Where are you on the Christmas scale of Santa’s Little Helper to Christmas Grinch? I’m sorry to say, I’m definitely towards the grinch end of the spectrum. Christmas carols in the supermarket in October? What cheek. Garish light extravaganzas that can be seen from the moon? If it’s still up come January 25th, beware the wrath of my scissors. But it’s not because I hate Christmas that the gaudiness gets under my skin – it’s because I love Christmas! It’s a sacred time for many, made special because of its meaning, it’s fleetingness, and its rituals. The summer season is full of delightful things: long, warm days spent reading, cooking, road tripping, swimming and hiking. But the day itself is really special. I love the traditions that have been built over generations, and even traditions that you’ve begun yourself, however small, like watching a particular movie (LOTR Trilogy) on Christmas eve, being in charge of a particular dish (my grandad was Chief Brandy Butter Taster), and attempting new traditions (last year I made essential oil perfume with rose petals for my friends. I left them in the car, they went rancid in the summer heat, no one got presents for me last year). And of course getting together with your friends and family day after day is pretty great too.
So, in the spirit of all the things I love about Christmas, let your December fika be about celebrating old traditions – and making new ones too.
Christmas is a time for a page turner, sitting on the back deck, knees turning pink, coffee in hand (or cocktail – see below). I’ll be reading Trent Dalton’s All Our Shimmering Skies. Based off his last book which was weird and wonderful, I think I’m going to enjoy it.
When you’re in a tizzy because the guests are arriving, you’re up to the elbows in salmon blinis, and your child has commandeered the iPad with the eggnog recipe that you’d never made before – remember this ditty:
One of sour, two of sweet
Three of strong and four of weak
A dash of bitters and a sprinkle of spice
Serve well chilled with plenty of ice
It’s your new favourite Christmas carol. Bajan Rum Punch.
- 1 part lime juice
- 2 parts demerara sugar
- 3 parts dark bajan rum
- 4 parts soda water
- dash bitters
- 1/4 tsp nutmeg
Combine in a big bowl of ice. Done!
Recipe found in Gourmet Magazine by Paul Carmichael
Do you listen to the same Christmas albums every year? I have three I rotate through, a childhood favourite, a traditional, and one I found by accident when I thought The Avalanches has released a sneaky third album covering Christmas classics in the style of 1970’s surf rock. They hadn’t. It was an actual 1970’s surf rock band, also called The Avalanches, who released one Christmas album and that’s it. But I love it. But let’s find another album to add to the mix!
This guy is prolific in general, but also apparently makes a Christmas album every year and gives them away! Spreading Christmas cheer throughout an apartment block in NYC. We can’t track down those ones, but here’s a collection from 2001 – 2006. Enjoy his folky, upbeat, offbeat yuletide tune.
This one isn’t an album, it’s not even music, but a collection of Christmas related stories collated by The Moth Radio Hour, one of my all time favourite podcasts. They’re real, uplifting, thoughtful, hilarious and capture the magic of this season in a unique but relatable (kind of – I’ve never been an elf in the White House or had a pet monkey) way.
And please listen to David Sedaris’ ‘Santaland Diaries‘. He’s great. Very funny, charming, droll, honest, like a New York Eeyore.
I hope these little fika moments sprinkle some magic fairy dust over this season for you, and I really want to hear what your traditions are! Spread the festive cheer