Christmas on Becca's Books | Christmas Traditions with Debbie Rix

~ Christmas Traditions ~

With Debbie Rix

As I write about our Christmas, I think about the people whose Christmas will never be the same again - the families of those killed and maimed in Paris; the refugees fleeing terror.  I am so grateful for our gentle Christmas and for the family I share it with.

Our celebrations kick off properly on the 23rd, with a drinks party that we’ve held since our children were babies; it’s become a bit of a local tradition. When I was a child, we went to a Christmas Eve party at a friend’s house and then to midnight mass. It was a delightful start to the season and I loved the church shrouded in darkness with candles glowing in the windows as we sang ‘Silent Night’.  I remember once or twice coming out of church at midnight to find snow falling gently. I think my party is a way of perpetuating that memory.   

On Christmas Eve I’ll listen to the carols from Kings whilst I make two kinds of stuffing for the turkey. I particularly love an 18th century recipe:  it’s just chestnuts, onion, bacon and the turkey liver – all chopped finely and fried a little in butter.  Then you add parsley, thyme (fresh is best), and a pinch of mace.  Mix together with sausagemeat and salt and pepper. It’s divine.  Frankly I’d rather eat the stuffing than the turkey!

In the evening, I’ll lay the table with a tartan tablecloth and decorate it with candles and crackers.  As Christmas is so meat- oriented, I like to serve fish pie on Christmas Eve; it’s comforting but not too heavy.  The kids are rather into cocktails nowadays, so the evening will start with some mad creation of theirs.  Last year they made a rather fabulous gin-based cocktail using raspberry coulis - delicious!
On Christmas morning I’ll round up whoever wants to go to church and we’ll go off for a sing-song.   At twelve o’clock, we open some bubbly and get together in the sitting room for presents. My husband always puts on some Christmassy music – either more carols, or something a little ‘schmaltzy’ like ‘Have yourself a merry little Christmas’.  I love that song… it’s so touching and heartfelt.  
We eat in the evening, but quite early - at six o’clock - and I insist that we all change into something other than pyjamas!   After we’ve consumed the turkey and all the trimmings – including the dreaded sprouts (which are lovely tossed with garlic, bacon and chestnuts), it’s onto the Christmas pudding and rum sauce. I make my own pudding and cake at Halloween.  That’s become a bit of a tradition for me.
We play games after dinner - charades, or consequences, or sometimes a general knowledge quiz. 
My favourite day of the holiday is Boxing Day. We’ll go for a huge walk and then back for a late lunch of left-overs. In the afternoon, I’ll finally lie down and snooze, watching an old film.  It’s the same each year, and that’s why I love it I suppose.

Debbie Rix
Author of ‘Secrets of the Tower’

Debbie Rix began her career with the BBC- initially as the news reader on Breakfast Time, thereafter appearing as a presenter and reporter on a variety of factual and light entertainment television series. She had a spell as an Agony Aunt, and has also written about gardens and gardening - one of her private passions.

'Secrets of the Tower' is her debut novel. Set amidst the world of medieval Italy, it explores the creation of the most famous building in the world - the Leaning Tower of Pisa. Debbie spends a lot of time in Italy and the setting of this novel reflects her knowledge and passion for the country. 
Debbie lives in the Kent countryside with her journalist husband, children, sheep, chickens and cats. When not writing, she is usually to be found in the vegetable garden.

You can find Debbie Rix on Facebook | Twitter |


  1. What a lovely post! I thoroughly enjoyed reading about your Christmas traditions. Made me feel all cosy and happy!