My Christmas Wishes For You All

24 Dec

I know that I am blessed. I have a loving family, partner and friends.  I live in my own home, I am warm and never hungry.  I have good health and no financial worries that keep me awake at night.  So many people have none of these things and Christmas can be a cold and lonely time of year.

Regardless of religion or belief, Christmas is here and celebrated with joy by millions of people around the world for whatever reasons make it special for them.  I spare a thought for those who cannot, for whatever reason, mark the occasion.

My wishes for you all are that you have a happy, safe and peaceful Christmas, however you are spending the next few days.  May the coming year bring you health, for without that we have nothing.

It has been an incredible year for me with regard to this blog, which I started in January 2011. I have shared recipes and experiences that are special to me and those I share my life with.  Unbelieveably, people began to read and respond to my posts.  I have read and shared recipes and experiences from around the world with my new family of blogging friends.  A wonderful and unexpected bonus.  I thank you all for opening up the windows into your lives and the pages of your family recipe books.

I have almost always loved Christmas.  As a child, my parents and grandparents (my mother´s parents who lived with us) always did everything to make sure it was a magical and unforgettable time.  Lately the magic of Christmas has been rekindled for me and this year my parents are spending their first Christmas in Spain with me and Big Man.

Christmas Eve is the “biggie” here.  We will go to Big Man´s family and we will all participate in preparing a feast.  And it will be a feast, despite the fact that we will probably eat off paper plates and be all squashed up one against the other on folding chairs with wobbly trestle tables.  It gets like that when there are about 50 of you together.  Yes, you read that right, 50 people!  The menu will be simple and hearty – braised mushrooms, jamon, cheese and prawns every which way. Then we will eat goat…I think 5 have been ordered so that leftovers can be shared out and enjoyed the next day.

Guitars will be played, castanets clacked, hands clapped and Christmas songs sung.  The meal will start about 10pm and then those who want to pop down the road to Midnight Mass, or the Misa del Gallo will disappear for an hour.  Coffee and liqueurs and Spanish sweets and biscuits will be served and the last one standing will put the lights out.

Christmas Day will be celebrated Tanya and Big Man style.  We will have champagne with our breakfast, well…what the heck!  We will open stockings filled with silly and tasteless gifts and we will exchange meaningful gifts too.  We will wear silly hats and eat oysters and suckling pig and delicious desserts.  Coffee and brandy will be drunk and we may play cards or silly games and listen to Christmas Carols.  My parents will, I hope, do nothing that involves washing up.  Although I expect we´ll all be in the kitchen together preparing the meal.  I want to give them a Christmas full of happy memories.

Did you see the incredible family photo I found?  The childish writing on the back tells me it was Christmas Day 1977.  The UK was coming through a terrible economic crisis, just as most of Europe and great parts of the rest of the world are going through now.  Of course, I remember nothing of this.  I was 12 years old and looking forward to becoming a teenager in January.  Punk was new, we had celebrated the Queen´s Silver Jubilee, Star Wars was released in the UK after Christmas and I clearly hadn´t yet discovered fashion!  My brother was 9, my mother an amazingly young 33 year old and my father 42.  Times must have been hard for them and my lovely grandparents, still also incredibly young and how I always think of them.

But despite financial hardships and job concerns for my parents, we must have celebrated just as we will celebrate this Christmas.  We were together, a family, with loving friends, and just for a few days, everything was as it should be.  Peaceful, happy, warm, good food on the table and happy memories being made to treasure in the future.

I wish you all the very, very best of everything.  Merry Christmas…and here´s to whatever 2012 holds for us all.

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38 Responses to “My Christmas Wishes For You All”

  1. Mad Dog December 24, 2011 at 00:38 #

    Lovely pictures and equally lovely blog! How fantastic – 50 people for Christmas! I’m spending Christmas with 12 friends in Golders Green – I just made the chicken liver paté, but I’m quite envious of the challenge you have with 50.
    I remember 1977 really well too – I was 15 and saw all the punk bands – it was an amazing year.
    Enough of reminiscing though, I hope you all have a wonderful Christmas 😉

    • Chica Andaluza December 24, 2011 at 17:38 #

      Ah you have wonderful time – chicken liver paté in Golders Green reminds me of a fabulous “Jewish Christmas” (is that possible) many years back. Have a wonderful time too!

  2. tedgriffith December 24, 2011 at 00:38 #

    Thank you so much for sharing your Christmas with us. It all sounds so wonderful. And what a feast on Christmas Eve. We haven’t had goat in many years (about 11 I think), and I miss it terribly. When we have family and health, so many hardships can be endured. Here is wishing you and your entire family a very merry Christmas and joyous New Year. 🙂

  3. ChgoJohn December 24, 2011 at 00:43 #

    What a wonderful, heart-felt post, Tanya! And what fun is coming your way! With all that will be going on over the next 2 days, I cannot see how this Christmas could possibly be anything but quite memorable for your parents — and I mean that in the best way possible. Here’s wishing you and your loved ones the very best Christmas possible, Tanya, and may 2012 be a good year for us all!

    • Chica Andaluza December 24, 2011 at 17:39 #

      Thanks John and Buon Natale to you and your loved ones!

  4. ceciliag December 24, 2011 at 03:21 #

    but where are you in the picture?.. are you holding the cat?.. don’t be mad if that is not you because i don’t want you to hold this against me when i come to visit!! but really really I hope you are having a great time. I did not realise that your blog was so young..they love you out there!!.. so anyway i am coming to visit for the sewing.. But honestly .. getting serious here.. i miss you .. i think you are my missing sister.. mm.. celi

    • Chica Andaluza December 24, 2011 at 17:40 #

      Ah that is so kind of you – sisters by other mothers is an expression I´ve heard and love! Yes, that´s me with the red jumper and the tortoiseshell cat…fab fashion eh?! Take care Celi and have a wonderful prairie Christmas xx

  5. cookinginsens December 24, 2011 at 07:13 #

    Merry Christmas!

  6. Food,Photography & France December 24, 2011 at 08:55 #

    Lovely Christmas post – like a personal letter. Have a wonderful Christmas with Big Man and your family.

  7. chaiselongue1 December 24, 2011 at 10:26 #

    Thanks for this lovely post, sharing your Christmas with us all. I’m sure you’ll give your parents a Christmas to remember in the same way as they gave you such a good one in 1977. Enjoy the festivities – all 50 of you! Joyeuses fetes!

  8. gardenfreshtomatoes December 24, 2011 at 12:27 #

    You are indeed blessed, from the family you were given, to the family you chose…
    Wishing you an amazing, wonderful, joy-and-love-filled season!

    • Chica Andaluza December 24, 2011 at 17:47 #

      Perfectly put – thank you so much and all the best to you and yours!

  9. thecompletecookbook December 24, 2011 at 15:00 #

    What a beautiful post Tanya and I love that you shared a pic from Christmas past with us – I love old photos!
    sounds like you have a fantastic fun time ahead of you tonight and tomorrow.
    Lots of love for a Merry Christmas!
    🙂 Mandy xo

    • Chica Andaluza December 24, 2011 at 17:47 #

      Thanks Mandy – am like a Little child right now, we´ve just finished decorating the tree! Love to you and your family too xx

  10. Michi December 24, 2011 at 17:40 #

    Hahaha! I’m currently at my suegra’s house (we just finished our Christmas Eve meal), and D-Man mentioned my tendency to consume cava semi-seco for breakfast (¡ah, his borracha americanita!), but isn’t it one of the best things, especially with a splash of fresh orange juice, to have with a late weekend breakfast? 🙂 Mmmmmmm.

    I love old family photos!! Happy holidays, a happy new year, and may you and your loved ones have a wonderful, healthy 2012 filled with happiness! Sending plenty of holiday cheer over your way! Have a blessed time with your family. 🙂

    • Chica Andaluza December 24, 2011 at 17:49 #

      Thanks Michi and so glad I am not the only borracha around these parts! All good wishes to you y la familia para unas felices fiestas y un prospero año nuevo!

  11. Kim (Becoming Sevillana) December 24, 2011 at 20:32 #

    I really loved this post. Thank you! Wish you a very Merry Christmas.

  12. Rufus' Food and Spirits Guide December 24, 2011 at 20:42 #

    What a wonderful post. Of course people read your blog. Where else do you find flirty English women kissing up the Spaniards? What you think it’s the olives that keep us coming back? Seriously, have a wonderful Christmas.

    • Chica Andaluza December 27, 2011 at 13:23 #

      Thanks so much Greg – Hope you and Katherine are having a wonderful Christmas!

  13. sportsglutton December 24, 2011 at 21:46 #

    Happy Holidays and Merry Christmas to you as well!

  14. Karen December 26, 2011 at 00:09 #

    What a wonderful Christmas you are having. Have fun, each much and be joyous.

    • Chica Andaluza December 27, 2011 at 13:25 #

      Thank you Karen and I wish you all every happiness too!

  15. the island traveler December 27, 2011 at 07:41 #

    It was like reading the story of my past and that of my family during Christmases of not long ago. Despite trials we found joy and inspiration during Christmas because we have our families and their love. Thanks for sharing this. Beautiful Christmas story. Merry Christmas…

    • Chica Andaluza December 27, 2011 at 13:29 #

      Thank you so much for your lovely words – do hope this Christmas was good for you!

  16. Caroline December 27, 2011 at 19:37 #

    Champagne is always welcomed with breakfast! 😉 Hope you had a fantastic Christmas. You are blessed indeed!

    • Chica Andaluza December 27, 2011 at 20:33 #

      Thanks so much Caroline – it was wonderful, hope yours was too!

  17. spicegirlfla December 28, 2011 at 18:14 #

    Tanya, what a beautiful post! I wish you a wonderful holiday season and feel so blessed to have found you and travel along with you and taste some of the most amazing recipes!! I look forward to continuing to be your blogger friend!!

    • Chica Andaluza December 29, 2011 at 08:33 #

      Thank you so very much – I feel exactly the same!

  18. kathryningrid December 29, 2011 at 03:19 #

    Sounds like a glorious way to celebrate Christmas Eve and Day with *many* loved ones and endless good food and traditions. Warm and beautiful. Thanks for sharing, dear Tanya! I loved it.
    Kathryn
    PS–I FINALLY figured out how to subscribe via email to your blog–for some reason that tab never showed up here for me before. So now I’ll be able to ‘look in on you’ more easily. Merry Christmas to me! 😉

    • Chica Andaluza December 29, 2011 at 08:34 #

      Hi Kathryn and thank you for your kind words. How weird about the subscribe tab – will have to check that out. Glad you got it sorted!

  19. niasunset December 29, 2011 at 10:36 #

    I hope you had a nice Christmas. This was a nice post. Thank you, Happy New year dear Chica, with my love, nia

    • Chica Andaluza December 29, 2011 at 12:44 #

      Thank you Nia – so glad you enjoyed it! Happy New Year to you too 🙂

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