Wonderful Weekends: Family Traditions

One thing I really love about Christmas time is our family traditions. Doing something together every year, knowing that my family has done the same thing for generations, is really grounding for me.

This weekend we all got together to make our Christmas puddings. The recipe has been passed down through my dad’s family, so I’ll honour it as a family secret, but we make it the traditional way, similar to described here. We use calico cloths instead of steamers and the puddings get boiled for 6 hours.

There is much tradition in the stirring of the pudding – 7 times towards the heart, a taste, a wish & a swig of sherry. Even the kids get in on the stirring action – not so much the sherry.

Back when I was younger, my maternal grandma also used to make her own Christmas pudding with similar ceremony.  Come to think of it, at Christmas time in my family there is always much stirring and swigging happening (and not just on pudding day).

Another treasured tradition in my family is making Christmas cake. My mum & dad make one to their recipe and my pop makes one to his (which is gloriously rich and also makes a fabulous wedding cake). Once again without giving away any family secrets, here’s a good compromise between our two family recipes. I have it on good authority that my pop’s recipe requires no less than 10 eggs!! No wonder it’s rich.

When baking their Christmas cakes, my family use traditional wooden boxes instead of tins.  After fourteen years of participating in my family’s traditions, The Man is keen to take up the mantle as well and has been pestering my dad for a cake box for some time.  This weekend on Pudding Day, he got a pleasant surprise.

He’s very much looking forward to testing it out. The question will be – who’s recipe will he use??

What’s your most treasured family tradition? Do you make your own Christmas cake or puddings?

Linking up with Life, Love & Hiccups for Wonderful Weekends.




  1. I love the cake box. I’ve never heard of this: how interesting! I’m off to do some research, surely this must be from the way back in history, before they could mould tins? Your hubby’s a lucky man. Pressure’s on now though 😉

    • I asked my mum about it today & apparently the wooden box helps retain moisture which a tin would loose over the duration of cooking (4hrs). Will post about our attempts next week!

  2. I agree. The best thing about Christmas is the family traditions. In my family it’s the Christmas Cake that must be on display throughout December and not cut into until Christmas Day and the gingerbread house I dread to make but it wouldn’t be Christmas without it.

  3. That’s just fantastic Nee. My family used to do similar but sadly none are alive anymore, only Mum, my aunt and uncle. Everyone’s too busy, too far away and too tied up with their own immediate families to come together like we used to. (I told Mum about your family in Kalbar and I think she said she knows the name.)

    PS If you’re looking for some pre-school holiday entertainment, give me a yell. We’re thinking of heading to the Ipswich Art Gallery for the ‘speed’ display, if you want to catch up after Christmas.

    Anne xx

  4. What a gorgeous tradition and the fact that you all come together to do it.
    I loved the photos as it just epitomises Christmas to me what you guys did.
    Thanks so much for sharing it Nee – I think I may have to think about starting that one ourselves.

    • Thanks Sonia. Amazing how I used to think it was all a bit daggy but since having kids I’ve realised how lucky the boys & I are to have my grandparents & their treasured traditions in our lives.

  5. Thats so gorgeous that you are carrying down a family tradition.. this is such a very special thing! I hope you do it for many years to come!! (and pass on to your boys!)
    No family traditions here … just fish and chips on xmas eve.. every year… probably not good for the waist line!

    • Thanks Jane, I hope the boys appreciate the tradition when they are older. I like the fish & chips on xmas eve tradition. One less day of cooking can only be a good thing!

  6. Wow a pudding box, well I never….that is hardcore pudding. What is the reason, does it give it a woody taste? let it air better? eekkk, probably really basic stuff and clearly not a tradition in our parts!

    • Lol cake box not pudding box 😉 I truly have no idea why we use a box – I’d say it has something to do with size and a LOT to do with tradition 😉

  7. oh wow… what a wonderful thing to look forward to coming up to Christmas!!! Beautiful tradition and a wonderful box – something to pass onto the generations is a great thing!!!! I don’t eat Christmas pudding or cake.. or anything that has cooked fruit in it :/ but my mum makes her nan’s Christmas cake recipe that was passed down the generations every year and gives a little cake to everyone at Christmas..

    • Thanks Yvette! I find it bewildering that people don’t eat fruit cake, but I hear it a lot. Hopefully my boys get their dad’s cake box one day 🙂

  8. I love this story. Family traditions are heartwarming and endearing. They give you a great sense of security. Glad the man got the cake box!


  1. […] this weekend has been consumed with Christmas cooking. Yesterday we tried out The Man’s new cake box and baked our very first Christmas […]

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