HAPPY HIPSTER CHRIST­MAS Emma Freud’s cool-kid guide to the sea­son

Are your fes­tive rit­u­als a bit stale? Want to break with tra­di­tion? Let Emma Freud show you how the cool kids are do­ing it

BBC Good Food - - Contents - @em­mafreud

Hip­sters love Christ­mas. You can un­der­stand why: the birth of Je­sus was the first recorded fash­ion­able glamp­ing ex­pe­ri­ence; the Three Wise Men had the sort of names mil­len­ni­als give their kids (Balt­hazar, Mel­chior and Cas­par); can­dle­light is very hygge; and hip­sters love any­thing to do with shep­herds (beards, vin­tage clothes, crooks). But Christ­mas for this uber-cool, street-smart, in­die gen­er­a­tion comes with its own new tra­di­tions, and if you’re un­sure of them, al­low me to fill you in – I don’t want you putting your taste­fully weath­ered Con­verse boot in it.


A hipster’s house is dec­o­rated with edge. Reg­u­lar Christ­mas trees are old school: this gen­er­a­tion cre­ate de­con­structed ones from fir branches stuck in a tree shape to a sit­ting room wall, or build lit­er­ary ones from de­creas­ing piles of books. Rad­i­cals might risk ev­ery­thing with a tree dec­o­rated only in baubles of one colour – it’s al­most retro enough to be back in – or choose an iron­i­cally small one and cover it with pop­corn gar­lands and strings of coloured ce­real (Lucky Charms work well). A crib is on mes­sage, es­pe­cially Mod­ern Na­tiv­ity’s ‘mil­len­nial fig­urine set’, which has Mary and Joseph tak­ing self­ies with baby Je­sus, a shep­herd play­ing on his phone and the Wise Men on Seg­ways bear­ing boxes from Ama­zon Prime.


Mil­len­ni­als are ex­cel­lent at find­ing fun things to do with al­co­hol – go­ing in a whole new di­rec­tion from the car-key games of their par­ents. Top of the chalk-board menu is a hot spiced drink made by in­fus­ing cider with star anise, bay leaves, clove-stud­ded tan­ger­ines and bour­bon. Beer will be flavoured with pump­kin (yuck) or maple (dou­ble yuck). They’re fond of fes­ti­val cock­tails in­volv­ing a bot­tle of vodka steeped with ju­niper berries, orange peel and a sprig from a Christ­mas tree (Blue Spruce ideally, but make sure it hasn’t been sprayed). Leave for two days, then strain into a Kil­ner jar be­fore use. For­get about glasses – these drinks are served in mis­matched vin­tage china cups, cans or Amer­i­can red plas­tic cups. For non­drinkers, Juice Club sells a sea­sonal Brussels sprouts juice – that’s a party on its own right there. In fact, you might be bet­ter off drink­ing that one on your own un­til it’s been fully di­gested.


For a pre-meal snack, soak red and green gummy bears in bour­bon (hip­sters love bour­bon) for 24 hours, drain and serve as an aper­i­tif. Mix the booze with ap­ple juice, cin­na­mon and le­mon to make fes­tive whisky sours (served in cop­per mugs, nat­u­rally).


A full turkey din­ner is too on-the-nose for hip­sters – it has retro chic, but as it hasn’t yet been out of fash­ion, it can’t be sar­don­ically lev­ered back in. In­stead, con­sider a ta­ble of freshly cooked ‘left­overs’ and a pile of sour­dough or quinoa bread so guests can make their own turkey, stuff­ing and cran­berry sauce sand­wiches. Or a big over­stuffed brioche bun con­tain­ing bar­be­cued pulled turkey (ironic) with Brussels sprouts coleslaw (green) and beet­root pick­les (red, tick). The phenom­e­nally suc­cess­ful food truck-turned-restau­rantchain Meat Liquor do an Xxxmas dog: ba­con-wrapped chipo­latas with turkey gravy and stuff­ing in a hot dog roll. Their veg­e­tar­ian op­tion is Xmac And Cheese, which in­volves deep-fried stil­ton and a port and cran­berry dip. They also serve a Pinot Grin­chio cock­tail (hip­sters love puns), which has a stripey sugar candy cane for a stir­rer.


Unadul­ter­ated Christ­mas pud­ding is too ba­sic, so the culi­nary mil­len­nial might crum­ble it into vanilla ice cream along with a rip­pled shot of Bai­leys, or make Ad­vo­caat snow­ball jel­lies in mini Kil­ner jars, served with cherry brandy marsh­mal­lows. There’s a great recipe on cook­i­es­cup­cake­sand­car­dio.com for a lum­ber­jack cake – a four-lay­ered con­fec­tion that looks like a log on the out­side, with a bold tar­tan (hip­sters love it) de­sign of mul­ti­coloured vanilla sponge when you cut into it.


Of course, gifts will be home­made. Foodie ideas in­clude a Ma­son jar of but­ter­scotch sauce; hot choco­late pow­der us­ing sin­gle ori­gin dark choco­late and vanilla marsh­mal­lows; or my in­cred­i­ble Christ­mas cookie mix packed in a Kil­ner jar, which you’ll find on the op­po­site page. If you don’t have time to make some­thing, a mini teepee for a dog is ob­vi­ously the per­fect present. If the re­cip­i­ent doesn’t have a dog, that’s fine – in fact it’s even cooler.

It may be a lot of ef­fort, but gifts should ap­pear as though you haven’t tried at all (hip­sters love try­ing hard not to try hard). And a fi­nal word of warn­ing: if hip­sters are of the long-bearded per­sua­sion, they may dec­o­rate their fa­cial hair with small wood­land an­i­mals made of felt, sprigs of mistle­toe, or tiny, shiny, beard baubles – I’m not even jok­ing – pur­chased for £4.99 on ama­zon.co.uk. Happy Hip­mas.

Good Food con­tribut­ing editor Emma Freud is a jour­nal­ist and broad­caster, di­rec­tor of Red Nose Day and a co-pre­sen­ter of Ra­dio Four’s Loose Ends.

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