There's less than five weeks until Christmas - and that means it's time to prepare our Christmas pudding, cake or mincemeat for Stir-up Sunday.

While many people choose to buy the traditional sweet treats (and why not?), lots of us enjoy getting in the kitchen and creating our own puddings and cakes.

And with this Sunday (November 24) being Stir-up Sunday, tradition dictates we make our Christmas mixes so the flavours can mature in time for the big day.

Usually this takes place on the last Sunday before Advent.

Why is Stir-up Sunday a thing?

It gets its name from the beginning of the collect for the day in the Book of Common Prayer, which begins with the words, "Stir up, we beseech thee, O Lord, the wills of thy faithful people". But it has become associated with the custom of making the Christmas puddings on that day.

It's more commonly known now as a traditional day when families dig out their wooden spoons and mixing bowls to make a Christmas pudding or cake or mincemeat.

Families would leave church to go home and teach the children how to stir up the ingredients for the pudding and each family member would make a wish.

And even today, it's still a lovely family activity. What could be nicer than all getting into the kitchen and cooking something delicious for your Christmas celebrations.

Some superstitions...

There's lots of superstitions surrounding Christmas puddings.

One says the dish should be made with 13 ingredients to represent Jesus and his disciples, and that every member of the family should take turns to stir the pudding with a wooden spoon from east to west, in honour of the wise men.

Others put a silver coin in the pudding to give the person who finds it, luck.

It traditionally was a six pence, but would now be a five pence piece. And before it was a six pence, a dried pea or bean was baked into the cake with whoever found it becoming 'king or queen' for the night.

Winsford Guardian:

How do I make a Christmas pudding?

We've dug out this fool-proof recipe for the perfect Christmas Pud courtesy of the cooks at M&S.

  • 225g/8oz caster sugar;
  • 340g/12oz sultanas;
  • 340g/12oz raisins;
  • 225g/8oz currants;
  • 50g/2oz glace cherries;
  • 110g/4oz plain flour;
  • 1 lemon, zest only;
  • 5 free range eggs, beaten;
  • 1 level tsp ground cinnamon;
  • 1 level tsp mixed spice;
  • 5g/1 level tsp ground nutmeg;
  • Pinch of salt;
  • 150ml/5fl oz French brandy;
  • 55g/2oz flaked almonds
  1. Soak fruit in brandy overnight.
  2. Mix together the ingredients and spoon the mix into a pudding basin.
  3. Put a circle of baking parchment and foil over the top and make a string handle.
  4. Steam the pudding for 6-7 hours.
  5. Remove pudding from steamer and store in a cool, dry place until Christmas day.
  6. On Christmas day reheat the pudding by steaming again for 1-2 hours.
  7. Serve with brandy butter, rum sauce or custard.

What if I don't like Christmas pudding?

There's some lovely suggestions below for alternatives.

Winsford Guardian: