Christmas cheer

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A tiring day but a rewarding one.

It’s been a good day today – our Christmas meal with friends. 

Since our restaurateur friends left the area for the south, we’ve held the Christmas lunch each year at our place and this year, as last year, there were 11 of us at table. I cook the meat, plus a soup and do a cheese course; a veggie friend makes a big nut roast; and the others split the vegetables and dessert between them. I make sauce, another friend makes vegetarian gravy. Everyone brings their dishes over, which are kept warm in our capacious oven, and we all have a lovely time. 

This is a very relaxed way of doing Christmas. The fact that the cooking is split means there’s no pressure. About half of us this year had the beef, which was rump roast, slow-cooked overnight, so I didn’t have to worry about timing. The soup recipe (curried pumpkin) came from another friend who couldn’t join us, and I screwed up the the quantities so large amounts of it will have to go in the freezer.

I have fun doing the table. Last year, I think I did it turquoise – I can’t remember. But this year it was red and gold and silver, with lots of tinsel, candles and sequins everywhere. The tablecloth, place settings and napkins are all paper, so afterwards they can just be bundled up and used to light the woodburner. Two lots of friends bring over four chairs each, to go with our four.  

We also do a Secret Santa, with the aim of spending one euro – maximum 2.50 euros. This year, presents included nougat-shaped candles, pierced ceramic candle holders, sugared almonds, keyrings with lights, pates de fruit and various toiletries. All of it is easy and fun. 

Afterwards, on this occasion, we adjourned to the sofas for coffee, then watched the two short films we have produced so far with Zolascope – Impasse and Albert. And then the DH and I have spent the rest of the afternoon loading and unloading the dishwasher and just chilling out.

Christmas Day itself this year will probably just be the two of us, opening our pressies early (bought by ourselves and handed to the other to wrap – romance itself). Then maybe a good movie, such as Lawrence, given the sad passing of Peter O’Toole, and cheese and crackers for tea.

There is no Boxing Day in France, so it’s straight back to work after that, before supper with friends on Saturday, then another party for New Year. And then, thank heavens, the days will being slowly to lengthen.  

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