The first weekend in November every year for me means ‘soak the Christmas cake fruit.’ It’s also code for starting to realise that December 25th is not that far away and really, if I want life to be a bit easier come December, I should start planning.
Last weekend was the first weekend of November but I was in the Victorian high-country visiting Boy Wonder and the following day I was on a plane down to Hobart to help pack up my eldest son who is home for the summer. While I was there, I visited fellow author Melanie Milburne who had already made her Christmas puddings!
So this weekend, I sat down with the scissors and I cut up my Christmas cake fruit. It will now soak in whiskey, rum, brandy, vanilla essence and lemon essence for a month. I’ll bake it early in December.
This recipe of sultanas, raisins, currants, dates, mixed peel, glacé cherries and almonds was given to our family by a friend of my grandmother. The recipe said soak the fruit for three days.
One year, I had soaked the fruit and then I had a car accident. With broken ribs and a broken arm, I couldn’t bake the cake and my mother didn’t have time to do it for me until after it had been soaking for a month. That year, my Christmas cake tasted THE BEST it ever had so now, on Melbourne Cup weekend every year, I cut up the fruit and set it soaking. If you’d like to give it shot, you’ll find the recipe here.
As a family, we also start thinking about the Christmas letter and cards. We go through the year and think about all the dumb stuff we did…I write a very self-deprecating letter 😉 We have a charities card-shop in town that opens in mid November and again, that is my cue to get organized.
However, I don’t want you to think I am this anal-retentive organized freak 😉 cos really, I’m not. I am rubbish with organising presents and as hard as I try, I usually end up having to buy at least two…for the difficult people… on those last crazy shopping days. Hmm, writing this blog makes me think, what if I make a list now! Thing is DH’s birthday is November 23rd …what WAS his mother thinking…so I don’t do the present list until after that date.
Oh, and Christmas books …I read those in December. Lucky for me, Harlequin puts out a bevy of holiday reading!
So what are your prompts for Christmas? Have you got it all done by September? Are you still shopping December 24th? Do you bake a fruit cake or boil a plum pudding a couple of months before? I’d love to hear your stories.