Picture shows a typical dining table scene from previous years.
Alcohol and pyrotechnics
As this is my private blog, and my husband will never see it, I share here my thoughts on our 45th Christmas since we became a couple.
We spent the day with our elder daughter. She cooked a roast chicken, (no turkey, stuffing, bread sauce, cranberry sauce, sprouts or stewed apple, all of which used to accompany the main course in our Yorkshire dominated household from days gone by).
I have never liked turkey, in fact I grew to loath it over the years. We did give up with the stewed apple quite early on, it was a relic of hub's grandmother, and the bread sauce was eased out too over the years. To be replaced, unfortunately, with celeriac and mashed potato mix (with garlic infused milk).
This year, at our daughter's, no alcohol was served at all with the meal or at any other time of the day. Our daughter did not serve a Christmas pudding, or any other pudding other than one chocolate each after the meal.
This was the happiest Christmas I can ever remember in all my 70 years.
No one sulked in the afternoon, no one upset anyone else, and there were no arguments about anything.
I have put up with my husband's total domination of Christmas for the last 38 years. First we had to go to his mother's, until his grandmother died, at 96. Then his parents and sister came to us for the next 33 years. After his mother died, at 97, we stopped hosting and have spent the last two years at our daughters'. Our younger daughter hosted last year and did a roast ham buffet (well done, don't be a slave to tradition, I said). This year our elder hosted but not the whole family party of nine or ten adults, just husband and me.
Again, a wonderful refreshing break with the obsessive tradition that EVERYONE must all be crammed in together for the 25th of December. Which, as I said, I put up with for 38 years, 33 of them hosting at our house.
I was never asked, what would you like to do this year, it's your turn to choose. When his parents etc came, they always came for a full week, until I put my foot down and said they had to go after three days. Every year we had an argument about whether they could stay for three days or four.
Alcohol was served every day with the main meal, which after a very long time (too long) I realised was making me feel tired, irritable and bad-tempered.
On the big day itself, my husband always insisted on serving champagne at the start, on empty stomachs, and then opening a second bottle at the table as well as serving wine. There were arguments every year about the second bottle of champagne.
Every year, my husband made a huge performance of getting the camping gas stove out of the garage to heat brandy at the table and pour it over the Christmas pudding then setting fire to it. Everyone dutifully oohed and aahed and clapped. He thought this was the star piece of the whole show.
This year he was prevented from showing off in this way because there was no Christmas pudding in our daughter's house. (Had there been one, he would have tried to get his own way, even just heating the brandy up in a saucepan on the hob).
Oh my god, how has our marriage lasted this long. No wonder the solicitors' offices are full of people seeking a divorce in January.
Wonderful daughters, doing it their way (our younger just decided they wanted to have Christmas day in their own home this year, and would not be travelling anywhere).
Thank you God, for this lovely Christmas.