Every year same time (1st December) and same place (main road through the village), we have our Christmas decorations. They are also the same decorations since a few years. To give it credit they were changed from a few dots of starry pinpoints of light to this shooting star theme, but they have been shooting regularly now for a few years.
Am I on tenterhooks planning the Christmas feast? Not really, because there is nothing big to plan. It was only today when I realised that Christmas Eve, when we have the big celebration, is on Sunday evening. What’s the problem? Switzerland is very strict about keeping holidays which means that you last chance to shop for food will be Saturday, to cover Sunday, Monday and Tuesday when the stores will be shut for the Christmas holidays.
Today at lunch we had a discussion about it.
“It means I will have to buy everything by Saturday.”
“No problem (Mr. Swiss is a man and rarely has problems). You can order all the food and I can collect it on Saturday.”
It is wonderful to have someone that stands by you in times of need isn’t it. That there will be no chance to buy anything that might and will be forgotten during the three days of Christmas closure is never a problem for a man. The housewife finds a solution somewhere, she is an expert multi-tasker.
And so my brain began to mentally plan for three days eating buying everything on Saturday. I know I can freeze it all, but I also know I do not like eating thawed goods daily. If I was still a Brit living in England, there would not be such a problem. Tukeys are frozen in any case, I think they are born frozen. If you buy one big enough it will be enough for a few days, even if you are reduced to turkey sandwiches.
We are swiss and do not do turkeys. You might find a couple in the supermarket, but who knows where they come from and how long they have been dead, and so tradition reigns again.
Up to Sunday evening we will be eating frugally with sausages and soup and pasta or perhaps fried spam. If there is nothing left a plate of spaghetti will always fill you up with a tomato sauce and a sprinkling of parmesan.
Then we arrive at Christmas Even in the evening, the big eating day. It will be beef filet again. It is expensive, but we all like it. With some fried potato and veg it will be enough.
This was last years meat, and this year will be no different, but less. I can manage one piece of meat, perhaps a half of a second piece, but I no longer have such an appetite. Mr. Swiss agrees and No. 1 son will probably eat at least three, so let’s keep it realistic. Christmas day lunch will probably be a smoked ham, I can already buy that a week ahead as you can keep it for a least a month. And Boxing Day will probably be spaghetti with a tuna fish sauce, although the supermarket will probably be open for a few hours.
Last year we planned deserts after every meal and last year we had a freezer full of frozen berries and ice cream that no-one ate. This year it will be ice cream if you feel like it.
I think we will survive. Why does this happen every year? I do not need this feast of giving, eating and planning.
I am radicalising Christmas at home, and everyone is agreeing. We abolished Christmas gifts a few years ago, we stopped decorating – at least I did. The Chrismas tree is plastic, maximum 20 cms tall with a few lights and is usually perched on a shelf. We still have to eat and it is only once a year, so they say. I am suspended on the tenterhooks until it is finished and then we can get back to “normal”- Anyone for a cervelat? (standard Swiss sausage which can be eaten hot or cold and you can keep them at least two weeks before eating).