Claim your FREE Sixpence!
I am delighted to tell all my readers that I have teamed up with The Royal Mint this year in order to try to re-establish the age-old tradition of Stir-Up Sunday. I am also thrilled to be able to share The Royal Mint’s recipe for a traditional Christmas Pudding, which you can all make on Stir-Up Sunday this year, which falls on Sunday the 22nd of November, 2015. And, there’s even better news, you can claim your sixpence by popping over to The Royal Mint here: Claim a FREE sixpence for Stir-Up Sunday. (The Royal Mint is giving away 2,015 sixpences)
So, what is Stir-Up Sunday? Stir-up Sunday is the Sunday before Advent, a day that was even mentioned to the congregations at church. The term comes from the opening words of the collect for the day in the Book of Common Prayer of 1549:
Stir up, we beseech thee, O Lord, the wills of thy faithful people; that they, plenteously bringing forth the fruit of good works, may of thee be plenteously rewarded; through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.
(Book of Common Prayer of 1549)
This year, along with The Royal Mint, I am encouraging all my readers to make their puddings on Sunday, and share their photos on Instagram or Twitter; #StirUpSunday and tag @RoyalMintUK for the Christmas Pudding online party! The Royal Mint is a national treasure that produces beautifully crafted coins and medals for countries all over the world. Over a thousand years of craftsmanship and artistry ensures every piece they strike is a long-lasting piece of history, and what better charm to add to your pudding than a sixpence.
Christmas is a time for giving, so it’s not surprising that the connection between coins and Christmas has a very long history. The tradition of giving presents at Christmas began with the Three Magi bringing Jesus Gold, Frankincense and Myrrh. Over the years it became common practice to give money at Yuletide. Landowners would present hard-working and loyal staff with a Christmas ‘Box’, the origin of the name ‘Boxing Day’. Even today we often offer tradesmen (and women) a small sum for their services throughout the year and that is where the idea of adding a sixpence to a pudding is thought to stem from.
I hope to see all of you stirring up your Christmas Puddings this Stir-Up Sunday, with a sixpence added too of course! I’m dusting off my pudding bowls and checking I have all the ingredients to make my pudding, so do check out my Instagram and Twitter feeds next Sunday too, where I will be stirring my pudding and adding my own Royal Mint sixpence. In the meantime, here is the rather wonderful Royal Mint Christmas Pudding recipe courtesy of Rachel Walker, Food Editor of Readers Digest. Karen
Disclaimer: Commissioned work with The Royal Mint
If you’re making a Christmas pudding this Stir-Up Sunday, share your pictures on The Royal Mint’s Twitter and Instagram using #StirUpSunday @RoyalMintUK and we’ll share our favourites – there may even be a little prize for our favourite photo! – Don’t forget to add your own lucky sixpence!
The tradition of Christmas stockings also began with coins. There are countless versions of the story, but this one is delightful, and starts with St. Nicholas. A 4th Century Greek saint, he was also rich as his wealthy parents had died when he was young.
He loved giving gifts to those less fortunate, preferably in secret, and heard about a local nobleman who had lost both his wife and his money, and had moved into a peasants’ cottage with his three daughters, all of marriageable age. In those days, a girl needed a dowry to offer the groom’s parents, and this poor family had barely enough to eat.
St. Nicholas knew they were too proud to accept charity. On spotting that the girls had hung their stockings to dry on the chimney ledge St Nicolas decided to climb down the chimney and put a bag of silver coins into the oldest girl’s stocking. On the next visit he placed coins into the second daughter’s stocking. The third time, the grateful father hid in the room and caught St. Nicholas in the act.
Although St. Nicholas begged him to keep it a secret, word soon got out, and everyone started to hang their stockings, hoping for a visit from St. Nicholas. Of course, his generosity meant that all three daughters could marry which, perhaps, may have led to another long-held tradition that, at first sight, has nothing to do with Christmas at all…….