Christmas Traditions

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As November draws to an end, and the nights are getting longer, there is a tangible feeling of excitement and anticipation in our home.  Having a seven year old child  helps the all adults in the family keep focused on the joy and purpose  of Christmas. My daughter is busy practising carols for her school concert, as a member of the choir she will have an important part to play. I love family Christmas traditions. What do you leave out for Father Christmas? We always leave a mince pie, a glass of sherry and of course some carrots for the reindeer.

We follow the same traditional Christmas lunch year after year, and I am always happy to both prepare and eat it. Our traditional Boxing Day involves packing the car (complete with the seven year old and the dog), then driving to Plymouth where we board the overnight ferry to Roscoff. We continue our Christmas celebrations in Brittany, with healthy walks on the beach, delicious seafood, and warming drinks in front of the log fire in the evening.

Homemade Advent Calendar

When my sons were small (over twenty years ago) I made an Advent Calendar, from which I could hang sweets and other little treats. They were delighted to pass it on to their little sister, and despite it's rather amateurish and patched up appearance it is now  an established family tradition.

A more recent family tradition are Gingerbread Houses.  Several years ago a friend, who was serving on the Friends of the School committee, 'volunteered' me to make a gingerbread house as a prize in the school raffle.  Of course I had never attempted one before and was petrified.  I researched Gingerbread Houses, and discovered a new food related hobby.  I now make them for  Easter, Halloween, St Patrick's and St Valentine's days as well as Christmas.  They are fun, and you can find a wonderful recipe in Sarah Raven's Complete Christmas. (There are plenty of fabulous food and flower ideas for the whole Christmas period in the book, I highly recommend it).

Preparing for Christmas

If you haven't the time to bake a Gingerbread House from scratch,  then a kit can work just as well.  For our Christmas Gingerbread House, we sprayed the kit house with edible gold, we used white icing to apply white sweets and biscuits to the roof and exterior.  The whole thing will be complete with the addition of some chocolate reindeer and snowmen.

Gingerbread house

Like my mother and my mother-in-law, I have always served a trifle as an alternative to the Christmas Pudding.  Four years ago I added a further pudding, and now we have a new tradition Buche Noel.  It's deliciously light and fluffy, as well as very chocolaty.  New family traditions can be great fun and tasty.

Buche de Noel

Best Wishes for a Happy Christmas.