Every family has their own Christmas traditions and reasons for loving the holiday. We caught up with Beerenberg marketing director, Sally Paech, to talk about her family’s Christmas traditions and experiences, and what it is that she values most about this time of year.
Different parts of the family take turns in hosting Christmas each year, and this year it’s happening at the Beerenberg farm at Carol’s house, who lives across from the shop. Sometimes Sally will also travel to Victoria to spend it with her husband’s side of the family.
The Paechs like to do their own take of Kris Kringle, an initiative of Sally’s sister-in-law, Nettie: each year they have a theme, and everyone has to spend about $20 on a gift of that theme, which they wrap up and bring along on Christmas day.
“We normally put our names into a hat, draw them out one by one and people pick whatever gift they like the look of from the outside. They un-wrap it, then the next person does the same thing, and if they decide they want to swap with the first person, they have the right to swap, even if the first person doesn’t want to give up their gift. So you keep going like that and you’re stealing each other’s gifts and you’re trying to end up with the gift that you want,” Sally says. “It can get quite strategic and competitive!”
“No one really cares what the gifts are, but there’s always a couple of people who always try and win for the sake of winning. You find yourself desperately trying to get something you normally wouldn’t care about, like a pillow or something, which happened one year.”
In terms of other traditions, they always have a real Christmas tree. When Sally and her brothers were younger, they used to cut one down from their farm.
“There were pine trees by the road near the house and my Dad would chop one down, and we’d all try to get it off the road by the time the car comes. It was a bit dodgy! But we loved it.”
Instead of making traditional Christmas desserts, the family utilises their delicious resources and create a strawberry dessert every year. Perfect timing for the strawberry season to be in full gear. Click here to buy their crowd-favourite Strawberry jam and click here for our best strawberry recipes.
So what’s on the table for Christmas dinner? This year it’s mouth-watering pork with Beerenberg’s Apple Sauce.
“It’s different every year but usually pretty traditional. Mum sometimes does a lamb roast with our new Mint Jelly, or we’ll do a turkey with our Cranberry Sauce. But sometimes we think ‘it’s going to be hot!’, so we’ll get some lobster, some prawns, salad and veggies, and then we’ll use our Creamy Seafood Sauce, which is beautiful with lobster, and our Tartare Sauce.”
For the rest of the day, Sally’s family spends playing sports and letting out their competitive sides. One of her favourite Christmas day memories incorporated a very hot sun, a slip-and-slide, and a whole lot of water.
“There’s often a game of cricket, but our lawn isn’t flat so it’s not the greatest for the sport (great for slip-and-slide, though). We always do some sort of outdoor game; this year I think we’ll do petanque, and that will actually get quite competitive. One of my brothers will always want to win, and so it becomes everyone’s goal to make sure he doesn’t.”
“From an adult’s perspective, Christmas is just a beautiful day: you’re getting your family together, you’ve got permission to not actually do anything. It’s the day out of the whole year where it’s okay just to stop; no one expects a return email or phone call, it’s a day where you’re expected just to be and enjoy the company of your family.
“I also love watching the kids being excited in the lead up to Christmas, with putting the tree up and the possibilities of gifts, but also having this nice day. I really enjoy this excitement.”
Wanting some Beerenberg love this Christmas? You can buy any of their products online or find the label in your local supermarket.