We have spent a lot less on presents this year, mostly because I have made presents for a lot of people. I've tried to reuse and recycle where possible in terms of wrapping them too. I always use last year's Christmas cards, cut up, as tags and we had already bought cards, crackers and wrapping paper in the sales last year.
We have a beautiful collection of Christmas decorations, which we have built up over the last 23 years, so it's been a pleasure to revisit them again this week as we have begun to decorate the house -so many memories wrapped up in those baubles and decorations. To supplement the decorations we already have, I will use pine cones, holly and ivy, collected on a lovely winters walk - win/win I think!
Normally, we eat slightly vulgar quantities of food over the two weeks, so this year I have planned a much simpler menu. As you know, we cater for meat eaters, vegetarian, vegan and gluten free at home. It's not always easy to balance their needs, particularly when it comes to the more traditional foods, but I've given it a go! For those of you, who are interested, here is the menu for the week of Christmas. (If you'd like a recipe, just let me know).
Monday 22: Thai Sweet potato and bean stew
Tuesday 23: Apple, butternut and chick pea curry
Christmas Eve: Venison casserole and mash for the meat eaters, vegetarian sausages and red onion chutney with mash for the non carnivores.
Christmas Day: Nut roast or orange marmalade glazed ham, sage and onion stuffing, apricot and cranberry stuffing and of course loads of yummy vegetables, including lots of my favourite - sprouts! How I love them!!
Boxing Day: Cold ham or nut roast, vegan coleslaw, potato salad, green salad and tomato and
Saturday 27: Potato, parsnip and pea curry with apple chutney, poppadums and rice.
As treats, I plan on making winter fruit compote and spiced apple compote to have with porridge in the mornings, more truffles, fridge cake, dark chocolate and cherry brownies and I'm going to try a GF vegan trifle for the first time. We'll also have nuts, mince pies and mulled wine!!
Now I write it down, it doesn't seem that pared back, but I promise you it is simpler than normal! You may notice the lack of turkey...I'm not a massive fan really and would have had beef or goose, but in the end we decided to save ourselves £50 and just have a larger ham joint to do both days. I will coat it in a gorgeously sticky glaze, so it will still make a lovely centre piece on the main day.
Of course, our waist lines will benefit, but also I imagine that my food bill will only be about £50 over a normal month's budget. It's difficult to calculate an exact amount, but we have certainly spent hundreds of pounds less this year and I feel so much more in touch with what Christmas is really about because of it. What a joy, to ease myself away from the excessive consumerism that has taken over all things festive! I can hardly wait!