Traditions, old and new, that make Christmas even more magical

The-Snowman at Christmas

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Traditions, old and new, that make Christmas even more magical

 The big day is almost here and I am so excited (possibly even more than the children!)

The build up began on the 1st with my oldest tradition – the opening of a wooden advent calendar that belonged to me when I was a child (we fill it with tiny chocolates and stickers). We have many more traditions, old and new, that I cherish and that make childhood and Christmas magical – just how it should be!

 

24 books of Christmas

I saw this idea on Facebook back in November, and I thought it was fabulous. I was going to buy 24 books from a charity shop but then my eldest child sorted through his books and selected 24 which are now too young for him. We wrapped each one individually and put them under the tree. Each day one of the younger children unwraps a book which we read that evening before bed.

 

Christmas decorations

Christmas Lights Express

This gorgeous idea was on the blog http://www.realcoake.com/2012/11/christmas-activities-christmas-express.html and I just couldn’t resist it!

One evening last week each child found a ticket under their pillow for the Christmas Express. We helped them into their dressing gowns, bundled them into the car with a little cup of hot chocolate and a cookie and took them around the local streets and town centre to see all the Christmas lights. It was lovely!

 

Christmas Concert

There’s nothing that quite gets you into the Christmas spirit than a carol concert or Christmas play. Usually, we go along to the local church carol concert but this year in place of a few gifts (they don’t need more toys!) we have bought tickets to see The Snowman at the Bridgewater Hall in Manchester. It will be the first time there for all of us and I can’t wait.

 

Christmas Eve Rituals

On Christmas Eve each child is given a package wrapped in brown paper and it contains a pair of new pyjamas and a tiny teddy (from the charity shop) to cuddle during the night. We bake Christmas biscuits (see the recipe below) and leave a couple out for Father Christmas with a glass of sherry and a carrot for Rudolf. We then all hang up our stockings before our final story and bed (after a large glass of wine and a sigh of relief for mum and dad!)

 

Christmas morning

Father Christmas usually forgets to clean his boots on the way in and leaves muddy prints by the patio. He even manages to leave a little bit of his beard (cotton wool) when munching on his biscuits! Despite his clumsiness, he has filled the stockings with exciting treasures, which we open first, and hidden some bigger gifts behind the sofa.

 

Have a wonderful Christmas everyone – I hope it is peaceful and happy, and you enjoy the Christmas traditions that are special to you and your family.

 

 

Christmas biscuits

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Christmas biscuits

35–40 biscuits
15 mins prep time plus chilling
25 mins cooking time
65 Kcal per biscuit
4g fat per biscuit of which
0.3g is saturated
Suitable for vegetarians

Egg whites 2
Icing sugar 175g (6oz)
Ground cinnamon 2 tsp
Ground almonds 250g (9oz)
Lemon juice 2–3 tsp

1 Whisk the egg whites until stiff, fold in the icing sugar and cinnamon and whisk again until the mixture is of thick dropping consistency. Spoon about 6 tbsp of this meringue mixture into a small bowl, cover it and reserve. Continue whisking the rest of the mixture until it forms stiff peaks, then fold in the ground almonds and lemon juice and mix to a thick paste.

2 Form into a ball, wrap in cling film and chill in the fridge for about 1 hour, or until the mixture is firm enough to handle.

3 Preheat the oven to 200°C/400°F/Gas 6 and butter 2–3 baking sheets. Roll the dough out between two sheets of baking parchment until it’s about 5mm (¼in) thick.

4 Use a 2.5cm (1in) diameter star cutter to cut out shapes, then place on the baking sheets. Re-roll the trimmings and repeat the cutting out until all the paste is used up.

5 Bake the stars in the oven for 7–8 minutes, then remove from the oven. Reduce the oven temperature to 110°C/225°F/Gas ¼.

6 Use a pastry brush to paint the reserved meringue mixture over the top of the biscuits. Return the stars to the oven for about 15 minutes until the meringue has dried out but not browned. Remove the stars from the oven and transfer to a wire rack to cool. The biscuits will keep for up to 2 weeks if stored in a cool place in an airtight container.

Cook’s tip
Ensure that both the bowl and beaters are grease-free before making the meringue, otherwise the mixture will not whisk up to the full volume.

Recipe taken from Year Round Dairy Cookbook.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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