I’m not sure when exactly I went from being a guest at the Christmas table to the host.
Being excellent hosts and proficient cooks, my parents hosted wonderful Christmas dinners for our pretty large family. All I had to do was show up, eat and help with the clean up.
Then came the switch.
I got married, had a house of my own and hints started to be dropped.
I’ll never forget the first Christmas dinner I hosted where I metaphorically bit off more than I could chew. Not having enough oven space for the 17 people I was cooking for left me trying to BBQ a turkey and fry roast potatoes.
Over the years I improved. I’d spend the weeks before Christmas planning the spread and then the 23rd and 24th diligently working my way through one Delia recipe at a time.
But then something happened. I started to resent the time I was spending prepping, cooking and cleaning while everyone else was celebrating.
Whilst my family were spending Christmas Eve doing something fun (and trying to get out of my hair), I’d be up to my eyeballs in stuffing mix.
On Christmas morning I’d be running backwards and forwards to the kitchen, missing out on gift opening. Not only was I exhausted by lunchtime, it just didn’t seem, well fun!
So I decided to do away with it all, to let go of my British need to serve up the traditional fayre of my youth in place of food that someone else had prepared for me.
My first Christmas with our FEDstive box, I can only describe as a liberation akin to taking off your bra at the end of the day.
I peeled off those lids and plated that food with the exuberance of a kid opening their Christmas stocking.
Now my Christmas Eve and Christmas morning is spent entirely dedicated to the pleasure of Christmas. I don’t miss present opening, I don’t feel stressed and best of all, the food tastes far better than if I’d made it myself!