Christmas memories should be sweet memories of special time spent with family and friends. It’s a magical time of year, especially when we are children. The stories and the anticipation of Santa, the annual Christmas specials and the family traditions that highlight the true meaning of Christmas make for many beautiful memories.
To my mind the highlight of Christmas came after our family dinner when we would be served a pudding rich with fruit and spices and with a glint of silver coins. Our family has always eaten this rich, hot pudding from north Queensland to outback New South Wales and the occasional cool coastal Kiama.
When I was a child no one ever missed out on finding coins in their serve and we would go back for seconds to increase our tally. My mother, wise woman, always counted the coins in and out. The year that Aunty Florrie came for lunch, one coin was missing.
With the advent of decimal currency, a selection of silver threepences and sixpences was put aside in a well scrubbed Vicks Vaporub jar. Every year the silver was stirred into the pudding and exchanged for decimal coins.
On my mother’s death, I brought the little jar home and for years it sat in the corner of the cabinet with the good China. I did not make Christmas puddings, relying on local markets to source tasty puddings. I would scatter the coins at the bottom of the pudding dishes before serving. My elder daughter then took up making Christmas puddings very successfully so a few years ago I passed the jar onto her.
These days the little jar is in a cupboard in Singapore where the traditional English winter pudding, complete with Australian silver coins, will be consumed on Christmas Day.