A Week in Paris
Rachel Hore’s Perfect Christmas Morning by Rachel Hore
2014/12/17  |  By:   |  Features  |  

I’ve always preferred the quiet preparations of Christmas Eve to the rugby scrum of Christmas Day. Baking mince pies, listening to the King’s College Chapel Choir warble their best on Radio 4, placing a lit candle in the front window to let the Christ Child know he’s anticipated; I’ve done all these since I was a child. Some things, though, have changed. After a simple supper (cottage pie, usually) we watch the boys’ favourite, The Grinch Who Stole Christmas, and if I’m lucky I’m allowed to see a cartoon adaptation of Beatrix Potter’s The Tailor of Gloucester, as I’ve always been charmed by the old myth of the animals gaining human speech as Christmas Eve turns to Christmas Day. We pop out a glass of milk for Father Christmas (no drinking and driving the sleigh, please), and a couple of organic carrots for the reindeer, and it’s time for bed – for us parents, anyway.

Rachel Hore

The day itself is such a rush, getting the turkey on, laying the table, prising the boys out of bed. Two of them are grown men, though they still demand Christmas stockings, but all three are now too old to wake early, excited for Father Christmas. Instead they have to be fed Coco Pops and chocolate croissants before we attend morning service at our parish church, a rowdy affair where the children of the congregation are asked to bring their noisiest presents.

When we get home the relatives start to arrive and it’s all hands on deck until Christmas dinner is served: free-range Norfolk turkey plus the usual, with something tasty for the vegetarians, then Christmas pud (processed in with flaming brandy and for some reason a lusty rendition of The Boar’s Head in Hand I Bear). It’s afternoon before any presents are opened, then time for a nice snooze after (or, I’m afraid, sometimes during) the Queen’s Speech. All very traditional, but with the boys growing up, change is in the air.

So, my perfect Christmas morning?  No such thing.  Jesus got born.  Go with the flow.

 A Week In Paris

Quick Fire Round:

Q: What is your favourite Christmas song?

A: The aforementioned The Boar’s Head in Hand I Bear.  I don’t know the rest of the words so we hum.


Q: Baileys or Mulled Wine?

A: As long as it has alcohol in it it gets my vote.


Q: Favourite ever Christmas present?

A: Anything handmade by my children.


Q: Mince Pie or Yule Log?

Q: Ewell log, def. - Ewell in Surrey is where I lived as a child.


Q: What would you like to find in your Christmas stocking this year?

A: Jo Malone bath oil.