Lifestyle, Recipes & Food

Christmas 2014

I know it’s already the New Year and I did a 2014 Review of Vanilla Blonde, but I absolutely adored Christmas this year and I wanted to share it with you. This years Christmas would be extra special because for the first time in over 15 YEARS, my entire family in South Africa would be together around the table for Christmas lunch.

On the 23rd of December, Sox and I had our own Christmas moments before I left on the 24th to fly back to Johannesburg.

I packed my bags with gifts, only a few clothes and even had to take an extra carry on bag filled with gifts.

It was absolutely pouring when I arrived and felt like we all needed arm bands to get from the plane to the Lanseria airport. I felt drenched but excited to see my family. 4 months is a long time not to see one another.

Of course, as soon as I walked through the door, Duke came rushing forward, his whole body in a giant wiggle, not just his little tail and we had major love sessions! I’m always so scared he will forget me, but he never does. My heart strings.

Having Duke around is like having a toddler around. We couldn’t put any of the gifts under the tree and had to lift them all up.

We watched Christmas movies and my mom made a delicious cheese and meat platter for us to pick at. We didn’t want anything too heavy the night before our big Christmas feast.

My mom makes the best Christmas lunch and she truly is unbelievable with every single dish. She’s famous for her Christmas Trifle.

Duke stood guard and ever hopeful for the Cornish Hens and stuffing to somehow make their way to the floor. On Facebook I was asked what Cornish Hens are and my mom answered:

We went to bed with an empty tree and in the morning I woke up to a tree that magically had all the presents under it, just as I remember when I was little. Santa even set out his own plate of what was once a mince pie and milk with the Swiss Bell. We saw a trail of carrots leading out the door – evidently from the visiting Reindeer.

My sister and I absolutely loved it at 28 and 31 years old, and it made us feel like we were little all over again. “Santa” really is the BEST.

See the left over carrot bits from the “Reindeer”? CUTE!

We made tea, cut the Stöllen and sat around to open all our pressies. We even Face Timed Sox so that he could be a part of it! I loved that. We all got ridiculously and gratefully spoilt!

Even Duke got his pressies…

After all the excitement of gifts, we needed to get everything ready before the rest of the family arrived. I took a sneak peek at Mom’s Trifle in the fridge, just to, you know, make sure it was OK! Why can’t we just start with Trifle?

Tandi and I set the table outside. It had been raining in Johannesburg, but on Christmas day the sun came out and it was a scorcher.

Don’t laugh, but since we hadn’t organised flowers, I created my own fern like Christmas tree centre piece. I tried to be creative with what we had.

Even Duke got into the Christmas spirit (aka I put tinsel around his neck and was honestly so surprised he kept it on. He didn’t even try to shrug it off. AAAND he even let me take photos of him, which never happens. I’ve mentioned before that in order to get one good photo, 50 others have been of him moving his head away. Incredible.)

I made the starters – A summer Watermelon, feta and parma ham dish, which is so delicious and light…

Watermelon, feta, parma ham, olives and rocket with a honey mustard dressing. You wouldn’t imagine that this combination could go together, but it’s incredibly tasty.

My late Gran used to make this Tuna Mousse and it’s been part of our family tradition every Christmas.

The whole SA family…

After the starters, Dad carved the Cornish hens and Gammon. Mom had the roast potatoes and butternut, veggies and gravy ready in a buffet and we all dished up with eyes bigger than our stomachs!

My Uncle Clive and cousin, Tammy

My cousin Chad and his girlfriend Oona and their long haired Daschund, Bella

The girl cousins…

Cousins… Kyle, Bailey, Chad (and his ridiculously funny faces he pulls), Tammy and Tandi

Even though we completely stuffed our faces, there always seems to be room for dessert.

Christmas pudding…

Mom’s Trifle…


My Aunty Karen’s home made mince pies…

Sox’s mom’s Greek biscuits she baked for my family…

Gingerbread snowmen

It was an amazing Christmas and we all felt like Duke here by the end of the day

I hope you had a memorable Christmas! Crazy to think it was already 11 days ago!

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