I’m still not sure if my attitude changed or what happened, but this was the calmest, most easy going Christmas I have ever hosted. It was also one of my best, I was so well prepared and I’m the sort who stresses about things being out of control, so maybe that was what lay as the basis of my serenity. Preparation!
I woke up early on Christmas Eve and popped my first gammon in the oven and started thawing my turkey. I made 2 pans of cornbread for my stuffing.
Once it was done I added the other ingredients from my Grandma’s recipe. I had a bit of a challenge translating the ‘sticks’ of butter as an actual measurement as I do every year. Grandma never measured anything.
I baked a rich chocolate cake with fudge icing which I ended up undercooking as the kids arrived while I was making it and flubbed it up. But it ended up tasting a bit like a chocolate fondant so it’s all good.
My son Trevor and Amber his partner drove down from The Wilderness which is about a 5 hour drive up the coast from here. Josh drove down as well. They all arrived in the afternoon. We have our traditions and on Christmas Eve we always have a roast gammon, potato salad and baked beans, all cooked American style.
I cooked this gammon in coke, pineapple juice and moscavodo sugar and wrapped it tight in foil in the oven. It was so tender, really delicious.
That night we played games and just chilled out as everyone was so tired from the drive down and I was tired from cooking all day.
I got up at 7.30 and tidied the kitchen and started the dishwasher and took out some puff pastry for breakfast. I rubbed the turkey down with butter and covered it with bacon and popped it into the oven. I decided to do my second gammon in the slow cooker to save oven space. Once my meats were on the go I grabbed a coffee.
The kids started waking soon afterwards and we gathered round to open presents.
We hand them all out to everyone and then we go round taking turns so everyone gets to see what you get.
The doggies each got a stocking full of rawhide bits.
It took ages to open all the presents, but I didn’t bother with watching the clock. I decided we would eat when we were ready, whenever that was. I enjoyed the moment.
I received some fab presents! I was so spoiled. I received a big wooden Buddha from Trevor and Amber which is going on my porch.
Norm bought me the new Adele CD as well as Macklemore and Lewis. He also got a couple of gorgeous metal garden bits and pieces for me.
I just adored the ring and necklace Norm went back and bought for me from Rock Chic after I had admired it the other day.
I received a beautiful silver basin, some angel cards, a garlic press, some little party markers for drinking glasses, a stunning set of oil and vinegar dispensers, a glasses case, a wallet and makeup bag and lots of other fab things. Norm bought us new iPad covers but they sold us the wrong ones. Meh to you Apple.
The kids and Norm all got lots of clothes, games and various other bits and pieces. We were all so spoiled.
After we opened presents I decided to attempt some home made treats using puff pastry. I cut it into squares and brushed the surface with milk. I put little chocolate buttons and walnuts into the centre of the square of pastry and pulled all 4 corners into the centre and pinched them together. I baked for 15 minutes. They were delicious and so easy.
We then realized that Santa forgot to put out the stockings! Lucky for us he popped back even though he was already out the red suit.
I got busy preparing for the main meal. The menu was turkey, ham, little sausages wrapped in bacon, braised red cabbage, honey glazed carrots, broccoli casserole, both roast and mashed potatoes, roasted mushrooms, brussel sprouts cooked in chicken stock and chili, cornbread dressing, homemade gravy made from turkey drippings, and cranberry sauce. For dessert we had chocolate fudge cake, pecan pie and/or magic cookie bars.
We always have enough food for dozens even though there are only 7 of us. This year was no exception.
The kids played games while alternating with kitchen duties.
We set the table up outside as it was still quite warm. We made mimosas to go with.
My turkey was delicious and pretty.
And my plate was heaped rather obscenely.
We feasted ourselves into a food coma. Afterwards several of us napped and others watched telly, we just got horizontal with our holiday overload and relaxed. After an hour or so we got up and played some of the other new games. Everyone nibbled at leftovers when they were ready to eat again that evening. We also had staggered approaches to the desserts. I made a few pitchers of some delicious cocktails and we all had a laugh.
I felt very blessed. We ate too much, drank too much and completely overindulged exactly as one should on Christmas. But most important to me was having all my babies under one roof.
We shot our usual photos, on the stairs…..
And the obligatory silly shot.
And a few shots in the garden.
Trevor, Amber, Lily and Josh have all driven back up the coast and Norm, Caitlin and I are having a rest. I’m exhausted but so content with my life. I hope you spent the holiday happy and with someone you love.
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