It’s that time of year when the chill in the frosty air brings us indoors to hunker down with thick comforters and mugs of steaming hot chocolate overflowing with fluffy marshmallows. When holiday music and movies become the soundtrack to our everyday home lives. When we gather ‘round the fire for company, drink, food and love. When we are celebrating and remembering those we treasure and hold near and dear. When the real meaning of the season is family – by our DNA or by our heart. When we reflect and give thanks for all we have. In a nutshell, unconditional love.
I’d like to welcome Ann Cleeves to share the beauty of the season with us.
Favorite Holiday tradition?
Stockings! We still fill stockings for our grown up children and their partners as well as the grandchildren. We don’t open them until after lunch.
Favorite childhood toy?
Pogo stick. Do they make them any more?
Favorite childhood game?
I always disliked board games. Still do.
Snow ball fight or making snow families?
Sleigh rides, sledding or skiing?
We don’t get that much snow here (except for last year!) We go sledding with the children if there’s snow.
Favorite Holiday song?
The Pogues’ Fairytale of New York
Favorite holiday movie?
Wizard of Oz. A bit of a tradition.
Favorite holiday story to read?
M R James ghost stories. Tremendous for reading out loud by a big log fire.
Snow on holiday eve or just a chill in the air?
Snow. Once I’ve done all the shopping.
Most memorable holiday memory?
One year my husband and I escaped to France for the holiday. We had lunch in a wonderful village Bistro. The whole community turned out and welcomed us as part of the village. And the food was amazing!
Did you eat popcorn balls as a kid? If you did, do you still?
No, never eaten it.
Real tree or artificial? Green or white?
Real of course! My husband is collecting ours as I’m writing this.
What do you holiday eve?
Peel vegetables. I have lots of people for lunch on the big day and I like to get prepared.
What are your holiday plans this year?
We’re staying at home and all the family are coming for the day. One daughter and her family live within walking distance. The other and her husband and children will stay the night.
What’s the one holiday dish your family can’t go without?
Christmas pudding – steamed fruit pudding flamed with brandy and served with custard.
Please share a Holiday recipe.
I like red cabbage cooked slowly with apples, onions and lemon juice. It brings a sharp contrast to the turkey or goose and you can cook it well in advance.
Holiday party tip?
Sloe gin cocktail. Sloes are berries – a bit like very small plums and they grow in the wild. You prick them and steep them in gin with a little sugar in the autumn. By the holiday, the liquid is deep purple – a beautiful colour. Mixed with fizzy wine, it makes every party go with a swing.
Favorite holiday decoration?
Please share some magical holiday memories?
It snowed one year when the children were small. We spent all morning sledging with the neighbours. And school nativity plays and carol concerts.
Wrap, gift bag or bow & go?
Wrap – part of the tradition.
Gifts or gift cards?
Do you eat fruitcake?
Yes. The grandchildren and I make it in October. I put marzipan on yesterday with the three year old. I’ll ice it next week.
Do you head to the movies on the 25th?
No. If we leave the house at all it’s for a walk along the seafront.
What’s in your stocking? *wink*
Not sure! My husband will organize that!
What do you want in your stocking? *saucy wink aka swink*
Whatever he’d like to give me…
Do you head out on the 26th into the madness to exchange or shop for anything?
No. We head to the hills for a long walk.
Thank you so much.
Happy Holidays from my house to yours!
Visit Ann’s website for the latest news.