Our family is steeped in tradition at Christmas. There’s the one where it’s OK to play festive tunes from the middle of November and to get in early wearing a Santa hat, if that rocks your boat.
There’s the putting up of the Christmas tree on 2 December – it’s National Day in the UAE, so a holiday from work and school is guaranteed. And there’s the tradition that there’s always one string of lights for the tree that doesn’t work. Note to self – important life lesson to teach our children … make sure the lights work BEFORE you spend ages arranging them on the tree. Oh and there are the gold popcorn garlands that deck the tree. Move over tinsel. The popcorn dates back 25+ years (yes, really) to our first Christmas when money was tight and we sat in the kitchen stringing popcorn onto lengths of cotton. How very ‘Little House on the Prairie’.
So on Day 29 of our 30 Day Countdown to Christmas, I thought I’d share what Christmas Day will look like for us this year.
It’s a bit of a different one this time. We’ve flown for 14 hours from Dubai to Brisbane and we are now Christmas holidaying in Byron Bay with our extended family. This is where surfers hang out, rubbing shoulders with travellers who arrived here 20 years ago and have never left. It’s a magical place.
So, for us it is Christmas by the beach with sandcastles, walks along the shoreline and plenty of big gatherings around the dinner table + more than our fair share of trashy Made for TV festive movies. #1 teenage son tells me that there are 237 different animals that can kill you in Australia, but thankfully we haven’t met any of them. Yet.
There’s a bird which looks very much like a turkey who wanders round the garden. He doesn’t have a name, but at this time of year, I’d just call him Brave. Thankfully, there’s also a butcher in town who’ll supply us with a festive bird without the need to get gruesome.
So what will we be eating this Christmas?
We’re going to start the turkey off in the oven and then all go out for lunch at Harvest in Newrybar. There’s a lovely deli next door, so we’ll pick up some great cheese and a few of their legendary homemade mince pies. No kit here to make my own this Christmas.
Dinner will be picnic style – a Ginger Glazed Ham, cheese (see earlier), pickled onions, tomatoes, crackers and some chilli jam. And then those mince pies.
Later there’ll be the sprinkling of magic reindeer dust on the beach so that Santa knows where to bring down the sleigh. Landing strips don’t get any better than that.
And then Grandie will read ‘Twas the night before Christmas’ and we’ll lay out a snack for the big man and his reindeer before all turning in.
We’re going to be recognising some festive food traditions this year, but also embracing Christmas by the beach. Think Delia meets Bill Grainger.
We’ll start the day with a bacon sandwich – and those sarnies + the odd Lindt chocolate reindeer will keep us all going until a late lunch.
At lunch time we’ll be enjoying –
- Turkey – cooked on Christmas Eve and stuffed with Celery, Apricot and Walnut Stuffing.
- Pigs in Blankets – aka sausages wrapped in bacon (Hella’s favourite)
- Roasted Tomato & Basil Salad
- Beetroot, Orange and Feta Salad – coming soon to a blog near you.
- Roasted Squash and Spinach Salad, with a Tahini dressing – also coming soon for your delectation.
- Roast Potatoes – Granny’s speciality
- Gravy – for those family members whose day would not be complete without it.
Then when we can find a bit of space, there’ll be Christmas Pudding (this one that I’ve recommended before from Sainsbury’s – it was transported here from the UK in Granny’s suitcase) and we’ll serve it with custard, cream or ice cream. Or all three.
Followed by Irish Coffee – we’re still perfecting this. It might be on the blog by next Christmas …
And then we’ll all slump on the sofa, open the box of Roses, exchange a few gifts and watch another trashy Made for TV festive movie.
And that will be us for Christmas. Perfect.