December 2023 Food Champions Challenge . How do you spend Christmas day?

Christmas is upon us again . Where did 2023 go ? We always refer to this time of the year as the " Festive Season " I always start my Christmas Day with midnight Mass …Being a Catholic it is important to be reminded what Christmas is “really” about .

A few drinks with friends and then home . Having no family I use Christmas day as a time of reflection for the year that has passed and the year to come .

For the December Challenge let us know what you are planning to do Christmas Day .

The following contributors received a Food Champions Badge for their contributions to the November Challenge @wallacethree @Cooper @kpa26287 @redeye . Thanks to all who contributed to the Challenge .

With Christmas approaching we @Gaby @phb and @vax2000 would like to extend our best wishes to you . May you celebrate Christmas keeping in mind its true meaning and what it celebrates .


I try to follow family traditions: my mum would serve hot chocolate and Xmas buns while we opened our presents. Then church and a delicious lunch. It was a ritual which would take all day of sharing/connecting/meeting with members of the family and friends and neighbours, while eggnog, punch, Xmas cake, mince pies etc… all the favourites of the Christmas season were served.

I’m sorry to say that nowadays I often fail to follow that tradition as times have changed, people travel, they connect online…and so on, but I still give it a try if I can😊


I met my best mate in 1970 when we were both high school teachers, on my first day when I parked in his ‘not reserved park’ and he came looking for the ‘culprit’. I had a 1968 blue Toyota Corolla, his was a 1968 white one. For reasons not germane I ended up back in the US in 1975 and stayed for the next 27 years. When we came back to Australia it was to Melbourne in 2002, and where he settled decades ago. We became an extended family. We host Christmas in odd years, they in even. Our children have grown, 2 of 3 married, and all join although the married ones have to time share with their partner’s families.


I’ve had a variety of different activities over the years but for the last 20, i’ve been having breakfast with a friend and her family (extended) whenever its on (sometimes not, because of travel or illness). Other than that, because I’ve been solo for so long, I get in a few things that remind me of Xmas past with my parents (I was an only child, adopted) and wallow a bit, then its back to normal after lunch and ham.ham.ham for days. Since 2018 when I first met my half brother and his wife, we have phonecalls between us (they are way up in Qld near Proserpine and here am I in Newcastle). Its always a quiet day after breakfast is over.


We host all our descendants every year - plagues permitting.

It starts with hours of cooking, mountains of food and children lurking near the tree taking a furtive squeeze of a wrapped present to divine the content before Opening Time which is after breakfast. Breakfast is on the run while shooing spectators, who can’t decide between cornflakes and weetbix, out of the kitchen and shutting the fridge door on those who must inspect every item crammed in there before finally grabbing the yogurt that they touched first.

Five minutes after Opening Time the loungeroom is filled with drifts of thin coloured paper hurriedly ripped away, tangles of tape and ribbon, instructions that will never be reunited with the thing they refer to and wailing of “Muuuuum do we have any batteries?” Clever mums of course have a pocket full on the day.

We sit down to lunch at 12:55. At 1PM Sydney time we toast our loved ones present and absent. This tradition has been maintained wherever we are in the world regardless of local time since 1941 when half were overseas. One uncle lies in Belgium. There will be empty spaces at many tables again this year. Humans are all slow learners.

Then I get to sit and enjoy, the Long Snack goes on with a few sips of this and that. Calls of “where’s the …” go answered or get instructed to go and look and if it can’t be found be silent. Breaks are taken to fix leaking water slides and to re-lubricate those who have lost their sunscreen or whose glass is unaccountably empty. Daddies generally don’t slide well unless lubricated.

It’s mad and indulgent but I still do it every year. As Zorba said " A man needs a little madness , or else, he never cuts the rope and — be free"


We have a very quiet Christmas, just about the opposite of yours!

We used to attend large extended family Christmas get-togethers every year, but at some stage decided enough was enough, and began staying in Canberra for Christmas.

Canberra’s pleasantly quiet at Christmas time, because just about everyone except us seems to head to The Coast or to extended family elsewhere. We have a family lunch on Christmas Day, and for some years now we’ve donated to various charities’ Christmas Giving projects in lieu of giving each other presents.

Sometimes we visit or host friends on Boxing Day or New Year’s Eve - if anyone else happens to be in Canberra! :smile:


We go with a group of friends to a park where we sit, chat, eat and enjoy the day. Our dogs come too. Nearby is a fenced oval where they can have a run. We have a shared lunch and each couple has a particular agreed upon food to prepare, bring and share.


My daughter I share a house with, our dog and I intend having a quiet, peaceful day nibbling nice foods like a platter of cold meats and salads and drinking whatever we feel like - whether it’s camomile tea, champagne, red wine or a G and T. If it’s a hot day we’ll be in and out of our plunge pool or at the beach across the road. Or we’ll read and watch movies - even give White Christmas a run.
If we hear of any Christmas orphan or orphans, they’ll be invited to spend the casual hours with us.


With a general dislike of the over-commercialised travesty that Christmas has become, the two of us gather the makings of a picnic. This includes our favourite indulgences such as good pate or terrine, some charcuterie items, cheeses, olives, crackers and a baguette (plus some healthier salads to balance out the salt and cholesterol!), and a good bottle of pinot noir. Cherries for dessert. We take our treats to the zoo or the beach, the bush or the backyard, and occasionally the living room, with weather dictating the choice. It’s a nice way to enjoy a midsummer feast (we are not religious) and a lazy afternoon, with the aim of not subjecting ourselves to the stress and frazzle that trying to please a crowd of fractious relatives can sometimes cause. We really enjoy our ‘tradition’ and wouldn’t have it any other way!


His family live half an hour down the road, but don’t bother visiting, so Christmas is just the two of us, nothing special. I usually insist on a sit-down to a plated salad rather than the “help yourself to leftovers” in between farm jobs. Mind you, he will ask days later “When’s Christmas?”

My father always refered to Christmas Day as “another day in the workhouse” as farming never stops. Unfortunately I have very little family left. I will probably ring, but they can no longer gather for Christmas, so it is a call to each to ask what Meals on Wheels & Santa delivered.

Don’t feel sorry for us, we grew up not having spectacular Christmases. We were given the option of one present per year and as my birthday was near Christmas I had to choose. We all chose birthdays. Christmas had a token gift from Santa, something small, but Grandma always had a big roast for us after Church. She died when I was 10, and so did the extravagant meal.


Nothing special? But it is the truest and nearest to the way the first Christmas Day was when Mary and Joseph were alone, no relatives or friends with them just the wonder of that amazing night when Emmanuel (God with us) was born :slightly_smiling_face:


Being unable to visit family for Christmas, as it is the start of the peak tourist season, we have some family visiting us. Not sure if it is to see us or take the opportunity for a cheap holiday to Tassie. :thinking:

For lunch we plan to have smoked salmon gnocchi. Smoked salmon sourced locally and homemade gnocchi. Accompaniments will be a rocket and walnut salad (homegrown) with a baked ham. Dessert will be a sago plum pudding (handed down family recipe) with fresh fruit (from the garden and bought) and homemade custard.

If weather is good, we might sit on picnic blankets in the backyard, enjoying the clear view to the mountains.

I was a bit misleading, it isn’t really a ‘plum’ pudding, it is plum by name and not by ingredients. :person_shrugging:

Afterwards likely to play some board games such as Ticket to Ride, Cartagena, Sitting Duck or Prime Climb.


Our modern society have lost sight of the “reason for the season”. I have Christian beliefs but Mr Z, despite strong evangelical heritage, prefers to call it all a load of old cobblers and, if he acknowledges it, references consumerism, as do the next two generations.

Going to church on Christmas morning (or Midnight Mass) was a pivotal point for family reunion and the one time of the year for an extravagant feeding frenzy. It was also a time of the year in Australia, where fresh food was in abundance. We had “better” meat; the lamb rather than mutton, the tender calf, the fattest rooster. Summer fruit - mango, stone-fruit etc