Today’s Prompt: Tell us something about your favourite childhood meal — the one that was always a treat, that meant “celebration,” or that comforted you and has deep roots in your memory.
In my family, we don’t go out for meals that often. When we do, it’s nearly always due to a special occasion, such as someone’s birthday. It has to be a special birthday, too. There’s one day that we do meet up every year and have a large family meal – and that’s Christmas Day.
We’re not a religious family, of course. If I was religious, there would be a lot more information about my beliefs on this blog. Now, don’t get me wrong – I’m not atheist, either. People seem to assume that because I say I don’t believe in a religion, I don’t believe in anything, but that’s not true. I simply acknowledge that religion is a man made concept that has been shaped by society and that holy books reflect the time and society in which they were written. Many of the morals are relevant to today. Far more of them are not.
Christmas isn’t a ceremony for us. Instead, it’s a day for the family to get together and celebrate the fact that we’ve got a little while off from work or school. In my house, there’s a routine, which my mum put in place when I was a kid. We can’t open our presents until everyone in the house (usually six of us at that time) is up, washed, dressed and has finished their breakfast. I used to dance around my grandparents begging them to finish eating when I was young. After we’ve opened our presents, my mum cooks Christmas dinner for approximately fifteen of us, depending on who’s coming that year. It’s turkey, of course.
We all sit around a large table these days. When I was younger, the adults would sit on one table and I would sit on another with my two (later three) cousins and my brother. On the “kid’s table”, we had our own crackers and we got to have our own conversation, away from the adults – and likewise they got to get away from us! As the whole family loves dessert, the main focus of the meal was never the turkey: it was the Christmas pudding, as well as one hot and one cold dessert. I’ve always followed in my dad footsteps – I try all three.
Christmas dinner was much less of a farce when I was younger. It seems like a chore now. I was never asked to serve the food or wash the dishes when I was a kid. I never had to clean up after anyone. I was happily ignorant of the tension that exists between my two aunts, but now that I’m older I’m far more aware of it. I dislike the fact that my family is divided over the issue of one of my aunts, but I’ve listened to the arguments and I understand why the others have a problem with her. I just want to remain out of the discussion as much as possible, but now that I’m old enough to hear about it, the topic even manages to disturb Christmas dinner. Nobody tries to hold it in any longer.
Once we’ve finished eating, we open our table presents. These are little gifts, usually bought by my mum (she does a lot at Christmas time). The women tend to receive the same presents as one another; the men likewise. The table is cleared and I play board games or card games with my cousins and my brother until it’s time for them to leave.
I’ll be honest: I’m not a big fan of reminiscing like this. I think it gives people the wrong impression of me. I don’t want to be a child again and I wouldn’t want to go back to those old Christmas dinners, because the nonsense these days doesn’t destroy the occasion. I don’t miss them.
I have my own life now as an adult, and I wouldn’t change that for anything. Life goes forwards, not backwards, after all, and there are things in my life that are far greater than those old meals. I’ll happily forget my childhood Christmas dinners just to enjoy the wider variety that I eat – and can cook – as an adult.