This years festivities will be pretty low-key for us here in Brighton. My family is half a world away, and the Frenchman's are in France. Luckily, my sister, who lives and works in London will come down for a few days. Since our apartment is so small, we don't have much room for a full size tree. For me, the lit and decorated Christmas tree is one of the highlights of the season and I am a bit sad we don't have one this year. Instead, we have a small plastic tree from IKEA which looks pretty realistic, so it's not too bad. I tried to make it as festive as possible using the few decorations we bought this year or were able to find easily. All the major decorations are still packed away and too difficult to get at easily from storage, so this will do for this year.
In my family, we have always observed the German tradition of Heilich Abend, celebrated on 24th December. This is a time for close family and presents unwrapped in the evening together. Traditionally, the tree is unveiled by the parents to the children at this time, but since we liked having the tree up and decorated for most of December, my family adapted the tradition to suit.
To me, Christmas is not Christmas unless there are potato dumplings (knödel), red cabbage (rot kohl) and some sort of festive meat, like turkey or goose, drenched in homemade gravy. This year, I was really hoping to get a goose, but since it's just the three (and a half) of us, a whole goose for £60+ was out of the question. Instead, I was able to snag a nice turkey breast roast that will be rubbed with marmalade in the last twenty minutes of roasting.
For dessert, my sister loves Black Forest cake, and so I decided to treat her (and us!) with a Black Forest-inspired Trifle. I will layer chocolate sponge cake with chocolate custard, cherry compote, and mascarpone whipped cream spiked with Kirsch. I will post some photos of it soon.
So, I wish you all happy holidays and a safe and prosperous new year!