Peace and goodwill to all, including the birds and beasts
GONE are the days when each member of the family took their turn to stir the Christmas pudding (clockwise), gathered to sing their hearts out around an open fire or sneak a bashful peck under the mistletoe. How things have changed.
The annual rituals devoutly observed at Christmas time under the illusion of "tradition" change more frequently than glasses are refilled at the office party.
Most of us at least still get a holiday but that is about all there is to distinguish Christmas on a yearly basis.
Who now worships the birth of the Saviour more than the latest ipod? Who thinks of frankincense, gold and myrrh while unwrapping their Playstation?
Orders taken over £2000 , will receive £100 off and the option to take 2 years interest free credit
Terms: £100 off only on orders over £2000 with the option to take 2 years interest free credit , this offer ends bank holiday Monday 27th may 4 pm , this voucher must be printed and presented on ordering .
Contact: 01332 419898
Valid until: Monday, May 27 2013
I am sure most of us have witnessed first-hand changing customs for ourselves.
We can all recall cherished family traditions we used to be crackers about as a kid and which we repeat in our own families, albeit with a unique contemporary twist.
Computer games and DVDs have now become more popular than charades and Monopoly. Posting Christmas cards is a thing of the past; so, too, is tuning in to the Queen's Christmas message, as we've heard what she has to say already.
What we have come to regard as established yuletide traditions are actually dynamic, ever-changing customs that adapt to fit the times and keep up with the latest trends.
With new traditions forever updating old ones, is there anything truly traditional left about Christmas at all?
Perhaps it is food that withstands the passage of time to remain the one stable underpinning of Christmas celebrations.
Yet, where food continues to draw us together, it too has undergone many festive transformations.
Roast turkey is a relatively new Christmas dish, only served since homes have had refrigerators.
It used to be boar's head, complete with scalded hair, glazed eyes and stuffed with its own tongue and flabby aspic.
Today, stollen and pannettone are overtaking Christmas cake in the sweet ratings and stockings are seldom packed with tangerines and nuts.
Who still puts coins in their Christmas pudding or even makes their own pudding? And who fires their rifle while hanging bread soaked in cider from the tree to ward off evil spirits?
Last year, I was invited to Christmas dinner where we were treated to a magnificent stuffed pumpkin that took centre stage on the holly-decked table. Its glowing amber shell lit up the room and, oh the smell, it was simply divine.
Whether anyone noticed the absence of a dead bird, I can't be sure, but I'm pretty certain it wasn't missed, going by the rate at which that pumpkin was devoured.
Evidently, the dishes we serve on our yuletide tables continue to evolve, while still remaining a cornerstone of festivities.
Sharing non-animal derived food embodies the spirit of goodwill and peace of Christmas far more than the unnatural fattening and slaughter of millions of baby birds. This idea may soon pass as tradition.
Just as I have discovered better tipples than egg nog, so, too, are there better ways to feast that don't involve taking a life.