#20 – Christmas Traditions & What Inspires Us at the Holidays

First of all, I think there are some differences between what you associate with Christmas over in the US, and what I associate with Christmas in the UK. – Alison

We’re entering the Fall and Winter holiday season and food and sensory delights from the garden and kitchen are such a traditional part of that! Alison and Andrea discuss some of their favorite dishes to serve at this time of year and the traditions they want to cultivate more of.

Not by spending more, by spending less, our Christmases have been more beautiful, more memorable. – Alison

*We had some audio gremlins wanting to get in on our Christmas episode fun. We hope it doesn’t spoil your enjoyment. Bear with us; we are working hard to fix these for next year!*

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The traditions were not shaped because peasants were hauling in stuff from amazon.com, no, they were shaped because that’s what they had around them… – Andrea

Time Stamps

01:05 You might hear Andrea’s kids!

01:45 What Andrea ate last night

02:33 Alison’s Lunch

04:14 A boza lesson learned and why Alison is changing her recipe

10:24 The history of cinnamon rolls

I had to look up a chelsea bun! I had never heard of them. Some pictures showed the cherry and some didn’t. They do look like a cinnamon roll, a kind of dryer version! – Andrea

15:24 Thank you Patrons!

16:32 Let’s talk about the holidays!

17:21 Some of Andrea’s memories of Christmas traditions

It’s really important to my mom to keep the holidays from being stressful and full of obligation. – Andrea

You have big shoes to stand in. – Alison

25:35 Alison talks about her Christmas memories

We need some transatlantic education lessons! – Alison, when Andrea still didn’t understand what treacle pudding was

(I had to look up Christmas Suet Pudding because all I could think of was bird food. – Andrea)

30:30 Christmas in Italy – la bella figura

A picture of a Christmas Market in Florence, Italy

33:00 Where DID our modern traditions come from?

34:25 Hi Charis! 🙂

36:37 How Alison does things now

It has felt in the past like I’ve been on edge or I’m bending myself in order to spend Christmas with my [extended] family, and it has become much more magical when I’ve been able to create a space within the family that is the three of us to do something that we, all three of us, find magical. I don’t think it will always be like this … But it just so happens that the last seven years it’s been just the three of us. – Alison

39:00 Alison’s new tradition!

41:20 What Alison is thinking of making this year

43:00 King’s College in Cambridge carol service (linked in resources!)

46:09 Alison’s fermented gingerbread

Alison’s Fermented Gingerbread

50% rye or spelt flour, 50% honey by weight

Mix and leave in a cool place for about a month before mixing into a final dough and baking!

47:30 Andrea’s Pumpkin Spice Class (linked in resources – FREE class and FREE eBook download!)

47:59 A cat goes crazy at Andrea’s house

50:25 Christmas in the Southern Hemisphere

51:54 The best Christmas and the most traditional Christmas is looking at what’s around you and celebrating that, really celebrating that – Alison

If somebody feels frustrated because I can’t afford this or that, turn to what is around you; your family, your church, whatever it is that’s around you, how can you use that to create the traditions? – Andrea

53:05 Elly’s sourdough fruitcake – it’s linked below!

54:14 Holiday traditions listeners shared with us on Instagram! Thank you Jenna, Colleen, FourLambs!

54:29 We have a discussion about wassail and wassailing. The Wassail Song

Mentioned by Alison: Let’s Go Wassailing! Episode on How to Eat to Save the Planet podcast by Gilly Smith

58:07 “This just happened right here on the air.” Andrea

58:42 Mulled Bone Broth – is that a thing? Can it be a thing? “I don’t see why not.” – Alison

59:46 The results of our informal Instagram poll on Christmas traditions

1:00:29 Andrea’s Christmas Mobile in 2019, in 2018, again in 2018, some natural garnish for a gift, some natural garnish on food

Hannah’s Thanksgiving Centerpieces from 2020

Hannah’s Handmade Wreath on Andrea’s front door

01:04:25 Staying sane at Christmas – tips and ideas

She built those traditions up over years of doing what worked and then adding on. For me to compare myself today over the masterful art that she created over decades would be crazy. If you are looking on Instagram and getting overwhelmed and thinking “I can’t do all the things” … If your tradition is that you buy gingerbread cookies and you don’t make them, go for it. – Andrea

01:09:10 Cheap and fun wrapping paper

01:10:07 Andrea finds a way to work Downton Abbey into the conversation again

People think I tried to put together a look, and I need them to know it’s just trying to be cheap and use what I had around me. If you do what is natural and close and feels right, it comes together as YOUR signature look; rather than trying to start with what I wanted my signature look to be – that would have been very stressful. I just started with what I had around me and it turned into what it is, so that will shape your traditions! – Andrea

01:12:59 Elly’s tip for sanity

01:14:50 Alison’s hot tip for getting through the holidays!

01:16:30 Share your holiday traditions with us! Tag us on Instagram so we can see your traditions and share them!

Resources Mentioned

Alison’s Boza Course

I Am Cultured “Raw, unpasteurised, naturally fermented food and drink full of goodness for your gut. Small batches handcrafted in North Devon”

The Choir of King’s College Cambridge online

Elly’s Everyday Sourdough

Where did Wassail originate?

Our Fall Cook-Along Zoom class is available to our patrons…find out more here.

Elly’s Everyday Sourdough – Fruitcake!

Alison’s Gingerbread

Libera Choir – NOT “Liberia” as Andrea’s mistakenly called it on the air!

I think it’s quite important to say – that it’s important to do what you need to. It’s supposed to be about enjoying, resting, doing things that you enjoy. – Alison

Bonus Resource Mention!

We didn’t have time to mention this on air but it was on Andrea’s list. If you love having a rhythmic advent tradition, Andrea really enjoys Cindy Rollins’ book Hallelujah and the ideas shared in there for creating tradition.

If you want to learn more about Handel’s Messiah, the topic of that book, check out this podcast: Handel’s Messiah – the advent calendar

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Original Music, Episode Mixing and Post-Production by Robert Michael Kay

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