christmas Trees were first made popular in the UK by Queen Victoria’s German husband, Prince Albert?
Another important tradition is the sending of Christmas cards – getting in touch with family and friends to send them Christmas greetings(and possibly news as well) – although nowadays, people are increasingly sending e-messages and e-cards or opting to donate the cost of their usual spend on cards and postage to charity instead of sending cards through the post. Here at ukmums.tv we recognise the value of charitable donations instead of sending cards but wouldn’t our homes look a lot barer without cards to help make it look festive? What will you be doing this year?
For home-bakers, the Christmas cakes and puddings will be well underway now – in actual fact, the Christmas puddings should have been started on Stir-up Sunday – the last Sunday before Advent – when families gather together in their kitchens to mix the ingredients for their puddings. This is when the traditional ‘family recipes’ are handed down from generation to generation! Everyone takes a turn to stir the pudding mix and make a special wish for the year ahead. It used to be at this point that silver coins were added to the mix to bring the finder on Christmas Day good luck; however, nowadays people tend to sterilise (boil) their silver coins first and place one under each serving – this helps to avoid emergency visits to the dentist and family arguments as well!
Did your family take part in Stir Up Sunday? Do you make your own puddings or do you buy them? If you buy them, which do you think are the best? If you haven’t already bought your pudding, take a look at the ukmums.tv feature on our favourite Christmas puddings and get some ideas from there.
Christmas cake is another wonderful tradition – again, here at ukmums.tv we have been sampling the delights of different shop-bought cakes and we will be letting you know shortly which one is our favourite. But some of us also like to make our own and, bless her, Delia has a wonderful recipe which never fails – go to Delia Online if you fancy giving it a go!
Not everyone likes a rich fruit cake, though, so the chocolate Yule Log is gaining in popularity – Nigella has a recipe for a particularly scrumptious one at Nigella.com - what will you be having this year?
Of course, Christmas wouldn’t be Christmas without the traditional presents, wrapped in shiny paper and decorated with bows, all ‘hidden’ under the Christmas tree! Here at ukmums.tv, our children have been busy compiling their Christmas gift lists and our younger children have sent their annual letters to Santa, detailing how good they’ve been all year and what they would like him to bring them in return! Have your children sent their letters to Santa yet?
Talking of Santa visiting – we used to leave a glass of sherry and a mince pie out for Santa each Christmas and a carrot for Rudolf (pretty mean on the other poor 7 reindeers!) but we understand now that people are concerned about the health and safety aspect of Santa being inebriated in charge of a sleigh, so non-alcoholic drinks are often left out now instead and special packs of Fairy Dust and special oat mixes are sprinkled liberally around the kitchen floor for Rudolf. Do you leave anything out and, if so, what?
One of the most important things (in our house at any rate!) is our Christmas dinner! The table is always laid specially with candles and crackers and we always have a turkey for Christmas, with all the traditional trimmings – stuffing, bread sauce, pigs in blankets, Brussels sprouts, lashings of mashed potatoes, roasties and loads of other vegetables as well. There’s often very little room for Christmas pud afterwards (although we always have ‘just a taste’!) And, yes, we generally have tons of food left over – the turkey always lasts for several days and Boxing Day lunch wouldn’t be the same without the bubble and squeak made from the leftover vegetables! What’s your favourite part of Christmas dinner?
Inevitably, we always start out with good intentions of getting dinner early and, as always, we are struggling to finish in time for the Queen’s Speech at 3 pm – before we treat ourselves to perhaps the most welcome Christmas tradition of all – the liqueur coffees and chocolates as you relax and snooze after another huge job, well done!