Tuesday, 13 December 2011

Christmas Breakfast

Growing up, we had a traditional way of doing most things related to Christmas.  I've mentioned before that we take Christmas very seriously.  And I'll admit that I'm the most adamant that traditions be carried out, even now that my brother and I are in our 30s.

I have such fond memories of Christmas morning and all the family rituals that we had, that I'm really looking forward to having my own family and traditions.  There are some that I feel passionate about carrying on from my childhood, but I'm also excited about starting new traditions with my husband and our new family.  Since he is Jewish, Ross obviously didn't grow up with his own family rituals.  I'm slowly indoctrinating him into the fun of all the trappings of the season.

On Christmas morning, my brother and I were not allowed to go downstairs to the tree and the presents in the morning.  We had a giant advent calendar on the wall in the stair landing, though.  Santa would put the star on top of the tree to let us know that he had been, so we could check from the top of the stairs and then go running to mom and dad's room.

Mom would then go downstairs and get breakfast for us all and bring it up on a tray.  All 4 of us would climb onto my parent's four poster bed and eat our breakfast of cinnamon rolls, little smokie sausages, OJ and hot cocoa.  We even have official Christmas mugs.  I get very upset if people don't use their assigned Christmas mugs on Christmas morning.  Mine has a scene from "The Night Before Christmas" on it.

This year, I've been thinking about what "our" traditional Christmas breakfast will be.  Ross is a pescatarian, so the smokies are out.  You can't really find those Pillsbury tubes of cinnamon rolls here, so those are out also.  So, I've been researching other options.  Knowing that British and American breakfasts are very different, I thought there was a good chance of finding something fun and different for our Christmas morning food.  I thought there might be some traditional food items that British people enjoy on Christmas morning.  A little internet research reveals a few things.

There is no such thing as a traditional Christmas Morning Breakfast in England.  People described  the following options:
1.  Scrambled eggs, smoked salmon, and bagels.  Well this is pretty much what Ross would choose to have for breakfast everyday.  (If he ate breakfast regularly, that is.)  While very nice, it just doesn't seem "special" enough for our family.
2.  A Full English Breakfast.  I know it's beloved in this country, but I just can't get behind the "full fry up" and Ross isn't a fan either.  

3.  What breakfast?  Variations of "grab some coffee and cereal",  "no time for breakfast, must open presents", and "whatever I can cram in my face amongst the chaos".  This is a serious no-go for me!  The ritual of being forced to eat a nice breakfast before the excitement of opening presents, of connecting as a family before the gluttonous commercialism takes hold, is important to me.  It's not just about eating food.  It's about

The most surprising thing I found in my research was the thing that most people's descriptions shared:  alcohol.  Yep.  Nearly every description of Christmas morning included a "well, obviously..." nod to alcohol of some sort.  There were mentions of bloody marys and champange, even vodka upon waking.  The most common beverage to make an appearance, however, was the Buck's Fizz (that's a mimosa to those from the US).  All of these mentions of drinking as integral to Christmas morning/day either alluded to, or flat-out proclaimed, that spending time with one's family is torturous and can only be survived if one pours alcohol (in large quantities) down one's neck for most of the day.  Well that just makes me sad!  I think it's one of those things that is a "very British" thing to say, as opposed to being an actual sentiment that is heartfelt.

So, in the end, I'm still at the drawing board for what out Christmas breakfast will be.  Something "special", that doesn't have meat, or lots of dairy...  any ideas?

Does your family have a traditional breakfast on Christmas morning?
How many times did I use the words traditional/tradition in this post?


  1. Yeah, like posting anonymous comments on blogs, it could become a tradition, I may celebrate with a glass of champange;)

  2. How about pancakes made into cute shapes, hashbrowns and fruit?
    I'm a meat lover so I'd need sausage, bacon and eggs as part of my breakfast :)
    You could always make cinnamon rolls from scratch! :)

  3. Aw, Meg. I love your blog (former junior year abroad-er to the UK) and I so wish I knew you in real life.

    This post felt uncanny to me because my family growing up also had cinnamon rolls and hot chocolate in special Christmas mugs as a part of a pre-presents Christmas breakfast (but with scrambled eggs and Canadian bacon). I hadn't even really processed it as being a family tradition until reading your post.

    Having been moved to finally delurk by this overwhelming family Christmas nostalgia, I may go into the past and make comments no one will read, just because I love your blog so much...

  4. @anonymous #2- I'm considering pancakes (cutting them in shapes would be really fun!), french toast, and homemade cinnamon rolls. We might do latkes as a nod to Ross' Jewish-ness!
    @esbee- Thanks for reading and for all your kind comments! You make me feel all warm and fuzzy :)

  5. You know, Meg, I've been trying to think of something to calm Christmas morning down a bit when we have a child. I love the idea of this. When I was little we could do stockings before breakfast, but then we had cinnamon and orange rolls that my grandmother would put on the pan in the shape of a Christmas tree with a little cherry on the top of the "tree". I love the idea of keeping a bit of sanity instead of a mad rush for presents. I have to decide what we'll do for our tradition!