Sunday, December 23, 2007

The Christmas Train is Coming and I've Strayed onto the Tracks

(Hmm...one day I might write a country and western song called that)

Christmas starts tomorrow for us, with Martin's immediate family. We're doing Christmas lunch and presents on Christmas Eve, which has become something of a tradition, except for the years we're in Tassie for Christmas. On Christmas day we're having a quiet day at home and then seeing Martin's extended family in the evening, at his Aunt's house in Williamstown. The kids had a ball there last year, I'm looking forward to it, though I always miss my own family when we do a Melbourne Christmas. We wrapped all our presents last night. I am making some things too that aren't quite finished. A bag for Una with a big girl on it and I've written a fairy tale for Fred called The Robber Princess (based on a character she invented when we were in Queensland) which needs to be bound. Martin and I have already done some illustrations.

I've been feeling a bit spiritually bereft this Christmas and churning over what we can do next year to make Christmas feel a bit more meaningful. We're not Christians (I grew up going to Church sporadically but pretty much the whole family gave it up before i hit teenhood), but I do yearn for some kind of ritual or ceremony. I love the idea of Carols by Candlelight but it's become increasingly more commercial everywhere - too many ex-Australian idols warbling up and down the scales so that it's physically impossible to sing along to any of the carols. Ach. Or maybe it is just the melancholy that is Christmas, the belief that other people elsewhere do it properly and with the kind of golden grace saved for Christmas specials, combined with an air of nostalgia for Christmases past, when I believed in Santa and Jesus and the magic of Christmas. Maybe Christmas is only really magical when you're not responsible for making it be.

Anyway, food. We're going to roast a leg of lamb for Christmas lunch and have it with this:

Dani's Raspberry and Feta salad
300g raspberries (frozen will work if fresh are too overpriced)
1/4 cup vinegar
1/4 cup honey
500g mixed salad greens
150g crumbled feta (bulgarian is perfect for this)
1/2 cup chopped hazelnuts, toasted
Stir 1/2 berries into vinegar. Stand 1/2 hour. Puree with honey and season to taste.
Just before serving, combine all salad ingredients and dress.

Dessert will be chocolate shiraz raisins and a quiet afternoon in front of the Are You Being Served? Christmas specials DVD as we recharge our batteries for a big night of watching the children degrade into general feralness.

Boxing day is Martin's birthday.

The day after is mine.

What's everyone else doing for Christmas day? Recipes strongly encouraged.