Christmas on Becca's Books | Christmas with Claire by Claire Seeber

~ Christmas with Claire ~

By Claire Seeber

I LOVE Christmas – although I realise I am slightly living in a land of nostalgia and somehow, it’s never quite as good as I’m hoping/ remembering.  So this year it will be – I already bought my napkins with ‘JOY’ written on them J

I tried to embrace my parents’ split as a kid at Christmas, enjoying the fact I got two sets of presents J My dad is Austrian, so celebrates on Christmas Eve; he used to make us listen to the Viennese Boys’ Choir singing Stille Nacht (Silent Night).  It’s beautiful actually, but my sister and I always got the giggles as we had to stand & look at the real candles on the tree in complete silence.  Then we got to drink Asti Sumpante (poor man’s champagne in the ‘80s J) and open our presents. 

My poor dad tried to get all our boys to listen to Stille Nacht on Christmas Eve a few years ago, but it was CHAOS: they all ran round manically, and thought he was a bit mad.  My dad ended up cracking the Champagne early to drown his disappointment.

I spent many Christmases driving to Cornwall on Christmas Day to join my Mum’s family – I can recommend it in terms of traffic: no M4/ M5 tailbacks!  But one year the fog was so thick, my sister and I thought our Christmas dinner would be a packet of crisps and half a bottle of flat Diet Coke in the car.

Every year I make mulled wine (what’s not to love?!) and a Christmas Cake.  I’ve tried Nigella’s, a Bake Off winner or two; Delia’s.  Mary Berry’s recipe has had two innings so far- but I might try a different take on the traditional this year…how about a Crime writer’s cake with an ice-pick in the middle?

I like the idea that it was a feast to celebrate light in the darkest of months and not just about materialism (I hope my kids are reading this).  I’ve had a few (broke) years of making my own presents, but people don’t always look that pleased!  Maybe this year my hand-knitted socks for everyone will go down better J Joke!

Christmas for the non-religious is about family and friends, but my biggest tip is “realise our limitations”: we can’t please everyone all the time.  It’s tough when we have to make choices, but it’s inevitable – especially in the age of the non-traditional family!   Be brave!

I’ve spent the past two years moving during the Christmas holidays: up to Derby in 2013; back to London in 2014.  So this year we’re planning to CHILL and not move far from the dinner table, the sofa and the Quality Street this year (another top tip: hone preferring the soft centres, no-one else ever wants the orange creams).  Happy Christmas all!

Claire Seeber is a Londoner who started professional life as a (bad) actress and became a documentary maker, a journalist and a writer of, so far, psychological thrillers. The Observer said of her first novel: 'a disturbing debut' whilst The Guardian called it 'powerful'...she keeps writing whilst also studying psychology and (trying to) to manage a home of slightly feral kids and animals. Luckily she's got a very nice partner to help too.

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