We are very nearly approaching the end of November, which (I think) means it’s just about acceptable to start talking about Christmas. This year, it’s kind of a big deal for me. And of course, my family.
Gone are the days where we would be sent to bed and bounce up the stairs with animated faces, our bellies full of butterflies and totally unaware that this was now prime time for sneaky carrot munching, secret sherry gulping and hidden mince pie nibbling from the grown-ups downstairs. My favourite illusion of all time. And, the most successful.
But, even though the years have passed us by and life has seen plenty of changes, one thing has always remained the same. Christmas was at home. My mother would always cook and the kitchen would proudly take on it’s important role as the central hub of happenings; the Christmas songs on repeat throughout the day spilling out - always starting with the nostalgic hum of carols, the fridge always perfectly ‘tetris-style-stacked’ with homemade goodies, the mouth-watering smells forever oozing and making tummys rumble with sheer excitement, home to the first toast of champagne for the day and the place where you’d always find my dear Grandmother drinking a cocktail, whilst peeling a mountain of vegetables. And, whilst we were all tucking into our favourite meal of the year in the dining room, it was the kitchen the Queens voice would softly flow from - encouraging us to hush so we heard at least a little of the speech, of course.
The kitchen; a place of tradition.
This year - however - my mother isn’t cooking. And this year, we won’t be celebrating in the family home. This year, for the first time, my family and I will be spending Christmas at my house. It’s about time I took on the role as chief ‘Christmas Day Host’ and let my mother take a well-deserved step down from job. But, can I really follow in those very big, very traditional, very well-oiled footsteps? I think there’s something quite spectacular in nailing Christmas Day, it’s an art. Can I get it right?
My partner and I have a good-sized kitchen, so that’s a start. There’s definitely enough room for Christmas morning ‘welcomes’, hugs and “let me take your jackets?”. Plenty of space for after-dinner games around the table, very important cocktail making and festive Prosecco-fueled dancing whilst waiting for the (damn) potatoes to crisp. But, can I succeed in ensuring the same homely atmosphere we’ve had for the past 30 years? Can I carry on our much-loved traditions in a new space? Will my kitchen stand up to the test and provide my family with smells, sounds, and sights that have been an annual familiarity for decades?
I am slowly preparing myself, and by preparing, I mean decluttering my cupboards and rearranging my pots, pans, trays and cutlery. That’s important, right? Especially if the ladies in your family are as nosey as mine. Is this your first time hosting Christmas too? How are you prepping for the day? Is your larder full to the brim and stocked with all the festive must-have essentials? I’ve always quite fancied owning a larder, for both practicality and style. Though I know I’d forever be rearranging it, especially at this time of year. In homes up and down the country, I’m sure the very top of the larder is currently being used to hide chocolatey treats from little hands before the big day…
I have to keep reminding myself that us newbies still have time. Time to stock up and time to write another list of ‘to-dos’. But, I’m already waking up in the night thinking about synchronising integrated ovens and timing sprouts to perfection. Are you? It’s little things like that though, the synchronisation of integrated ovens, that are going to make this whole thing so much easier, right?
Yes, it’s going to be different this year. But, I have faith in myself, my home and my kitchen.
Plus, I know my family do too.
After all, that’s what it’s all about. It’s the people you love that make Christmas, Christmas. Whether it’s family through blood or friends that have become family. That’s definitely the most important thing. And, that’s why I love working for a family run company – especially during the festive season. Here at Collins Bespoke, we believe in that family Christmas spirit too, so designing and creating beautiful kitchens - that are ready to entertain family life, is something we really take pride in.
Hoping all your preparations are going really well. It’s going to be great…(just don’t forget to enjoy yourself too!)