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image imageIt’s the end of the year and there are festivals and religious events throughout the land. In our family we celebrate Christmas. Not so much as a religious holiday although we recognise the origins. For us, me and my kids, it is a time for being together, of overeating and present giving. It’s also a time to pause and reflect on family or our achievements over the  years, the growth in our waistlines (me) and the growth in the grandchildren.

christmas

Christmas time in Dweebenhiem

 

I think about why Christmas became such a thing for us. When I was growing up, Christmas was a thing and then when my parents split it was part of the divorce settlement or something as it no longer existed in my parent’s hearts. My mum was lackadaisical and my dad well he tried in a drunken adult sort of way. I grew up too early. Christmas became a source of pain from the age of ten. Getting up to no presents under the Christmas tree, knowing that there was no actual magic and delight and just feeling the pain of being and feeling alone, unloved and unnoticed.

silver tree

 

So when it came to having a family of my own I made sure that Christmas was a special time. When I was married, my husband and I decided to have a few traditions that would be ours. Even though we split a bloody long time ago, a couple of those traditions still linger. It is our tradition since Taamati was born to have trifle. It’s a simple dish of canned fruit, sponge cake, custard and cream. Sometimes it had coconut and even jelly, but the essential components remained. These last couple of Christmases my son has taken over a lot of the dessert making and has made the trifle into a new food group. It is really strange to me that we don’t have trifle at any other time of year even though it’s quite simple to make. It’s just the thing we have on Christmas. We also have pavlova! Because we are gluttons! Then I started to make plum puddings and Christmas cake too. Oh god! Just thinking of all this is making my belly ache.

tree

Tree decorated by the grandkids

 

We have tried to cut back on the food but it always remains the same with desserts I think. Taamati has taken to making those too. This year he lives in China and is only back on Christmas Eve so he’ll be excused from some dessert duties but not all.

nutcracker

The other tradition we adopted is that we have our celebrations on Christmas Eve. This goes back to me and my relationship with Tony. He was Italian and that is the traditional European celebration time. After I split from Tony, my kids asked me to keep it at Christmas Eve.  After nearly ten years they were used to that timing. It left them free to go to their partners’ family dinners on Christmas Day and I kept up the tradition of not cooking on Christmas Day. We just lie around watching movies and reheating food. These days I go with Matthew to visit his parents on the farm and share some turkey and salad and open presents. It’s a long haul – all the cooking—but these days it’s not too onerous. It used to take me three days to prepare. This year it was only two evenings.

 

My daughter also organised organic meats for the roasting and that’s very special indeed! We usually have antipasto-grilled vegetables, ham and other cold means,  prawns, tortillia de patatas, pasta, salads, cheese, olives etc etc. Then comes the main course, roasts meat of various kinds, turkey, lamb, pork, ham, chicken, with roast vegetables (potatoes, pumpkin, sweet potato), spinach and cheese sauce, peas, gravy etc etc…and then there are desserts …somewhat later in the evening.

 

One of my daughters said to me that I always made Christmas special when she was young and we’ve kept that up. It was magical and fun and that’s what has carried over into adulthood. I recall when I started to study and I had little money and made presents. I was still sewing clothes for the dolls on Christmas Eve. (Back then we did the Christmas Day celebrations). She still remembers coming out to all the dolls in new clothes and the basket bassinettes. I did that every year. My kids were still having stockings until their twenties. Now with the grandkids we keep up the tradition. The young ones get to open their presents  Christmas Eve and wake up to their stocking on Christmas morning. Usually there are lots of presents…heaps of presents because they are all combined.

santa

So I treasure that the effort I put in meant something to my kids growing up and that they treasure it that much that they continue the tradition of making Christmas a special time. I love my family (and friends) and I love knowing that something I put a lot of effort into means so much to them and that if they keep it up their children will continue it on down through time.

Sigh. Merry Christmas everyone!

Oh and if you have  an new ereader and like dark fantasy then  my book Dragon Wine book 1 -Shatterwing is free!

Below is the blurb

Dragon wine could save them. Or bring about their destruction.

Since the moon shattered, the once peaceful and plentiful world has become a desolate wasteland. Factions fight for ownership of the remaining resources as pieces of the broken moon rain down, bringing chaos, destruction and death.

The most precious of these resources is dragon wine – a life-giving drink made from the essence of dragons. But the making of the wine is perilous and so is undertaken by prisoners. Perhaps even more dangerous than the wine production is the Inspector, the sadistic ruler of the prison vineyard who plans to use the precious drink to rule the world.

There are only two people that stand in his way. Brill, a young royal rebel who seeks to bring about revolution, and Salinda, the prison’s best vintner and possessor of a powerful and ancient gift that she is only beginning to understand. To stop the Inspector, Salinda must learn to harness her power so that she and Brill can escape, and stop the dragon wine from falling into the wrong hands.

Dragon Wine Book 2 :Skywatcher, the follow on book is also available in ebook and print.

Try the publisher’s website to the links to your retailer. Here.

Dragonwine

Dragon Wine Series

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