Organising the family at Christmas

Over Christmas, how many families morph into three generational families. For some that means that Grandmother cooks the dinner with adult children to help with the vegetables and sauces and the young children play around the tree or help lay the table.

But for how many did this not happen. There are many reasons but for this post I will delve into how to distribute the work for next year.

So how do we survive a three generational get-together so that everyone has a memorable Christmas for all the right reasons.

  • It’s best not to presume that you will get the help that you need so do not be afraid to ask. Be clear with the delegation and give all attending a list of what you need – they can work out who will do what.
  • Have the phone numbers of the GP walk in centre handy and work out where the 24hour emergency pharmacy is and how to get there. This might sound paranoid but we have certainly had to talk to the out of hours service and visit the emergency pharmacy over Christmas and the New Year.
  • If you are attending church allow for ample time to get back to start preparing the food or so you can settle before the guests start arriving. Parishioners are always more chatty this time of year – Do not feel rushed!
  • Make sure that everyone is able to be there to open the presents. You or one of your helpers should not be pinned in the kitchen while all the fun is happening around the Christmas tree.
  • Find activities suitable for everyone. This is not always easy but board games and old photographs are a possibility.
  • If you need to, ask your children to take the young ones for a walk after the main meal. You may want the peace and quiet to just sit and

Finally, when everyone has headed home it is very easy to feel sorry for yourself-I know, I have been there. Try to have a plan for Boxing day or something to look forward to so that you do not dwell in the emptiness directly after Christmas.

I would like to take this opportunity to wish you all a wonderful New Year!


Spice Cake (a great pre Christmas treat)

Preheat the oven to 150°C, fan 130°C. Grease and/or line an 18cm cake tin- loaf tins is best.

Measure all the ingredients into a large bowl and using an electric hand mixer, whisk them together on a low speed, Make sure the cake mix is lump free. If you find your mixture has not gotten you to a ‘dropping consistency’ just gradually add a little more milk until you get there.

Pour the mixture into the prepared tin and place in the centre of the preheated oven, baking for about 1 hour. Insert a skewer into the centre and if it comes out cleanly and is firm when tapped, remove from the oven and leave to cool. After 20 minutes remove the cake from its tin and transfer to a cooling rack.


  • 275g  plain flour
  • 200g soft dark muscovado sugar
  • 4tsp baking powder
  • 4tsp ground cinnamon
  • 1tsp ground nutmeg
  • ½tsp ground black pepper
  • 50g ground ginger
  • 125g butter, melted
  • 150ml milk ( sometimes you need a little more when mixing as mixture might be a bit dry)