I am so glad you could all join me and my friends today. I would like to introduce my friends Sue, Ginger, Robin, Denise and Caroline who have been helping me today and whom I love. Also can I ask you a big round of applause for Peggy and Sue who work tirelessly putting all the Woman’s group programs together and to their wonderful group of volunteers who come in and set tables and help serve..
We have been working hard to give a bit of a British Christmas Experience and and tie that in with how I would celebrate Christmas day at my house.
So the room and tables are looking fabulous, you are looking fabulous,I am looking fabulous and as usual I have a few little bits of finishing off to do before I serve lunch. So settle down with your drinks and some appetizers and lets get started.
All the recipes are in your hand out and for further details check out my website.
- Sausage rolls (British, and therefore slightly superior version of Pigs in a blanket)
- Holiday Cheeseboard
I am going to leave you for a few minutes to serve lunch which will be buffet style. Now I love games and I have left you a Christmas Quiz to do whilst I am in the kitchen. The winning table gets a prize. Please don’t make me confiscate any phones, so no cheating. But before I go, we have to pull our crackers . This is a tradition dating back to Victorian times and no Christmas day lunch would be complete without them. Now everyone take their crackers, cross arms and hold the cracker of your neighbor. Now pull. It is obligatory to put the hat on, the jokes have to be awful, its the law, and the gifts are always rubbish. I can assure you that that even the queen sits with her hat on. After lunch we shall a break and I will demo one last thing
British Traditions (Pay attention as there may be some quiz answers, and remember there will be prizes)
For a start we don’t have Thanksgiving, a holiday which I love. We start preparing for Christmas early in the UK and in October I take out my favorite Christmas cookbook Delia Smith’s ‘Christmas’. It has been my bible for many years, although recently I allowed Nigella Lawson into my Christmas routine.
In October I start making my mincemeat, Christmas Cakes and Christmas Puddings. In the Uk you can buy these and they are perfectly acceptable. I have tried to buy them in the past but for me it wouldn’t be Christmas if I didn’t make them myself. The great thing about making these things is that it is part of Christmas you can tick off early. The cake needs to be fed with brandy intermittently, before finishing with marzipan and icing, but otherwise looks after itself. Now this is a fruitcake which for some reason is a standing joke in the US. I do not understand as in Britain it is revered and compulsory. Most of the foods eaton at Christmas are long standing traditions and reflect the foods which would have been available in pre freezer and global transportation. I noticed a few years ago that when all my herbs had died the only one left was sage. So guess what is the traditional type of stuffing used in the UK? Actually sage is more of an English thing. I grew up in Scotland with an oatmeal stuffing, which was fantastic, all salt and lard.
There are other things we Brits feel are part of Christmas. Cadbury’s Advent calendars. Selection boxes. Turning on the lights at Oxford St., like the Rockerfeller Center tradition. It is a big deal which song is no 1 at Christmas. Fellows Brits we could probably name five right now, Bohemian Rhapsody, songs by Slade and Wizard, Mud’s ‘Lonely this Christmas’ and of course the classic ‘Ernie, the fastest milkman in the West!’. For some reason in the US this is not important. I looked at the last 50 years and I didn’t recognize any songs.
For me my favorite day of the year is Christmas Eve, I find it magical even though Santa has long stopped leaving any gifts or pressies as we would say.
We go to church, we have drinks with friends, bit more carol singing ( you can never have too much carol singing) and then one new Eddie Family Tradition is our
Book reading. We have always read Nicholas Allan’s ‘Jesus’s Christmas Party’ on Christmas Eve just before leaving the milk and cookies for Santa.
We love the Santa tracker.
Then on Christmas day we open stockings only upstairs in bed. All of us together with the dog, and now the cat.
Then we dress and have champagne, croissants and smoked salmon in front of the fire and open more presents.
Lately we fit in a walk before lunch.
- soup, prawn cocktail
- turkey bread sauce stuffing roast potatoes
- desserts such as trifle and Christmas Pavlova
- Flaming the Christmas Pudding, banned by Oliver Cromwell as harking back to pagan rites surrounding the winter solstice.
After Lunch we do not go to the cinema
the day has markers and traditions which are there even if you don’t observe them
The Queen (please rise) continues the tradition of addressing the commonwealth
Christmas Specials. The biggest shows have their season finale aired on Christmas day. Breaking bad and the Sopranos would have finished on Christmas day in Britain.
Downton Abbey proposal was a Christmas Special
When I was little there was always a James Bond film, Now it is Doctor Who! Tardis!
Round about now we are feeling a little peckish so its time to put the kettle on for a nice cup of tea, some turkey and cranberry sandwiches and a bit of cake or mince pie.
And we don’t throw our Christmas trees out the day after Christmas because it is still Christmas.
We celebrate boxing day, and hope someone invites us to their house for drinks and if not we have that glorious thing
Boxing day, refers to when the staff got their Christmas Boxes, or gifts of money. Also when the collection boxes in the churches were distributed to the poor (remember we are an old country)
Bit of a lull, but we still keep our trees and hope for drinks party invitations and this is still the season.
New Years Eve or Hogmony
When I was little this was the big holiday in Scotland. I think it did not become a Full Scottish holiday until ( 1958) Presbyterian ChurchUS (( Oklahoma 1907 ) and my husband remembers that Santa came on New Years day when he was very small.