Thursday, December 28, 2006

Christmas Day 2006 and the English traditions

The tree with all the presents

The table laid for Christmas lunch

Hi again

Christmas day is certainly the favourite day of the year in our family and this year was going to be no less, specially as it was to be our first Christmas in El Bosque. And this year we had Eladio’s Mother here which made it even more special.

If we celebrate Christmas Eve the Spanish way, we certainly celebrate Christmas Day the English way with no concession to change of any sort. The tradition comes from my Grandmother, my Father’s Mother, who, by way of my own experience from childhood, influenced the way I organise Christmas in this household and no doubt the same will happen to my own daughters.

Christmas Day always starts with the girls opening their stockings (knitted by my Mother when they were small) in one of their rooms together. The contents are just small tokens as the real presents come later. That is followed by breakfast all together in the dining room with the best china and a table groaning with good breakfast fare. Then the rule is we all get washed and dressed and join up around the Christmas tree to open the presents. Present opening can only begin when the Christmas Carol tape is on – it’s now over 20 years old and is getting a bit past it. Also very important for this “ceremony” is a good box of chocolates, preferably Cadburys.

The opening of the presents can take over an hour as there are more than 5 of us and each of us has more than one present for all the members of the family. Also to wind out the process even longer, only one present can be opened at a time so we all get to see what everyone has got and ooh and aah at everything. I can’t complain this year as I got a digital camera from Eladio (remember the other one was run over by Andy’s car), some Silver Rain EDT from my Father, more cosmetics, an Accessorise bag (black and white and so in fashion) from Susi and some lovely place mats and napkin holders from Oli. Everyone else seemed pretty happy too.

After the present opening came the preparations for the lunch which is always the same and cannot vary: turkey with sage and onion stuffing and cranberry sauce, brussel sprouts and roast potatoes plus the eternal English gravy followed by Christmas pudding and white sauce heavily laced with brandy. And, of course, there are crackers which can only be pulled after the desert.

The only change to the traditional English Christmas day is that we have introduced the Spanish national sport, the much loved and needed Siesta! This now takes place after the copious lunch and is appreciated by us all.

The day finishes with a family walk, a light dinner or no dinner and a film in the evening. This year it was one by Almodóvar, “All about my Mother”. I wonder what my English grandmother would have said about that?

All in all a great Christmas day. And here are some pictures of the great day taken with my new digital camera.


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