Simplifying Christmas

As I peruse the magazines for Christmas Day food ideas and see the lovely settings on the tables that look picture perfect, I have decided to go down a more simple path.

We have family at our home this year which delights us. To keep it simple is easier I figure and not stress too much. It’s the people who matter most, not how lovely the table looks and how exquisite the food is. The Christmas story, I think, has always been about the people.

We seem to get caught up in the Northern Hemisphere way of doing things, but we as New Zealanders are quite a casual bunch in the summer. We are about sun, blue skies, water and pohutukawa trees. I still don’t get why we have Christmas cards for sale with snow and a very wintery theme running through our decorations.

These are my Christmas lunch ideas so far…..

A glazed ham on the bone.

Salmon fillet on the barbecue

Slices of lemon put along the fillet and wrap in tinfoil and barbecue.

New potatoes (I think Jersey Benne are the best)

A few different salads that everyone can bring (I must let them know that!)

To finish off, homemade berry ice cream and pavlova drizzled with mixed berries.

Christmas crackers and a cathedral cake. (Which I’m going to try making this year).

Over the years I have noticed that the boys in the family as they are growing up like meat and potatoes and the dessert!

We play a game where everyone has to buy a $5 gift, (as crazy as possible), wrap it up and put it in the washing basket. We all then draw a number out of a hat and so the game begins. Number 1 goes first to choose a gift from the basket and so on. But if a higher number participant likes the look of someone else’s lucky dip then they are at liberty to swap with them. This game is a highlight of the day, funnily enough. Usually at the end the kids score pretty well with everyone giving their gifts to them.

The important thing I think is to have family traditions. This is what the kids remember most about Christmas for years to come. It builds happy memories. There is always time to make new ones too. Bryan has started reading the ‘Night Before Christmas’ on Christmas eve to any grandchildren that are with us.

p.s. With a large gathering of family the meals either side of Christmas need to be thought about and planned for just as much. Stocking up on the essentials and having the meals planned ahead of time helps.

Please share some of your favourite ideas with me, that I in turn can pass them on to the readers of Make Lemonade!