British friend Emma came back to Bordeaux yesterday and told me about her walk down Regent St and all the beautiful Christmas decorations. Today she is going to decorate her home and bake hundreds of Christmas mince tarts..
American friend Janice flashed us an iPhone photo of her "Christmas Holiday Pagent" Christmas tree which she decorated last weekend. A tree of childhood Christmas dreams..
I bought a xmas tree yesterday and spent all afternoon decorating it with my daughter. I drove her nuts with my styalised colour scheme...No, Colombe I won't have green plastic bead chains on my zinc glass bauble theme tree!!
I have baked my sister's wonderful Christmas cake..
There are truly beautiful Christmas fairy lights on the trees down the main avenues in Bordeaux..
I am having a Christmas Treat Cooking Workshop with at least 9 women here in my home on Saturday..
France is brilliant for almost everything but she just doesn't do xmas like anglo/americans...
The Christmas of my kiwi childhood was Christmas kitch with canned snow and trimmings juxtaposed against clear blue skies and BBQ mentality but there was certainly alot more "spirit" than here. At Christmas we used to feel "christmassy." My mother would bring out all her decorations including a spinning xmas tree that played "We wish you a Merry Xmas," a 50's nativity scene in which the Mary had a tight curly perm under her wimple etc. She would put on her Christmas records...Do you hear what I hear would float across the Parnell sky.
As a school girl the school choir would get on the back of an old truck ( something that would never be allowed here because of insurance!!!grh) and go into the hospital parking grounds and sing carols..as an even smaller child my mother would take me in the trolley bus up to Farmers to look at the giant Santa with his beckonning finger!
December was punctuated by Christmas parties. I can still feel myself sitting at the bottom of the shagpile stairs waiting to open the door for guests and take them upstairs to the living room... On Christmas eve it was an all day open house, my mother would spend all week cooking and mixing litres and litres of Egg Nog from a 1963 Gourmet Magazine which she picked up in New York the same year. The living room would be decorated with hibiscus and frangapani from our garden..
I understand now after many years in France that the main difference is that Christmas in France is very much reserved for family. It isn't a time to rejoice with your friends.
I wrote in an earlier post that hopefully I could bring something useful to the old country and I believe that all our anglo/american efforts at xmas are exactly this. As off shorers its important we retain our Christmas heritage and invite the french to taste it.
Today, off to the Irish shop to buy crackers and xmas mince!!
ps I also think everyone deserves to at least read my mother's amazing 1963 egg nog recipe.The quantities are unbelievable.