Tuesday, 17 September 2019

Getting Ready for Christmas - Make/Give something Out of Nothing

Christmas does not have to be an expensive or extravagant affair Christmas can in your household reflect what you want it to or adhere to your beliefs and your style of celebration. whether that be quiet and reflective or all out party animal. What is right for one person is not necessarily right for another.  

In this day and age not everyone has the funds to be really extravagant but that does not mean that we cannot celebrate Christmas or have a good time. Sometimes people jump to conclusions because you don't join in with something (perhaps because you do not have the funds to spend on the proposed jaunt and don't want them to know that you are on your uppers)  People have their pride.  What we do not have the right to do though is to judge, assume or to criticise because they choose not to do something.  They probably have not mixed in because the money required to do that thing would be taken from the food budget which they have cobbled together in tight circumstances to give their family a  lovely meal.  It comes down to personal choices.  We can do some things but not necessarily all of them.  The worst thing you could do in this scenario is to put down that person's efforts to actually provide the best they can in the circumstances. In reality they have my respect because they are getting up and having a go trying to make the difference for their friends and family. 

We are all different there really is no right or wrong way - just your way.  The trouble is today is people have expectations and when you quite don't fit into them or quite meet them that's when the problems can and do start.  What is right for one person is not necessarily right for another.  There are little differences between us all and those little differences or take on things can actually spark an idea in another and so the creative processes start to flow.  So thank you for the little differences.

We celebrate Christmas our way, and that way is up to the individual or individuals concerned - Christmas is very subjective.  However for me Christmas is above all about being with and celebrating the family.  Its the one time when you should be spending time with family and friends, re-affirming your bonds and having and sharing a good meal to boot. When I say a good meal that is what I mean  - not the latest recipe for this or that  or the most expensive meat or really rare fine wine, but food we want to share and which tastes good. Some of the best meals I have ever had have been home cooked simple fare with home made country wine to go with the meal.  Good cooks and good cooking are not to be sniffed at as mostly from my experience if they are really good cooks they are giving unconditional love to everyone in the way they know how as well as feeding everyone.

We all like to look after our family and guests and to put on a good meal and make sure that everyone is fed.  But what if there are not  many pennies in the pot.  There is always something you can give of yourself either in the form of a meal or by making a home made present, or a little note telling the bearer that this voucher entitles them to a home baked fruit cake at a time to be chosen by the recipient or offering some gardening assistance, child minding - it is still a gift of oneself an unusual one but still a gift.  With me now returning to full time work time between now and Christmas will be at a premium.  I am starting to plot things and events.  Some things I will get to and others will have to be missed.  I am also plotting in my diary when I am making Christmas cakes and Christmas puddings.  I intend doing baking but a lot will be frozen in advance and then cooked from fresh.  When I had Mum  she would always bake for me and my brother, some sausage rolls, some mince pies and some of her ~Viennese fingers.  That little bit of baking we enjoyed so much my brother and I, but her gift of time made a difference and was a big help to us both which meant what time we did have could be used to do something else.  It also used to make my mum feel wanted and involved.  So if you do have older members and younger members in the family mix them up and get each to help the other both generations will learn from one another and it is precious time.

Sometimes a thoughtful gift here or there can be a life-saver and when it comes as part of a gift even more considerate.  Christmas really is for the little ones and they learn at our feet and we are their role models.

When you are part of a larger family sometimes you can plan between yourselves what you are going to do i.e. one sister in law provide the starter, one the pudding and the host provide the main meal.  The following year go to another sister in law's home and swap the meals between each other on a three year rotation which means you all contribute one way or another.  Alternatively split the overall costs between the three families.

But giving something of yourself that comes from the heart  - now that is pretty special to me  - its showing that you care. That for me is the true meaning of Christmas - sharing what you have with friends and family who you love.

One of the reasons I make so many jams, preserves etc. is that I also have a ready homemade present to give as a small pressie to celebrate the season.  Most people I know are always grateful for a jar of something especially if it is home made or a bottle of something i.e. wine or a home made liqueur

Perhaps I am forever the idealist but this to me is the proper non-commercialised Christmas of my childhood.  We would receive some lovely presents (my brother and I were very lucky) but we also received lots of home made presents like knitted jumpers from my Nan, as well as the occasional toy(s). We always had new pyjamas for Christmas Eve.  Sometimes made, sometimes bought. And we didn't have to have this or that.  Any present to us then was a bonus which we were grateful for and for which we wrote "Thank you" notes to the sender.  Much more charming and honest.

What sort of Christmas do you wish for, for yourselves and your family.  

Look forward to hearing from you.

Catch you soon.



1 comment:

  1. I think I will make my fruit cakes next week; and maybe a carrot pudding for the freezer. We enjoy those so I like to get them done early! I love Christmas baking...actually I love everything about Christmas except the shopping. I love the baking, the cooking, the wrapping, decorating, etc!


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