Since I was a little girl I always dreamt of a white Christmas. Not because I like the snow – it’s not bad, it’s just that I hate getting cold. I wanted a white Christmas because that is what you saw in the movies. Families huddled together around a tree, with the fireplace crackling in the background, drinking hot chocolate with little marshmallows in. Wearing those “ugly Christmas sweaters”. You see, I live in sunny and warm South Africa. Even in winter our temperatures seldom drop below 0C. And December in SA is HOT! From about mid-November, we are lucky to have a day where the maximum doesn’t hit the mid to high 30C, and most of the time we turn just below 40C. So our Christmases’ are sweltering hot. What upsets me the most about the whole temperature and lack of snow situation is that most South Africans want to serve the “traditional” Christmas lunch. I say “traditional” because it has never been a tradition here, it is something that people got from the movies. We do not serve stuffed turkey and glazed ham, with mashed potatoes etc. for Christmas lunch. And if you do, you shouldn’t. It’s hot! People want to have something that is lighter, more refreshing, and more South African. Seasonal, local, and fitting the climate. That is what a Christmas lunch should be. Add to that easy, effortless and quick and you have the beginnings of a winning menu. I am not saying that you shouldn’t eat turkey or ham, just that you shouldn’t blindly follow other countries or cultures’ traditions, make your own.

We like to keep it simple, with one starter (or a bread table), 2 meats, 2 salads and 1 side, and then followed with 1 dessert. What does your Christmas meal look like?