Every year my mum made the Christmas cake in October half term and every year we all got the chance to stir the mixture. As we stirred the dark, fruity, gloop we were told to make a wish. This was the best thing about the Christmas cake, better than eating it or smelling it baking on a long autumn afternoon. Every year my Christmas cake wish came true. In retrospect, this was probably because I wished for things which were already likely to happen, in order to maintain the magic, but still, it seemed to work.
This year I had two helpers as I made our cake. I had to pick the egg shells out of the mixture before it went in the oven. I told both children to make a wish as they held the bowl and stirred. They both struggled to think of anything. I’m not sure that either of them actually did it. In fact I strongly suspect that one of them closed his eyes and counted to five in order to shut me up!
When I opened the Christmas cake up this evening to begin the icing process, I was thinking about wishes. It’s interesting how a wish has to be made. You don’t imagine a wish, or think it or feel it or contemplate it; you make it. The word make implies a degree of creation, formulation, construction. Maybe next year I’ll give the children more than a few seconds warning before the recipie requires their wishes. Perhaps they will compose something magical, given the time. And my wishes as I made our Christmas cake this year? I didn’t make any, it’s been a good year and I’m just hoping that the cake tastes as good as it smells.