I know, I know, obvious statement, you only have to check the calendar to know that Christmas is near, but I felt it needed saying again. Traditionally this time of year is filled with family time and visiting with friends, enjoying the relaxing time we have all earned.
As much as I love having a relax with the family, it’s the craziness of this season and all the little traditions on the fringes that make this season for me.
For instance, every year, without fail, I bake a traditional english Christmas cake (usually more than one though to be honest) and I decorate it with fondant. I pick a new design every November, and without fail I usually change it just before it is time to start decorating the cake, and as regular as clockwork I always leave it to the last minute to get started. So it is no wonder that Christmas Eve is full of frantic activity (usually by me), throwing cake decorating implements around the kitchen, icing sugar flies everywhere (usually also on me) and marzipan and fondant paste bits are littering the kitchen. Everything else gets ignored until that cake is decorated. So this year, instead of decorating just our cake, I promised to make a cake for a friend and deliver it today. It is now Christmas Eve Eve and I have fulfilled my friends order – everything decorated and delivered without delay – however, our own cake, as every year, will get started on tomorrow! So I am mentally preparing myself for the usual mishaps that always occur during my decorating sessions; going overboard on rolling the marzipan, which will result in some small tear consequently being covered up somehow, not having enough fondant of a particular colour and then having to rethink the design, getting icing sugar on some very confused looking dogs in my effort to wipe it off the rolled fondant – business as usual then in the Torkington household.
The Christmas shopping frenzy is another one that, although I loath all the crowds, I love during this time of year. Going shopping for presents without Christmas music blaring cheerily from all the shops just isn’t right. All these people who get their presents in June/July may feel very smug that they don’t have to put up with the crowds, or cruising around the parking lot for hours hunting for that elusive free parking spot, but let me tell you, they feel empty inside now. They had to do their shopping without the Christmas spirit around them, no trees that were decorated for the holiday season, no screaming kids that cannot wait to see Santa and most important of all, no long lines at the check out giving you a chance to meet some new and interesting people. Although I get most of my presents the first weekend in December, I always seem to think of one more or two items I need to buy for someone, so out I go and brave the crowds. Today was such a day, and yes there were cues everywhere, and yes, it took me a little while to find a parking spot – but I got there and had fun watching some panicked men trying to remember their partners clothing size whilst embarrassingly handling some item of undergarment, trying to look like this is nothing unusual and was totally planned.
And why is it, that every year I seem to feel the need to have every little task done, especially those that I have had on my to-do list for the past six months? Cleaning the oven is one such task. I hate it, show me someone who loves this particular task and I will declare them mad (or alternatively bribe them to come to my house and let them loose on our oven). I doubt if this oven is going to get cleaned between now and Christmas day, but I live in hope and although Christmas will come and go whether the oven is clean or not. The other items on my to clean list include: washing the dogs (I am sure they’d be happy if I didn’t get around to that one), washing the sofas, washing the car and so it goes on. I think a reality check is needed here – none of those things will get done before Christmas. And again, the world is not going to end as we know it just because I didn’t wash the sofas.
I wonder which important item of food for our Christmas dinner I have forgotten to purchase this year? You know it’s going to happen; you missed to get the cranberry sauce, the brandy for the brandy butter to have with the Christmas pudding has disappeared and you could swear that you only saw the little bottle the other day in the pantry, the chestnuts you saw in the supermarket never made it into your trolley – ah found it – the chestnuts! I forgot the chestnuts – now do I go to the shop and buy some? Me thinks not, I am sure we can manage without.
The other thing that usually puts an unexpected spin onto things is wrapping paper. In our household I am usually the last to wrap presents, with the husband and daughter doing theirs first and by the time I get around to doing mine there usually is only enough wrapping paper left to wrap one DVD. You would think that after all these years I will have learnt, but oh no, it still happens every year and this year was no exception. Thankfully though, without checking the wrapping paper stock, I just resorted to buying two extra rolls the other day. Good thing I did, as brown packing paper would not have made a good alternative in my eyes.
So with all that craziness around us in this season of good will and so-called peace – I am glad for all this mayhem, as Christmas wouldn’t be the same without it!
This just leaves me to say Merry Christmas and a happy New Year to all my family and friends and my blog followers – thanks for sticking with me!