The theme for this year is Santa and the Three Christmas Bears, based on the Goldilocks story. I think it’s my favourite of the last few years.
‘Gingerbread Friends’ by the renowned American children’s author, Jan Brett, tells the charming tale of Gingerbread Baby as he sets out on an adventure to find a friend of his own. Gingerbread Baby heads to the local bakery in search of a kindred spirit, only to be chased away by a hungry mama mouse, and a long line of creatures, to take refuge back at home. To his great surprise Gingerbread Baby finds that he already has a whole host of friends at home. (taken from http://www.penguin.com.au/content/362347/gingerbread-friends-2013-myer-christmas-animated-windows)
Here is a link to the video on the making of the windows in 2013. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vRf98ywbgL4. It only runs for 4 1/2 mins and is well worth a look at the fascinating process of creating the windows.
I felt the celebrations in the CBD were quite subdued compared to the previous Christmas. It was easier to see the tree though because they hadn’t allowed people to walk around it. They sectioned off a whole area so you had to see it from afar. That made it easier to get some good photos though. I don’t think there were as many lights on the tree either.
There was a show projected on the exterior of the Town Hall. We got to the hall at around 10.40pm only to find we had missed the last show. We later found a sign saying it was meant to finish at 11pm. We were really disappointed not to be able to see it.
Well Christmas will be coming to an end very soon in Australia. It’s been a great day. Christmas for me this year was very stress-free. I was able to find the presents I wanted easily and as my parents and I were going to a hotel for lunch, I didn’t have the stress of cooking that many of you have.
The first thing my Mum and I do each Christmas morning is go to the cemetery to put flowers on the graves of our relatives who have died. This is something that both Mum and I have been brought up doing so we know our way around the cemetery but Christmas Day is one of the days of the year that we see people driving around, looking very lost. I saw one lady in particular driving around looking for a gravesite for about 10 minutes.
After that we went to our homes to get ready for lunch. We met at Mum and Dád’s house before driving to the Berwick Inn for a buffet lunch. I wasn’t able to take a photo of the buffet because it was very spread out.
First course for us was seafood (salmon, oysters and king prawns) but we could also have chosen soup.
I was disappointed to find there was no chicken. I hardly eat meat but there were a lot of vegies and some salads.
I hadn’t seen the dessert tables when we walked in but there were lots of yummy things on offer. Of course there was plum pudding. They came in the form of mini puddings which were a great size. They stopped me from eating too much pudding. I also had some profiteroles and a chocolate mousse tart. By that time I was so full. It was a lovely lunch and it was nice to have a meal with my parents.
After that we went to see my brother and his family. We spent a relaxing afternoon with them. It was so nice to have a stress-free Christmas. I feel sorry for everyone who has so much to do and don’t enjoy it.
We expected Federation Square to be the centre of the Christmas celebrations (as well as the Myer Christmas lights). I was really disappointed to find that wasn’t the case. Mum had read that there was something at the Town Hall and City Square so we headed up there.
As we walked up Swanston St we saw crowds sitting on the footpath and realised there was a light show at the Town Hall. As we got closer we realised the exterior of the building was illuminated in a magnificent light show.
This year is the 57th year of the tradition of the Myer Christmas windows at their Bourke St, Melbourne flagship store.
Each year the process that takes more than one year to prepare (yes they are already planning the windows for next year). This years theme is Russell’s Magic Christmas, a book I hadn’t heard of before visiting last Saturday night.
The story, written by English author Rob Scotton, is about Santa’s sleigh breaking down in the woods. Santa thinks he won’t be able to deliver all the presents in time. That is until Russell the Sheep comes along and helps fix everything and gets the presents delivered to the children in time. The illustrations in the book are brilliant and they have been brilliantly recreated in the windows.
Mum and I caught the tram to Bourke St Mall after the soccer last Saturday night to see the display. They had only been revealed eight days earlier, and still being November, the crowds were quite small. I’ve been there in previous years and had to queue up for around an hour just to see them. I’ve known people from interstate come to Melbourne just to see the windows and they certainly won’t be disappointed this year.
Years ago my Mum and I used to make our Christmas cake every year. I’ve never been a fan of some that are sold in the supermarkets. They are ok but when you’ve made your own you realise it’s often better. Then we switched to regular puddings before making gluten free ones so my sister in law could enjoy them too. Our whole family loves the GF ones because they are so much lighterr. Which means you can eat more doesn’t it? haha This year I felt like making the cake again so Mum dug out the old recipe.
The recipe is a simple one and one that doesn’t take too long to make. The time is mostly in the cooking (3-3.5 hrs).
First of all I soaked 1 kg of mixed fruit in sherry for 36 hours (minimum 24 hrs).
Beat the butter and sugar together until light and creamy. Taste testing this is the best part of making the cake. Yum lol
Sift the flour and spices together.
Mix in the lightly beaten eggs.
Mix in the flour then the fruit with a wooden spoon.
Line the sides and base of the cake tin so the cake can be easily removed when cooked.
We don’t put almond icing on our cakes (because I don’t like it and it’s less fussy) so I lay some blanched almonds on top before cooking for 3-3.5 hours. I test it after 3 hrs and then if it’s still moist in the middle put it on for another half an hour. If it’s still not quite ready after 3.5 hrs I switch the oven off and let it cook wth the remaining heat.
Once it cools down you have to paint it with sherry then wrap it in foil and a cloth for a week before painting it with more sherry. It’s best stored for a month before eating to let the flavours develop. It smells beautiful and I’m glad that it’s at my Mum and Dad’s house because I would be tempted to eat it before the month elapses. I know my Dad would love to eat it now.