Wednesday 5 December 2007


I know it's barely December, and at this rate we'll spend a fifth of the year celebrating Christmas, but I can't help it. Love the festivities, as I've said, and this year made even better by the revelation that I do like mince pies - have spent a decade believing my childhood dislike was unchanged. It's going to be a good year...

Anyway, Nan has tagged me for a Christmas meme (what a strange sentence, and shows just how much technology affects language... discuss) so here goes:

What is your most enduring Christmas memory?
I think it must be when we were eight, and Mum & Dad both had awful flu. They stayed in bed, except for a brief appearance to open presents, but had wisely procured remote control cars for Colin and me - we spent a contented two days playing with them, and the batteries ran out just in time to coincide with the parents being able to stagger down the stairs. How callous children are...

Do you have a favourite piece of Christmas music?
Nan says In The Bleak Midwinter, and I have to agree. Also love O, Little Town of Bethlehem, and, on a less classy note, All I Want For Christmas Is You...

Do you stick to the old family traditions?
I still have Christmas with the old family, so yes! I don't know if we do anything that my grandparents initiated. Most of the things we do on the day itself are dictated by Our Vicar being Our Vicar - Christmas dinner is on Christmas Eve, because he has so many services to do, and we open presents after a leftovers meal on Christmas Day. And there are certain cake decorations that must go on the cake every year. Oh, and we have a couple of Harrods Christmas decorations which are proudly displayed (when I bought the 79p I was actually moved to a less salubrious queue at the back of the shop) - in fact, in Worcestershire they stayed in place all year, hanging from the light fittings, so that people wouldn't bang their heads.

What makes your mouth water at Christmas time?
Chocolate pies (like mince pies, but with chocolate spread in - it goes all crumbly and delicious when baked), roast potatoes, brussel sprouts (WHY do we only have these once a year? They're brilliant), stuffing, mulled wine. Yet to find a vegetarian meat-substitute which gets me incredibly excited. Quorn roast is quite nice, but I defy anyone to get very excited about a nut roast. Going to experiment this year, methinks...

How soon do you put the Christmas tree up and when do you take it down?
Here's how it goes - every year I nag for the tree to go up on December 1st; the Carbon Copy says 24th December is the day; Our Vicar's Wife says perhaps we don't need a tree after all; the tree goes up about the 15th. I nag everyone to help me decorate it, the Carbon Copy helps a bit under duress, I criticise his efforts and re-do them, the parents subtly disappear. It stays up until the day before the annual Epiphany Party, usually.

Oh, I love Christmas.


  1. Great post, thanks! In our family, we like to celebrate some of the older traditions we've carried on through the generations, and combine them with new ones we start (at least one every year). Our favorite book on the subject is Together: Creating Family Traditions. Enjoy your new mince pie indulgence!

  2. What a lovely post, Simon.
    I'll be cooking the usual roast goose for the meat-eaters in the family but I never give the other half of the party meat-substitutes. I look for the most sumptuous veggie recipe I can find. Last year I did a roasted red pepper, cranberry and goats cheese terrine and everyone wanted to eat it.

  3. Thanks for doing the meme, Simon. I loved reading it. So, is it the Mariah Carey version of All I Want For Christmas Is You that you like? Did you see the amazing young girl singing it in Love Actually? Olivia Olson is her name. If you missed the movie, it would make a great addition to your December viewing.

  4. ha, love how all i want for christmas is you is one of your favourite christmas songs. i wonder if your blog readers would like to hear about your particuarly charming version sand in the staff canteen!?!


  5. I love your reference to quorn. My Aunt is a vegetarian and every time I go to England I stay with her and quorn, in various guises, always makes an appearance!

  6. Such a fun post ... so glad to read it.

    It was actually Christmas that ended my vegetarian bent ... as you say there is no exciting vegetarian substitute for the roast, etc. I share your experience of living in an anglican (episcopal) rector's/vicar's home. It definitely affects the agenda.

  7. There are lots of interesting recipes for Brussel Sprouts, see Madhur Jaffrey "Eastern Vegetarian Cooking" and Jane Grigson's "Vegetabe Book" for examples; so eat them at times other than Christmas too!

    Dark Puss


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