All that build up, planning, shopping, cooking, excitement---! And then you blink and the holidays are gone. No matter how hard I try to keep things simple, there is to me, a tradition, anticipation, feeling that a great wonderful thing will occur. But as Lori mentioned in the comments, a bit of a letdown afterwards. But not always, this year was wonderful, my small family was together, everyone was happy and presents all seemed to please. Mo did well, patiently wearing all his Santa outfits, allowing himself to be fussed over and cuddled when he rather be chewing a jerky stick.
Our family celebration is on Christmas Eve. I was always told this is a German/ European custom, but I am not sure that's true. I think my parents were avoiding crazy Christmas 5 AMs.
The house is as decorated as it's going to be!
Peeking in from the deck.
My little white china house with its ''lit up in the darkness'' windows.
The table is set simply, this is a family supper.
More elaborate is the big antipasto platter, which we nibble on as we toast the holiday and open our gifts.
I wear my candy cane striped apron from my dad, my tree pin from my mom.
The wine glasses always go on this silver tray which was a wedding gift to me. I remember thinking, How useless is a silver tray! yet it has worked every Christmas, New Years and birthday since the day it was unwrapped. I always choose special paper plates for the antipasto and later for the cookies, tiny paper napkins to go with. Another little trick from my mother: Party plates! are essential, despite owning shelves of small china plates designed for just this purpose. A scented candle, Mistletoe.
Here is our family table: the Wedgwood reindeer plates, a glowing glittery snowball candle surrounded by fresh greens, thrift store napkins.
I almost always use this handwoven, hand embroidered Swedish tablecloth for Christmas Eve.
I love its crinkled homespun linen texture, its string-like white stitching of reindeer and trees and exotic birds.
My mother found it at Wellfleet Flea Market, in Cape Cod, many years ago.
Antipasto: grilled marinated Italian veggies, four or more kinds of cheese [yellow Stilton with dried apricots; wine and garlic infused cheddar; lactose free mozzarella, sharp provolone; marinated goat cheese.] Salamis. Crackers. Nuts and apple slices.
Wine: Pindar Summer Blush, a gift to me from my friend who knows I don't drink red wine.
Main course: Eggplant Parmesan. Sauce made ahead and frozen. Three hours standing in kitchen to fry the eggplant. I make it a day ahead.
Dessert: the infamous gluten free snowballs, and TJ's Peppermint Bark popcorn balls. Mixed nuts and dried fruit.
Christmas Day I was invited to my friends' house for dinner.
My friend did her table simpler too, plainer than her Thanksgiving table, blue hand blocked cotton napkins and her driftwood candelabra.
Menu: charcuterie platter, including exceptional honey infused goat cheese and three kinds of salami.
Main course: Braised beef short ribs w/ jus or horseradish sauce; mashed parsnips, roasted baby asparagus, with lemon mayonnaise drizzle; roasted tricolor baby potatoes with garlic and rosemary.
The wine, a good red cabernet sauvignon, Etude Winery.
dessert: chocolate chip cookies and chocolate mint brownies. My friend's trademark cooky is her choc-chips and she is such a confident hostess that she put them in to bake while we ate dinner, so the house was filled with fragrant cookies baking scent, and they were warm and gooey and delicious. With choice of iced coffee or rum cask aged Scottish whisky.
Mo was entranced by the good smells.
I feel gifts are somewhat personal and private but I'll share a few, since we talked about special gifts...
From my children, a beautifully handcrafted yarn bowl! I have wanted one for years.
And this adorable knitting kit to go with, a darling pompom hat!
The kit comes with a pattern, bulky merino wool yarn in soft grey and dusty pink [pom]; lovely dark bamboo needles, fortuitously in size 10.5, as I am not a fan of the truly giant needles. Yet these and the bulky yarn will rewardingly knit up very fast. Neither of my kids knits so they were just going by observation and they chose so well. And when finished, I will have a warm and super cute hat to wear when I walk Mo.
And from my brother and sister in law, among other gifts, this wonderful grouping of the thimbles I collect! Plus lovely fabrics and the too-pretty-to-write-on diary. I was thrilled and I love picturing them all summer, as they do their usual flea market hunting, finding these treasures for me.
From my friend L, this lovely red amaryllis. Not yet in bloom.
And from me to me, some books from an online used bookstore.
The days ended quietly. Soft early winter sunsets.
I hope your holiday was wonderful and filled with laughter and love and joy, as mine was.
gone to the beach...........
Below, the ships that were lit up later that night, click to enlarge
*PS I have no idea who the man who wrote these words is, Google was no help...but I like them.