Letter to Recycling Christmas

Christmas Recycled
Dearest Christmas

Well it’s Boxing Day and although your named day is over, it’s certainly not the end of your sumptuous season by any means.

I’ve been spending a quiet Christmas with my brother, where I am chief cook and he the chief bottle washer.  We both supply the food and so I will serve up a traditional feast on Christmas Day, and something delicious with left overs on Boxing Day.

This year my brother requested a fish pie as our Boxing Day treat…  It was my own fault really, because several months ago I made a really scrumptious ‘Nostalgia Pie’ for him…

Well it was a fish pie actually, but rebranded as a Nostalgia Pie because it was something my mother always loved, and now she’s gone I like to celebrate in various ways – including culinary ones.

The pie was a lavish affair – I had found wonderful fish from various sources at different times and stored them in my freezer, waiting for the day they would be gloriously assembled together with a bought cheese sauce, shop bought mashed / chilled potato, and other tasty ingredients from my extensive store cupboard.  Bringing everything together, I filled a large lasagne dish to bursting with unctuous flavours and sizzling pleasure.

My brother thought it was absolutely delicious and decided to eat all but a corner of it, probably a decent 6 portions… His happy gluttony made me smile – it was a great compliment, he deserves it (he does so much for me) and I’m not a great fish fan any way…

Back to Boxing Day and he tells me he has bought a frozen fish mix.  I shudder slightly – it is full of boring, poor quality off-cuts… We have used up most of the available vegetables for the Christmas Day meal.  My brother suggested that I shop for any ingredients that were missing in order for me to fulfil the next culinary masterpiece, but that to me is the antithesis of Boxing Day…

Much as I love gathering and shopping for ingredients, I know I love the challenge of making wonderful meals out of left overs even more… It brings out my creativity, means I make the best of all that is around me and not least that I take really random elements, marrying them together in the most delicious ways.

Sure enough, I realise that there are enough cooked vegetables (from yesterday) to recycle into another gourmet guise…

This time I make cheesy parsley sauce and mash potato from scratch.  The sauce and mash are divinely suffused with left over cream and butter. I chop up roasted vegetables to thicken and flavour the sauce.  I take the left over stuffing and turn it in to a scrummy crunchy topping for the pie.  I trim all the horrid brown bits off the now defrosting fish. I chop and stir and combine and time.

Christmas Pie
My Festive Fish Pie after just 2 servings…

Eh voila! My Festive Fish Pie emerged from the oven after several hours of laconic and loving effort.  It was a delicious and a unique thing of foodie beauty which could only have been created by us, in this seasonal moment.  We had recycled the joy of Christmas Day into something new and elevated; using up our left overs, and all this with the satisfaction that only a store cupboard feast can engender…

When it comes to recycling Christmas joy, my next issue will be how to tackle my presents, a number of which I never actually use…  Often they are recycled as presents to other people, create cash in Car Boot Sales or go as prizes to the raffles of various good causes.

Now that may sound ungrateful, but the thing is, they are still very much appreciated, and they are used to create cash or other forms of good.  Recycling them seems an odd impulse, because in many ways I am very much a Material Girl and I love ‘stuff’, but I just have too much of it.  Ironically too, I feel as I get older, that the joy of stuff is so often short lived and so I recycle the components of it into other delicious or useful entities.

To add layers to the irony I do still buy gifts for other people, but less and less, now preferring to fund ‘experiences’ that they or we can enjoy, to create both time and memories.

I appreciate that such experiential gifts are my choice and so I am happy when people tell me what their choice of gift is, making the giving and receiving of it so much easier…

I’ve been minded this year to recycle gifts and unwanted stuff to turn in to wanted stuff for people who, for whatever (individual or societal) reason need it; thinking of people less fortunate in this country and beyond, so I can share my good fortune in both local and global communities.  There are any number of good causes that we can contribute to and my own measure are ones that connect to me emotionally in some way.

In recent years too I have encountered a gorgeous exercise called ‘Recycle Your Inspiration’, where each member of a group will wrap up a book or (meaningful) object and put it into a ‘pot’, which the other individuals draw out of, in the spirit of a vast, celestial Secret Santa exchange… I’ve experienced this in Book Clubs, Self Development Groups, also at work and in social situations.

So often I have seen a magical serendipitous wonder when a seemingly random ‘Recycled Inspiration’ package is opened up and the object inside is something responded to with recognition and joy.  A thing given by a stranger, in unconventional gift giving circumstances, that somehow taps into the receiver’s psyche.  What so often makes this particular unveiling so much more fascinating is when you get the story of the gift from the giver and therefore understand the significance which they have given it.

So from pies to presents – recycling rules, and I am ending this latest love letter by wondering, how you and I can recycle even more..? Be that food, necessities, gifts, luxuries or??? And wondering too, just what we will receive in return…

Yours – again and again,
Sandra
Recycled Goddess, Coach, Consultant and Writer

PS: I’ve created my first Christmas written work… It’s a FREE capsule – AKA gem of an EBook, gathering together my nostalgia and reflections on a Christmas theme. It’s designed to be evocative, entertaining and to make you think about this time of year – so you can embrace and enjoy your Christmas. To get your copy of a Peachey Christmas, just click the link here…

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