Like most families, my family really loves Christmastime. It’s special to us because of our Christian faith and also for the chance it gives us to get together with family and friends. But what traditions do we have at our family Christmas that might be different from other families?
I’m one of those people who decorates the house pretty early, generally before the 1st of December, but Christmas really starts for us the last Friday before the big day. That’s the night of our annual Drinks and Nibbles party, one of our family Christmas traditions. Our friends and neighbours look forward to it all year round and so do we! It’s a very relaxed event, our first chance to really toast the season. It’s lovely to have a chance to wish everyone a Happy Christmas face to face.
Spending a Happy Christmas Day with family is really important to me. One thing that I feel is very unique to both sides of our family is our love of vintage recipes. I’m originally from Canada, and I still make the traditional cookies and squares my family eat every year, knowing that my cousins are also making the same recipes across the pond. I still make many of the recipes from the handwritten cards in my late mom’s recipe file.
Some of the recipes, like Auntie’s Spice Cake, go back four generations.
On my husband’s side of the family, my sister-in-law and my nephews make our Christmas Pudding and Christmas Cake to my late grandmother-in-law’s recipes – both of which date back to the Victorian era. Nana was a housekeeper in a stately home and we still use the same recipes she did. The pudding recipe gives the quantities in pounds and makes two seriously large puddings or four smaller ones!
When Nana and my mother-in-law were alive, every year there would be a Christmas Pudding Competition. Both ladies would make a Christmas Pudding to Nana’s recipe and we would have to choose a favourite. I found the whole process quite terrifying as I didn’t want to hurt anyone’s feelings but everyone else got a real kick out of it!
I really enjoy eating treats and desserts made to the same recipes that our families have been using for generations at our family Christmas. Particularly now many of the older members of our families have passed away, it gives a sense of continuity that is incredibly comforting.
Like our family Christmas, our recipes evolve over the years. About two years ago I found myself enjoying the traditional Christmas Cake even more than usual. I asked my grown up nephew, who had made the cake that year, what was different. We went through the recipe and he kept saying, “no, that’s the same…” until we got to the rum. Nana’s Christmas Cake recipe calls for a couple of tablespoons of liquor but my nephew explained he’d used a bit more. He wasn’t sure exactly how much, he said, but he reckoned it was ‘about half a bottle’. Ahem. That was definitely the best version of Nana’s Christmas Cake I’ve ever eaten!
Disclosure: This is a sponsored post but the stories and opinions contained herein are completely my own.