Are you making plans?

Sunday is “Stir Up Sunday”.  Do you have plans?

About Fr. John Zuhlsdorf

Fr. Z is the guy who runs this blog. o{]:¬)
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  1. Gretchen says:

    Yes, I am making the plunge this year and plan on stirring up a Christmas Pudding on Sunday. Here is a link to one of the recipes I have my eye on:

    In addition, I have decided to get really crazy and do a Wassail Bowl. We always have an English Christmas with roast beast, Yorkshire Pudding and so on. There are lots of recipes for Wassail Bowls out there. Anyone have a good recipe to suggest?

  2. vetusta ecclesia says:

    Surely “stir-up Sunday ” is the first in Advent, with the Collect beginning “excita”, translated by Cranmer as “stir up, O Lord”.

    [It is understandable that you might be confused by this. But the “Stir Up” does refer to the Sunday before the 1st Sunday of Advent. Yes, the 1st Sunday, in the Roman Rite, has a Collect that begins “Excita”. So does the Last Sunday. 34th and Last Sunday after Pentecost: Excita, quaesumus. Dómine, tuórum fidélium voluntátes: ut, divíni óperis fructum propénsius exsequéntes; pietátis tuæ remédia maióra percípiant. 1st Sunday of Advent: Excita, quaesumus, Dómine, poténtiam tuam, et veni: ut ab imminéntibus peccatórum nostrórum perículis, te mereámur protegénte éripi, te liberánte salvári.]

  3. Wendy says:

    V. E., it is confusing. The website “Catholic Culture”, says that it is the first Sunday in Advent… but British friends say it is this coming Sunday. I give them the preference, mostly so my mincemeat can soak in its rum/brandy bath longer (and because it looks like a post-Reformation tradition).

    You could always make two puddings – the Protestant one this Sunday and the Catholic one next.

  4. Phil_NL says:


    I think we’d be better of calling the one made this Sunday the ‘Christus Rex’ pudding. Added bonus: when stirring/whisking/crushing ingredients, you can imagine them representing your favorite heretics / leftist loonies, all while singing ‘Christus vincit, Christus regnat, Christus imperat!’.

  5. benedetta says:

    I do have a plan for Stir Up Sunday. Last year we tried it out, and served the pudding on Christmas Day and it was a tremendous hit with everyone here! Tomorrow night I’ll soak the currants and raisins in tea.

  6. AnnAsher says:

    Now Im off into the interwebs searching a recipe for Christmas Pudding. Thanks for highlighting this tradition Fr Z! I love these traditions that mark the change of liturgical season.

  7. jarhead462 says:

    Instead of Christmas pudding, I was going to start my homemade coffee liqueur, and a batch of Limoncello, so they will be ready to give as gifts this Christmas. I am eschewing (is that correct?)
    the buying of expensive gifts for two reasons:
    1. I’m Broke.
    2. This gift-giving is out of control. As I write this, I am listening to the news from around the country regarding so-called “Black Friday” instances of man’s inhumanity to man for a cheap flat screen T.V. “lets celebrate the birth of Christ buy stabbing someone!” (grrrr)
    Semper Fi!

  8. Dr. Edward Peters says:


  9. jhayes says:

    Vetusta ecclesia wrote:

    Surely “stir-up Sunday ” is the first in Advent, with the Collect beginning “excita”, translated by Cranmer as “stir up, O Lord”.

    Ah, but there’s a rubric that it is always to be used on the Sunday before Advent, in case that isn’t the 25th Sunday after Trinity.

    Here”s he explanation from Wikipedia:

    “Stir-up Sunday is an informal term in Anglican churches for the last Sunday before the season of Advent.

    The term comes from the opening words of the collect for the day in the Book of Common Prayer of 1549 and later (a translation of the Roman Missal’s collect “Excita, quæsumus”):

    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.

    In the Book of Common Prayer of 1662 and later, this collect is listed for “The Twenty-Fifth Sunday After Trinity”, with a rubric specifying that this collect “shall always be used upon the Sunday next before Advent”. This reinforced the significance of this day as forming part of the preparation for the season of Advent. The rubric is necessary because the last Sunday before Advent does not always fall on the twenty-fifth Sunday after Trinity: Trinity Sunday is a moveable feast and the Advent season is fixed, so the number of weeks in between varies from year to year.

    Thus, this collect always was read just before Advent. Since most recipes for Christmas pudding call for the mixture to stand for several weeks before cooking, the day subsequently became connected, in countries which used the Book of Common Prayer, with the preparation of Christmas puddings in readiness for Christmas. Supposedly, cooks, wives and their servants would go to church, hear the words ‘Stir up, we beseech thee, O Lord…’, and be reminded, by association of ideas, that it was about time to start stirring up the puddings for Christmas.

  10. AnnAsher says:

    It’s not so easy to jump right in an make a Christmas Pudding.
    Question: do I need both a Pudding Basin and a Pudding Steamer? Recipes call for a lid. It doesn’t appear the stoneware basins come with lids ? I’ve been googling an hour :-)

  11. AnnAsher: There are metal basins with lids. I have a couple ceramic basins without. I have used a plastic wrap over them for the steaming process. You can use parchment paper and string to tie it down. The raised outside edge around the top of the basin makes it easier to tie the covering down with string. I also made a handle from string across the top reaching underneath to make it easier to extract the basin from the stockpot I used.

  12. akp1 says:

    Not making a pudding – but I made the Christmas cake last Sunday! it gets its first top up of Amaretto this weekend! I made a large one which will get made into about 6 smaller ones for gifts. Hopefully some left over for me too. The Amaretto tastes like liquid marizipan, if you like marzipan you will really appreciate a Christmas cake made with it!

  13. Rachel K says:

    Dear Fr Z and AnnAsher, I have used plastic pudding basins without their own fitted lids to good effect. I used double thickness aluminium foil around the rim, lined with baking parchment, with enough width to overhang the edge well, tied firmly with string. This was fine for the long steaming and the puddings kept perfectly for up to two years with these covers. They tasted fabulous after two years to mature, which happened because I lost them at the first Christmas after they were made and they turned up the next year!
    My recipe is from a vegetarian cookbook (though we are meat eaters) and it contains prunes, apricots, treacle, beer and rum along the other ingredients! The flavour is great. We make several and give them away as well as saving some for the next year or for Easter when they taste like a rare
    My children love to stir the mixture (everyone in the household has to have a go at this, even the baby) and make a”wish”- I have tried to steer this towards being a prayer for good things and peace and harmony for those in need, it is a useful teaching moment!
    The steaming needn’t require special equipment; a saucer in a pan with a close fitting lid is fine, just to keep the pudding from touching the bottom. We also use metal steamers that fit in the saucepan.
    It’s nice to do other preparatory jobs for the season while the steaming goes on, perhaps making other gifts or Christmas food, this helps to pass the time and keeps you around to top up the water. I set the oven timer for hourly increments to alert us to dry pans. And of course to repeat the collect with the words “stir up”; another thoeological teaching moment for the little ones!
    I don’t steam the puddings for the full 8 hours at this point, six is ok with a good steam for a couple of hours on Christmas Day, or a few minutes in the microwave, but steaming is better for moistness.
    Thanks for encouraging this lovely tradition! Are the any typical Christmas foods from the US we could try?

  14. Incaelo says:

    Unfortunately tomorrow, the day on which I originally planned to buy the last remaining ingredients, will be quite busy for me. So perhaps I won’t be able to get started on Sunday. I certainly intend to do my best at creating my first ever Christmas pudding!

  15. VexillaRegis says:

    Rachel K: As long as you don’t use Plastic Padding in your pudding… ;-)

  16. Skeinster says:

    Brandy? check
    Dried fruits? check
    Applesauce? check
    Ready to start soaking fruits. And gathering cake ingredients.
    Also, my Advent CD from the Benedictines of Mary, Queen of Apostles, arrived today. On my honor not to take it out of the wrappings ’til Dec. 2…
    Will also be repairing/repainting the movable stairsteps on which the outdoor Nativity is displayed.

  17. lydia says:

    I’ll be baking my whiskey cakes the family loves them with fresh whip cream. Christmas morning I’ll bake a bread pudding for the grandchildren.

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