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Yvie Burnett: It’s the little things that make Christmas special

Yvie has enjoyed preparing and baking for Christmas this week.
Yvie has enjoyed preparing and baking for Christmas this week.

Happy Christmas everyone!

There is something very magical about the silence of Christmas Day. Not many cars around, shops closed, most people at home.

It’s lovely to see families out walking off all the excesses of Christmas dinner. I always imagine that most of us are pretty much doing the same things at the same time, so I often stop to think of the thousands of other mums, or dads, who are doing their little check lists and timetables to make sure everything is cooked to perfection.

We all have our little individual family traditions that make the day unique to us, like what we have for Christmas breakfast or what games we play in the afternoon and things that make us smile, like my mum who always went around with a bin liner picking up wrapping paper and cardboard packaging.

Is a family walk after Christmas dinner one of your festive traditions? 

Through the years some Christmases can be sad, with someone missing from the table, and other years, very special, with new additions to the family.

As parents of young children, the preparations can be so rewarding but so utterly exhausting that we fall asleep at 9pm.

As an only child, I always envied those huge family Christmases we saw on films because although our Christmas Days were always lovely, it seemed like such fun to have a big crowd of people.

In reality of course, the bigger the family the more likely that there might be some arguments at some point. The grass is not always greener.

Christmas Day, as well as being magical and joyful, can be disappointing, tense or lonely for many. In fact, many of us will go through all of those emotions at some point in our lifetime.

I’m always very romantic about Christmas for exactly that reason. We have to enjoy it as much as we can because we never know what the next year will bring.

I love the preparation as much as I enjoy the big day itself. For days in advance, you will find me in the kitchen with Christmas music blaring and perhaps a glass of mulled wine, as I prepare everything from homemade cranberry sauce to mince pies.

Yvie was busy making cranberry sauce for Christmas. 

I channel my inner Nigella and Jamie and both their Christmas cookbooks have pride of place on the worktop all Christmas long. Nigella’s ham is our Christmas Eve feast and her cappuccino pavlova is an equally special treat.

After all this cooking, it’s lovely on Boxing Day to eat leftovers – sometimes that’s the best bit, just having your fridge packed with all your favourite things.

I told you a while ago that I was the vocal coach on a Christmas film. If you want to catch it, its called A Christmas Number One and is on Sky Movies. It’s got the right combination of comedy, tears and Christmassy music. I’d recommend it as being perfect to watch over the next few days.

This week I received a letter and a homemade Christmas card from a lovely reader.

It too had the right combination of laughs and tears.

Those of you who have read this column for years will remember my Auntie Jean and Uncle Fred, from Dyce. Well, this lovely couple, Gordie and Babs, from Dingwall, bumped into and were welcomed by my aunt and uncle when they visited Dyce and subsequently ended up meeting them every year.

It is so lovely receiving and reading a handwritten letter.

I had tears rolling down my face as Babs described my Auntie Jean and I realised how wonderful it is to receive lovely letters like that and it’s become such a rare occurrence.

Babs thank you, those words and memories of my aunt and uncle touched me greatly.

I’m going to try to write to people more in 2022 because of the way it made me feel.

Ironically this year I have mislaid my Christmas address book. I will have put it somewhere “safe” but my safe place eludes me at the moment. So people will be lucky to have received a card from me, let alone a letter.

If you are reading this and wondering where yours is – sorry!

I can’t write about all this feasting and joy at Christmas without mentioning those key workers who are, yet again, holding things together for us. There are many people who work on Christmas Day or who have to work until late on Christmas Eve and early on Boxing Day so want to do nothing on the day but rest.

I’m also thinking of those of you who are lonely or sad today. Sending love to you from my house to yours.

Lots of love to you all,
Yvie x

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