I love Christmas, it honestly is one of my favourite times of year, for so many varied reasons. I love the meaning but also the festivities. The historical and sacred, but also the modern and secular. As soon as remembrance day is over, I feel myself beginning to gear up for Advent and the big day itself.
As with events which happen every year there are traditions that go with my Christmas that I love and always have done. But something I love even more now I’m no longer a childerbeast, and also given the changing dynamic of my family over the last ten years , is making and keeping new traditions.
This year will be the seventh year I will cook a gourmet, three course meal on Christmas Eve night. I love nothing better than spending the entire day on Christmas Eve in the kitchen, getting to try things out I’ve watched cooked on telly, and making a meal to share with my family. This tradition has come completely off my own back, but is something that is now so much part of my own person Christmas celebrations.
A long standing Christmas tradition that makes the yuletide season for me (and it’s another one involving food!) is the Lingard festive buffet. You may think that your family does a good cold Christmas supper, you may think they are the best, you’re wrong. My family’s cold festive supper buffets are The. Actual. Best. An institution started by my Nana, it is not the evening of the 25th, 26th, 27th (and sometimes even the 28th) if there is not a choice of three cold meets, homemade pickled onions, no less than 5 cheeses, a range of chutneys and the table is in very real danger of collapsing.
I would have to say that my favourite Christmas tradition though, and it may seem like an odd choice, is this. On Christmas eve, once people have finished work for the day, I meet members of my family and we go to the graveyard, visiting relatives who should be with us but sadly can’t be. It’s not a sad time, it’s a time of joy and laughter and a key part of our family story, marked with the addition of new members of the family joining us. Christmas is a time for family and that isn’t always confined to the family who are physically with you.
That is when Christmas starts for me…