It’s not just holly and ivy that do well at my place: blackberries can grow a metre in a week and raspberries (a close cousin of the blackberry) also thrive. In fact, when I first moved in, half of one of the kitchen garden beds was raspberry canes but, within a few years, all of the beds were either raspberries or mint with nothing in between. (I’m not much of a gardener.)
Since my canes fruit in December, when I go to a bring-a-plate Christmas function, I usually take a big bowl of raspberries. This is brilliant because:
- Although they cost me nothing, they’re an expensive luxury so it’s considered a generous provision.
- Most people love them.
- Nearly everyone can eat them (even people with allergies or self-inflicted eating restraints) including those watching their weight in the festive season, and they usually appreciate something that isn’t drenched in fat or salt or sugar.
- If you garnish them with a few mint leaves, the red and green look very seasonal.
And I can also make raspberry jam and raspberry cordial and raspberry vinegar for hampers and Small Presents. In fact, the only drawback is that I have to spend time picking and preserving fruit in December when there’s so much else to be done, but it’s a pleasant task rather than a burden.
So I heartily recommend that you find a Christmas crop for yourself. You could go with strawberries if raspberries aren’t right for your climate or with anything else that grows well at your place and fruits in December.
“Change of plan,” said Don. He left it too late to book and the ski lodge is full for the whole of the school holidays. So he’s chosen a weekend in August instead. I’m quite happy with this because:
- there’s a better chance of snow at Baw Baw in August
- if I’m not using my precious annual leave on the holiday, it won’t worry me if it rains
(But is it worth knitting a frog hat just for a weekend?)
 Except picking time.
 Except for berry allergies, of course.
 Like vegans.
 Or fat and salt and sugar like the salted caramel fudge my niece Emma cooked as Small Presents last year. (Most of the recipients loved it but her Pilates teacher did ask Emma if she was trying to kill him.)
 Unless the day I make jam is a scorcher, in which case I feel as if my saucepan is full of lava and my head is full of rocks for turning on the stove on such a hot day.