Monday, 23 October 2017
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Christmas & New Year 2016

Rebecca Reid, author and mum-of-three from Bangor gets all lit up for Christmas…

Christmas. Just saying the word gets me excited. How could it not? It fills me with the smell of fir trees and cinnamon. Warming toes by a smoldering fire, a tin of sweets on your lap (with far too many empty wrappers – oops). Popping chestnuts and making Christmas cards. Gosh, I sound more like a kid than my children, but I’m not ashamed to say that when it comes to Christmas, I am – and proud of it!

It’s well known that we’re a family of tradition, but this year we’ve added a twist. This year, right before Christmas, both my parents turn 70. The big seven zero and we thought we’d celebrate it by hiring out an old Irish castle for a Christmassy weekend away. All three families tucked away beneath the roof of thousands of years of history, experiencing the essence of Christmas the medieval way. As fabulous as this will be, it does add a little craziness to the festive season. We’ll be picking our tree very early and leaving it outside in the hope it lasts until the big day. Pre-organising everything for the big Christmas party that’s just four days after we come back and…Bumping my youngest’s birthday by twenty-four hours (I’m sure she won’t notice so long as the others stay shhhh…). But that’s the essence of Christmas, lots of hectic moments packed in around glimpses of tranquility. Or is that just our house?

There’s one more thing. Call me crazy, or simply pregnant (I think it’s that…Blame everything on the ever-growing bump), but I’ve also decided to up my hampers this year. Each and every Christmas my girls and I make an edible gift for all our nearest and dearest, however this year I thought we would go a little bit further and give everyone a proper, homemade hamper. The children are loving it and watching their little faces light up with excitement has made it all the more worthwhile. It means test making fudges and toffees, biscuits and chutneys. All the things they love. They get sticky little fingers from stirring and stickier noses from licking the bowls – quite literally, all faces in. They each get one thing that is specifically from them, which they will make and wrap with whatever ribbons and tags they pick from the bundle. There’s just something special about creating a gift from scratch and even they recognise the difference. They very clearly remember the box of handmade truffles we received last year from a friend – truffles never tasted so good – and the idea of passing that on seems to delight them. So I will have my hands full in the kitchen, and outside of it as well. I’ll take a leaf from Mrs Claus’ book as I don’t imagine she’s away from that hot chocolate or cookie-baking oven too often, do you?

Whatever you’re doing this run-up to Christmas, let’s hope it’s cold and white and filled with laughter. Merry Christmas from the Reid’s and have a fabulous one!

My hamper recipes will all be available on my Facebook Food Blog – @freshfoodliving Come on over for lots of easy, healthy recipes for you and the family.

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