What's on your Yule table?

Christmas is my favourite time of year, and Christmas dinner seems to epitomize the whole festive season: the food and drink all wrapped in tradition, and best of all, the company.

Just think; at what other time of year can you laugh later about so much silliness? Arguing about whether the dressing should have nuts, agonizing over which tablecloth would look nicer, or remembering which serving pieces to put out to make sure Aunt So-and-so sees the gifts you never use.

Maybe in the closest families that happens every Sunday, but it seems most of the other days of the year we are far too busy to spend that much time on dinner.

That’s another reason I love Christmas: it reminds us to be grateful we have people we care about enough to argue with. So, let’s toast their good health before we dive into that sumptuous dinner.

As far as the menu goes at my house, I have always been one who liked to “upset the apple cart” by trying to suggest some new (or old) twist on our Christmas dinner.

I wanted to try goose after having read Dicken’s A Christmas Carol. I always wondered what Brussels sprouts tasted like and figured they couldn’t really be as bad as my Dad said. And who wouldn’t marvel at the idea of marshmallows at the dinner table, all toasted over a dish of sweet potatoes.

Then, there is the turkey stuffing. This was a topic that was hotly discussed by my parents, as my Mom read more cooking magazines and my Dad pined for the “good old days” when celery and sage were all it needed.

(Years later, he would be the one saying why hadn’t we added walnuts or used cornbread earlier.)

But if you ask me what I remember about Christmas dinner, it is not the specific menu items but rather that warm and fuzzy feeling that followed sampling them all.

There was the one exciting year my Mom tried to light the Christmas pudding after pouring brandy on it, but that’s for another column.

I don’t think it was merely the tryptophan that made me groggy and light-headed at Christmas; it was more that sense of euphoria that comes over you when you immerse yourself in the spirit of the season.

I am a firm believer that the weight you gain has far less guilt attached to it if you share a positive vibe with those around you. Indulging can be about giving time or donating to causes; those things don’t just benefit the recipients.

Children know about the joy of Christmas before they learn about what toy is popular on the internet. They love the excitement of the experience, of sharing. Have you seen the smile on the kid who unwraps a banana in the latest viral video?

Christmas is not for children, but for the child that lies within us all. That child hopes for a chance to believe in something pure and good, and listens for that magic signal which shows such a thing exists.

If you need a dose of A Wonderful Life or The Polar Express before Christmas dinner to get you in full gear, go right ahead. When you sit down to dinner, cherish the meal, and those around you, and of course the cooks and farmers who made it possible.

It is of great importance to take Christmas to heart, for if you do it right, it just might stay with you until next year. Wouldn’t that make the world a wonderful place?

As Tiny Tim said so long ago, “God Bless us, every one.” Merry Christmas from our table to yours.

More Happy Gourmand articles

About the Author

Kristin Peturson-Laprise is a customer experience specialist by trade, which means she is someone passionate about people having a good time. 

Her company, Wow Service Mentor, helps businesses enhance their customer experience through hands-on training, service programs, and special event coordination.

Kristin enjoys her own experiences too, and that is what she writes about in this column. She and her husband Martin Laprise (also known as Chef Martin, of The Chef Instead) love to share their passion for food and entertaining.  

Kristin says:

"Wikipedia lists a gourmand as a person who takes great pleasure in food. I have taken the concept of gourmandise, or enjoying something to the fullest, in all parts of my life. I love to grow and cook food, and I loved wine enough to become a Sommelier. I call a meal a success when I can convey that 'sense of place' from where the food has come . . . the French call that terroir, but I just call it the full experience. It might mean tasting the flavours of my own garden, or transporting everyone at the table to a faraway place, reminiscent of travels or dreams we have had."


E-mail Kristin at:  [email protected]

Check out her website here:  www.wowservicementor.com


The views expressed are strictly those of the author and not necessarily those of Castanet. Castanet does not warrant the contents.

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