Tuesday, 4 December 2012

Christmas prep at the Poor House

(Sorry no pics here at the Poor House)

Well while I faff about doing other stuff rather than sorting out the uploading photos problem on Blogger ( thank you very much for all your suggestions) I thought I'd just continue with my usual commentary/rants. 

This is a strange and special Christmas for me and Mr EM. It's the only one since we were first married that we have spent alone. Just us, we two. No parents still alive. All children grown up and since Number One Son departed to the USA last month,  none living on this continent. Yes we both have the odd sibling but none are close and all are definitely odd.

We aren't too sad. It's only a few short weeks since we saw our son and we spent five weeks with our Australian daughters and grandchildren earlier this year. But it is still very strange. 

As we shall be spending the holiday long weekend in London, we considered booking a Christmas Day lunch at a favourite London gastro pub. But luckily it was fully booked. Luckily? Yes - after we thought it through we realised that we would be strangers among strangers. No matter how many funny hats and whistles and glasses of bubbly, it would not be family. Or us.

We even looked at ordering a pre-prepared Christmas dinner for two from a top gourmet kitchen. Their offering for a Christmas lunch for two is a "Chicken Cushion": chicken breasts wrapped in bacon with fig and brandy stuffing and a marsala jus. How sad is that. I'm surprised they don't include the razor blades for us to slit our wrists.

No way! We've decided to cook our own Christmas dinner. Neither of us are that keen on turkey so won't bother with a prepared crown roast or even a chicken so we're going retro with roast beef of olde England and all the traditional veg. Starter of smoked salmon and thin slices of buttered brown bread and followed by a traditional Christmas pudding with brandy butter ( I make my own) and cream.  Then a gammon joint boiled in cider will do for Boxing Day and cold cuts of both joints will make delicious sandwiches spiced with mustard or chutney for chillaxing in front of the TV after a walk on the common and a drink in the local pub. 

Not a real tree this year but for the first time ever a fake one! Mr EM stated a secret desire for a silver tree - so our Christmas 2012 will have a faux silver tree from B&Q. While dropping off a load of DVDs and books at the local MenCap charity shop, we spotted bags of tree decorations at 50p each. Bought three bags. Job done. 

We have also sorted out a large selection of unwatched DVDs that seem to have accumulated as well as a few our son has left behind.  We're also working on how to arrange an interactive Scrabble game that we could play with our far flung children. Our eldest daughter is the Scrabble Queen and unbeaten in her and our world.  Then there will be the intercontinental Skypes - some forwards, some backwards in time. How weird is that?

Presents are also limited. Grandchildren have been spoiled as usual but for everyone else we've agreed on a cards only Christmas. We're all so well provided for generally but this year has been tough on finances for all of us so it makes sense to hold back for this season at least. Mr EM and I are giving each other just one 'secret' present. We've both hit on a special desire and nodded it through. No silly nonsense - just one thing that we each really want but would not normally buy for ourselves because it's so indulgent. 

And lots of clementines and nuts and chocolates of course! 

What are your Christmas plans this year? 


  1. I think you have made the right decision about enjoying Christmas dinner on your own. IN 2010 we booked a restaurant for the first time as me then elderly mother in law was struggling to get around our house in her wheelchair. It was the Christmas dinner I enjoyed the least because of the impersonal nature of being one of many. She died earlier this year and this will be my husband's first Christmas without her. My mum is going to my brother's so for the first time ever there will be just the 6 of us. I am determined to make it special.

  2. with no family now alive and my brother abroad we adore being just-we-two for Christmas!

    Stockings to unwrap first thing, then I do morning stables while Mark lights the fire and prepares champagne breakfast, lazy day reading the inevitable book gifts, wintery walk, and then after Bruce is snuggly back in his stable for the night we cook a lazy Christmas Dinner/Supper and have it on trays in front of the Christmas evening slush on tv!

    One year we actually had to GO OUT with a relative for Christmas dinner and it set us back so much we did a complete Christmas Day re-run in january complete with tree and pressies!

  3. Hi there! I've recently discovered your blog through Tom Stephenson and John Gray --

    The past few years my husband and I thought perhaps we would be on our own -- but it never happened! We now have our 12 year-old-grandson living with us and in addition our son who lives in Italy and my husband's sister will be with us -- 5 so far! Traditionally we have beef for dinner and that will be the same this year. When we thought we would be on our own we were actually rather looking forward to it -- just indulging ourselves! I would love to have an artificial tree -- as it is we are now trying to remember where everything is because earlier in the year we had a major clean-up and reorganization. So of course, now neither one of us knows where anything is!!

  4. I think your Christmas plans sound absolutely perfect! We are just having a quiet one here at home, no parents or relatives coming round, I will cook Christmas dinner (goose this year) and I want some of those profiteroles from M&S they keep showing on the advert! We will just enjoy spending the day together and will probably take the Pugs out for a Christmas walkies in the afternoon.
    See you in Frome.
    Jo xx

  5. My family is back in England so I'll be spending Christmas day with my god daughter's family, so it's a French dinner for me. There won't be a British-style festive aspect to it though as they aren't big Christmas tradionalists. Then again neither am I so I'll be quite happy with that.

    But it's not because I'm not big on Christmas that I'm against it in any way, so I hope that all those of you who are preparing a super-traditional Christmas Day have a great time and that the turkey will be cooked to perfection. :)

  6. I'm probably celebrating Xmas Eve with a swedish friend and ignoring Xmas Day - go for a long walk on the beach and meal wiht some mates!

  7. Oh my goodness, how lovely this sounds...in spite of yourself you've managed to come up with a wonderful holiday! So happy to meet you...thank you for following me and leaving such a nice comment. I'm following back, not because I'm too nice no to, but because I think you're fabulous!

  8. I'd agree, your Christmas plans sound perfect.

    We've spent every Christmas as a couple for the last ten years or so and absolutely love it. Before that it was an uncompromising routine of one set of in laws after the other and it all just became too much.

    This way, with no driving, we can have wine with lunch, a brisk walk to follow and then just relax.

    Absolutely fabulous.


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