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L I V E 2 4 -SE V EN


CLAIRE IN THE COUNTY MULLED WINE AND BRANDY BUTTER …


Christmas Eve is magical, I just love it…I always do my Christmas shopping throughout the year, but I still find an excuse to go into town on the 24th, just to feel the excitement, buzz and the bustle. The sound of the buskers, the smell of the chestnuts, it’s always a great excuse to pop into the nearest bar to meet some friends for a festive mulled wine.


Rushing home to prepare the veggies, stuff the turkey and mix the brandy butter (splashing a bit into my coffee) and laying the table up with fresh ivy and holly are our funny family traditions, but the bit that I miss more than anything is the lack of little children in the house. Mine have all grown up and moved away.


We loved the Christingle services at the local church, little oranges with candles, cocktail sticks and jelly tots - watching them try to secretly eat them behind the pew! (Sobering thought - I bet the candles are now deemed a fire hazard, and no longer used? Note to self – must Google!) Nothing can replace the excitement of returning home and putting out the mince pies with a glass of beer (Santa didn’t like sherry apparently!) Oh, and a carrot for Rudolph, how could I forget?


I used to take daddy’s wellingtons and sprinkle icing sugar around them so it looked like snow on the carpet. For me, that’s what made Christmas so magical - the fact that children didn’t twig - they just accepted that it was normal for the snow to be there. I love that they didn’t question why it hadn’t melted…bless them. A little bit of horse poo, brought up from the stable and strategically left by the back door, worked a treat. Proof that Rudolph had been. Sweetest of all was the fact that neither of my girls ever questioned how Santa managed to squeeze down the chimney and fight his way out of the log burner?


So, as you scurry around this December, trying to dash to the nativity play, rushing around buying all the presents for their stockings and trying to wrap them in secret, juggling child care and getting irritated that the little ones wake you up at 5am on Christmas morning - please stop and remember that these times are so precious. It’s OK to take time to enjoy the moment. Make those ever-lasting memories. Best of all, create your own family traditions with your children so that they can carry them on for years to come. Even now my girls like to stir the Christmas Cake mixture to make a wish!


Sitting here, surrounded with Christmas cards to write, I suddenly have an urge to seek out an orange and scrummage in the cupboard for cinnamon sticks and cloves, I’m sure I have a nice bottle of red opened…perhaps I should practice my mulled wine recipe today - just to make sure I’ve perfected it…


Wishing you all a very Merry Christmas. Oh, if you can’t be bothered with the mulled wine – just splash some of that brandy into your coffee instead, takes all the worry away!


/ 91


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