This is the time of year when I want to do a ‘wreath making’ course, deck the halls and simmer mulled wine.
I certainly want to be festive…pop some fizz, nest and be jolly. Know the feeling? So how to make Christmas special? what family traditions will we make our own? especially as time is suddenly marching on, no longer ‘when we were 6’ but ‘now we are 8’.
Christmas is about continuity. Family traditions are important, festive activities or events which become ritualised so that they are imbued with a golden glow. Fingers crossed that as they get older they might still might want to do festive favourites (sometimes with us?). Be it ice skating, the panto (a singularly British affair) oh no it isn’t… OH YES it is, to decorating the tree all together (glass in hand, carols blasting) to turkey basting (glass in hand, carols blasting).
At its heart Christmas isn’t lists and (tut-tut) conspicuous consumption, it’s a heart warming pit-stop in darkest winter, celebrated since pagan times: bringing friends and family together… oh and possibly mother-in-laws.
My mother is basically a Martha Stewart and I remember all the baking and crafting days that led up to the main event. Mincemeat day, the yuletide ‘log’ and of course wreaths and garlands after gathering buckets of evergreen foliage.
Now it’s my turn to be Mum, NO PRESSURE. When they were little the snowman scene was a winner.
Now we’re bigger and quite the bakers, I have decided to embrace gingerbread, for two good reasons: I don’t like traditional Christmas cake and with gingerbread you can literally – Let it Go – from fairy tale cottages to Frozen palaces, as this was our first construction we settled for ‘woodland cabin’. How hard can it be I thought? The recipe is basic (yeah) the medium forgiving (double yeah) so let’s go:
- Note: Adults in the family now collapse glass in hand, younger members collapse into bed aprés sugar-crash …dreaming of Hansel, Grëtl and Santa Claus to the rescue.
The future, well I have never forgotten teen-neighbours whose Christmas cakes became legend, Christian children look away now:
Where could gingerbread go for the mine craft generation? It has an authentic role at the heart of our Christmas past: gingerbread has been baked and moulded for festive celebrations in Europe ever since Crusaders returned from the Holy Land, Medieval Europe even had gingerbread guilds and masters. So our Christmas baking holds hands through time into a traditional past, yet it’s fantastically malleable for the future, this gingerbread is a family legend in the making.Now … where’s that fairy?
Check out A Decorative Affair’s ‘Christmas’ board… it’s growing.
Recipe: BBC good food.
Tutorial: You Tube… for the ambitious.