Christmas traditions

Posted: Monday 24 December 2012
by Adam Pasco

Every family has their own Christmas traditions – the festive season just wouldn’t be the same without them.

Berries and foliage

Every family has their own Christmas traditions – the festive season just wouldn’t be the same without them. Some of ours have been going for as long as I can remember, passed on to successive generations to enjoy.

Down come the boxes of carefully packed decorations from the loft in early December, ready to adorn a new tree. Some of those decorations have seen more Christmases than my daughter, and she’s now 18! Every year we try and add one more, and often search for these when away on our summer holidays abroad. We’ve angels made from shells and a reindeer recycled from drink cans, each reminding us of an enjoyable holiday from the past.

Out in the garden, I always use netting to try and keep blackbirds from a branch of my female holly bush, so that I can bring a few sprigs laden with red berries indoors as decorations. And if I get the timing right there are also pots of deliciously fragrant paper-white narcissus at their best to cheer-up a cool window sill.

One tradition I remember the late Geoff Hamilton, presenter of TV’s Gardeners’ World, telling me about the competition he had every year with his twin brother Tony to see which of them could serve up the biggest number of different home-grown ingredients for their Christmas dinner.

The competition was fierce as a lot was at stake – their pride. As well as the usual produce from potatoes, carrots, parsnips and peas to the essential Brussels sprouts, I’m sure I remember Geoff mentioning walnuts and other fruits. I wouldn’t have put it past Geoff to save grapes from his vine to make the raisins for his mince pies or Christmas pud either. My memory fails me as to which brother, Geoff or Tony, won most often, but what a wonderful family tradition they enjoyed together.

Of course, Boxing Day has been the traditional day for many keen show growers to sow their onion seeds, in a heated propagator in the greenhouse (not in the garden, of course). Do onions really have to be sown on Boxing Day, or could this just be an excuse to escape from the relatives, or the washing up? If you really need such an excuse, it’s certainly worth a try.

From all the team here at Gardeners’ World Magazine and, we wish you and yours a very Happy Christmas, plus health, happiness and a bumper onion crop in 2013!

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oldchippy 24/12/2012 at 12:28

Happy Christmas Adam.

SwissSue 24/12/2012 at 16:58

A very Merry Christmas to all at Gardeners World and thanks for all  the interesting and practical articles throughout the year!

donutsmrs 24/12/2012 at 18:29

It has always been a tradition in our house to have fresh veg from the garden on Christmas day. My dad always did it and now I do the same. Christmas never feels the same any more with out my mum and dad here but I will always have fresh veg from the garden on Christmas day.
Happy Christmas to all at Gardeners World and a Happy New Year.

Adam Pasco 24/12/2012 at 23:30

Thanks Oldchippy, and a very Happy Christmas to you and all Gardeners' World readers. Look forward to talking to you all in the New Year! And remember to sow your onions!

BobTheGardener 25/12/2012 at 17:45

Merry Christmas everyone!

I just had potatoes, carrots, parsnips, brussels, swede and winter squash with my Christmas dinner, all of which I picked from my garden this morning (apart from the squash, which was harvested in Oct.), so I'm very much with donutsmrs here!

I've done this for over 30 years and it's definitely my main Christmas tradition, as it was my fathers!  It was a very messy/muddy job to harvest everything, so my thoughts are on those who have been flooded recently, and (of course) those around the globe who rely on aid be be able to eat at all.

Best wishes to all, Bob

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