Enki: Christmas Day with the Raffields
Last year Enki Magazine caught up with Tom to discover his Christmas Day routine, favourite traditions and interior decorations. 'The couple whose imagination knows no limits shed light on how they mix up their Cornish family-fuelled Christmas each year'.
EM: What’s your earliest memory of Christmas?
TR: "Staying up late on Christmas eve whispering with my older brother… he’d convince me he could hear sleigh bells in the distance. We’d pretend we were asleep whenever our parents checked on us!"
EM: Talk us through your Christmas morning routine.
TR: "We try and persuade the children (we have three under 8) to stay in bed for as long as possible to avoid a middle of the night wake up – some years are more successful than others! Once the kids are awake we usually pile into the living room and sit around the tree to open stockings from Father Christmas. We’ll then have a special Christmas breakfast, maybe some smoked salmon and eggs or toasted saffron buns (a Cornish tradition!). Our family usually arrive around nine o’clock and we always try and get out for a Christmas morning walk, either through the woods or by the sea to get some fresh air."
EM: Do you prefer a relaxed day or is there a strict schedule?
TR: "Definitely a relaxed day, it’s so nice to be surrounded by family at home so we try not to make any firm plans and just enjoy the day. Everyone’s usually feeling pretty tired by the afternoon after such an early start so there’s always some form of afternoon nap… it’s all very relaxed in our house!"
EM: Are there any traditions you stick to every year?
TR: "I guess every family has a few quirky traditions that they don’t realise become habit! Father Christmas always gets left a little tipple and a homemade mince pie with a carrot served on the side for Rudolph. We always try and think of a different ‘Christmas sign’ each year - one year we made huge sleigh marks on our drive, another year we made soot footprints on the carpet (not my finest idea) and even collected some horse poo from our lane and staged it as reindeer poo. The children’s faces are priceless, and it makes my whole day.
We also love making decorations with the children, so a few weeks before Christmas there will be potato printing and paper snowflake making madness for an afternoon – something I always look forward to."
EM: What is always on your Christmas shopping list?
TR: "Port. For the adults of course… you can’t beat a glass of Port with some great cheese. There’s always sprouts on there too, controversially I’m a huge Brussels sprout fan."
EM: What item is essential for the perfect Christmas setting?
TR: "I’d probably have to say a log fire. There’s something so cosy and comforting about being sat next to a roaring fire after a chilly Christmas walk. We collect the fallen branches from trees in our woodland, store and dry them over the summer for this very purpose."
EM: How would you describe your Christmas style? Is there a particular aesthetic/look you stick to and does this change yearly?
TR: "It tends to be pretty minimal and natural. Maybe a nod towards Nordic? Paper and wood decorations, fine white Christmas tree lights and lots of green cuttings from the garden. We don’t have any tinsel or flashing lights, it’s quite plain and simple. We do usually end up with a big tree though… it’s hard not to get carried away! We’ve also been known to have a tree outside with lights. There’s something magical about Christmas lights outside on a dark wintery night."
EM: What puts you in the Christmas mood?
TR: "Probably being in the workshop in December with the hustle and bustle of orders going out the door and music playing in the background. Other people also make me feel festive, everyone is always in a good mood and that’s infectious at work."
EM: Your favourite Christmas song?
TR: "Rocking Around The Christmas Tree, it’s a classic."
EM: What is the most memorable gift that you’ve ever received?
TR: "The most memorable gift I have ever received was a tool belt complete with tools when I was 7 years old. My parents gave it to me and I think it’s the reason why I got into woodwork, our next door neighbour at the time saw how thrilled I was with the present and taught me how to make a stool and a peg rack. Happy memories!"
EM: And finally, what three things go into the recipe for a perfect Christmas Day?
TR: "Dry weather, family and laughter."