Celebrating Christmas

Here’s the thing. I love Christmas. Truly, truly love it. But maybe not in the way that others do. While we don’t celebrate the day in a religious context my family (my husband and two daughters) and I mark this time with rituals and symbolism that have meaning and significance to ourselves.

Might as well get it over and done with, here’s a list of what we don’t do and why!

  • Cards (massive drain on the environment, finances and executive function.) I don’t even like receiving them!
  • Increased sugar intake (and thus increased anxiety, irritability and insomnia)
  • Parties (social interaction when our emotional energies are at their lowest of the year? Nope.)
  • Flashing Christmas lights (headaches and anxiety.)
  • Christmas crackers at home (I really can’t justify buying plastic tat produced by severely underpaid and mistreated factory workers and destined for the bin.)
  • Presents for the sake of obligation (honestly, we don’t need anything. Nothing worse than having to smile and gush over yet another item produced by those poor factory workers and using up the earth’s resources.)

But here’s what I love, love, love!!

  • Getting to spend time around my precious husband and daughters. They are my favourite company. I know we may only have a few years left before our girls create their own traditions so we’re making the most of eating good food and snuggling with them while we still can.
  • Food. Easy, simple, delicious. We do the same every year: Nigella Lawson’s cranberry and orange Christmas muffins for breakfast with orange juice and prosecco. (And coffee. Lots of coffee.) Then a mid-afternoon, fully organic roast dinner which I prepare on the day while they watch some Christmas movie. Nuts, a bit of chocolate, a bottle of organic beer or a glass of port will feature at some point but not heavily. And then Christmas pudding with custard or cream for supper. Delicious, filling and minimal food coma!
  • Decorations! Every year a real tree, and foraged mistletoe, holly and ivy. Tiny static fairy lights and decorations made from wood, metal, ceramic or glass. Also pine cones and dried orange slices. And lots of beeswax or organic soya candles.
  • We also have a range of Christmas CDs ranging from pop to jazz, classical and soul. Something for every mood.
  • And time. Time away from school and jobs is precious. So we share the housework and spend our time, resentment free, in cooking, eating, watching movies, walking the dog, reading, playing board games or just chatting and catching up – checking in with each other.

That’s the magic for us. Wishing all of you your own magical festive period, and sending you huge love 💜


Hot Chocolate for Breakfast.

My youngest (Lily) was in meltdown late last night over a wobbly tooth that was not quite ready to come out but was causing some discomfort and a fear that it would fall out in the night and be swallowed. Rational thought fell on deaf ears; comforting words were drowned out by sobs. Finally I whispered, “hot chocolate for breakfast” in her ear. She smiled, pulled the covers over her head and was asleep within minutes.

If you promise a 9 year old chocolate for breakfast you don’t get to rescind that vow on the grounds that it won’t keep them sustained with balanced and sustained energy from 7am til midday on a school day. I am possibly the strictest parent I know, but even I realise there are limits, of which this broken contract pushes the boundaries a little too far.

Rather than damaging your relationship with your child irrevocably you smugly present this glorious concoction and then gild the lily (as it were) with Sarah Wilson’s Simply Sweet Biscuits which are made from almonds, butter and stevia and thus guarantee that you and your loved ones will leave the house with a glow far superior to the Ready Brek phosphorescence (apologies to anyone not bought up in the UK in the late 70s)

For a family of four thoroughly blend 600ml organic whole milk, 200ml organic double cream, four organic egg yolks, 4 tablespoons cocoa, 1 tablespoon gelatin and your choice of natural sweetener to taste. Then very gently heat it all in a saucepan while frequently whisking.

While you sip on this thick, custardy, rich and ambrosial cup of decadence you can rest assured that not only will the fat and protein keep you sated until lunchtime, the gelatine will help heal a damaged gut (and make your hair, skin and nails strong and shiny), the A & D vitamins will support your thyroid and the chocolate content will ensure that your children love you forever.