Belated post, written one week ago!
“Christmas comes but once a year, and when it comes it brings good cheer.”
. . . or does it? There is such a build-up to the festive season each year that it is easy to feel let-down and disappointed. Shops start to sell Christmas stuff as soon as Halloween is over, if not sooner. Magazines exhort their readers to make this year “the best Christmas ever”, concentrating mainly on food and recipes. Harassed housewives are advised on how to cook turkey despite the fact that this is an annual occurrence and they managed perfectly well last year.
Hype and commercialism aside there is something very special about Christmas. Every year I vow to be better prepared for the festive season and every year it is the same. I am so busy ignoring the shelves of Xmas gifts that have suddenly appeared in the stores, displacing the usual stock and blocking my ears to the dirge of Xmas songs in the supermarket that it just takes me a while to get into the spirit of thing. The lovely thing is that Christmas never changes. The ritual of putting up the tree signifies the start of festivities. If, like me, you carefully store away Christmas decorations then the very act of taking them out to hang once again generates floods of nostalgia. Then there are the Christmas cards to be sent. I like to enclose my annual newsletter inside the envelopes of family members. Apparently “round robins” are going out of fashion – for which I am grateful. One of my friends used send out a six-page missive detailing every event of the previous twelve months – and which I never read! So I stick to one side of A4. Right now I am sewing, making calico shopping bags as gifts to encourage recipients to avoid plastic. With only a week or so left I am wondering how to fit everything in. I always bake my own mince pies because I dislike bought varieties so I have to find time to do some baking. I may forgo putting up Christmas decorations. It is fun to decorate the house but something has to give.
For Josceline Dimbleby’s recipe for the mince pies click here.
I prefer the orange pastry without the added sugar. I bought Josceline’s Christmas recipe book years ago, in Sainsburys. Online she now has a modifed version of her recipe, (click here), where she adds two fresh cranberries to the pies instead of cream cheese.