When do you allow yourself to start getting excited about Christmas?
Do you wait until the first advent door or candle on the wreath? Do you need to hear Mariah Carey or Michael Bublé?
As a child, I loved Stir-up Sunday. My Grandma, who we called Dodie, would arrive with her huge ceramic mixing bowl, and trays of mixed fruit which she’d spent the week picking over to remove stray stalks.
The alchemy of the perfect Christmas pud was full of mystery and wonder. Similarly, the smells of Christmas are so evocative. The opening of a can of stout (always Mackeson’s for Dodie) or the subsequent steaming always takes me straight back to that kitchen. We were not allowed to help. But always brought in for the traditional stir and wish. I think the anticipatory wait to taste your hard work adds to the joy of the Christmas pudding on Christmas Day.
Following in the legacy left by Caryl and Phil Boxhall, Fran, Mark, Beth, Lydia and I set up our second pudding event at St Luke’s. This year, more than 80 puds were made during three sessions on 17th November.
What was so lovely to see, was the age range of people making the puddings. From seasoned experts to young children, grandparents to youth group members, and groups of colleagues coming on an invitation from a friend or neighbour. There was a lovely buzz in the hall; chatter, laughter and Christmas tunes mingled in the air, with a backdrop of weighing, chopping, grating and the satisfying squelch of the final stir and wish.
As the attendees sat down on Christmas Day and enjoyed their pudding, I hope that they too have built core memories and an expectation, that this will start to mark the beginning of the Christmas season.
Many thanks to the team for all the admin, egg hunting and the all important Christmas play list!