Why Christmas dinner is crucial

The spirit of Christmas

This week, I have the pleasure of including some notes from my chef husband, The Chef In Stead.

He has been cooking in people’s homes for the last 18 years in the Okanagan, but the one thing he doesn’t do is a traditional turkey dinner. He says he doesn’t want to be the one who messes up Grandma’s gravy or make it the way Mom did.

“I don’t have great memories of juicy, succulent, perfectly cooked turkeys. My mom cooked a turkey, but let’s just say it wasn’t her best dish. Instead, I have memories of children being very polite and telling my mom what she deserved to hear, which was “thank you for a great meal.”

When someone spends a whole day cooking a meal, you show appreciation. Lie if you have to but do show enjoyment and admiration.

“My memories of Christmas at home are about how much fun we had together as a family. I know all family members have what is referred to these days as ‘baggage.’ But Christmas is not the time to settle your quarrels. It’s more the time to hold each other and be happy you made it through one more year.

“So many people have no one to share a bad turkey with, so I feel grateful to have my friends and family to share my Christmas dinner, whether it turns out good or not.

“If you have the chance to invite an extra person to your table, give some of your time to local shelters or even take a pie to someone you know who will be alone on Christmas Day, please do it. It’s worth it for you and them.”

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

As far as the menu goes, I must admit, I have always been one who has enjoyed mixing up the traditions by trying to suggest some new (or old) twist on the Christmas dinner.

I wanted to try goose after reading Dicken’s “A Christmas Carol”, finding out that was the traditional bird of Victorian Christmas tables.

I always wondered what Brussel sprouts tasted like and figured they couldn’t really be as bad as my dad said. If you have read my past columns, you already know some of the things I have done with cranberry sauce.

Then there is the 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 that was needed. (Years later, he would be the one saying why hadn’t we added walnuts or used cornbread earlier.)

I, for one, 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 Christmas.

If you truly believe in the essence of Christmas, then, as you let it into your heart and take active part in the festivities and the giving, you cannot help but feel better.

Children know this intuitively, and it is only as our hearts harden and we don’t practice such things that we lose sight of the true meaning of this holiday.

Christmas is not for children, but for the child that lies in us all, hoping for a chance to believe in something pure and good and listening for that magic signal that says something exists.

So, if you need a dose of “A Wonderful Life” or “The Polar Express” before Christmas dinner to get you into full gear, go right ahead. When you sit down to dinner, cherish the meal and those around you, and, of course, the cook 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.

This article is written by or on behalf of an outsourced columnist and does not necessarily reflect the views of Castanet.

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.

Previous Stories