Monday, December 28, 2009

Celebrating Christmas

The following post was originally shared in 2009.

I'm linking it to today's Creating Christmas Linky Party.

~ Silver and Gold Christmas ~

I hope it offers some inspiration.

Nancy Thomas Print, Black Tie Santa, 1995

Christmas Eve at our home is a quiet celebration with family. We traditionally share the evening with my husband's twin brother and his wife and daughter. No gifts, just a time to catch up, remember good times from the past, laugh, and of course enjoy some good food prepared by my talented husband.

A Courtly Check Christmas was the theme in our dining room this year. We tucked one of the slim line trees into the corner by the buffet, decked it with our special glass ornaments, and topped it with a wide silk ribbon in black and white plaid.

These courtly Check ornaments were a special highlight added just days before. Aren't they spectacular? Linda @ My Shabby Rose Cottage painted these. I recently found her wonderful blog and was thrilled to learn that she had these for sale. I suspect I'll be doing a lot of shopping with Linda in the year ahead.

I wanted to set a casual, 

but elegant table for our Christmas Eve meal.

Those of you have read previous posts may know of my fondness for MacKenzie-Childs and especially the pieces in the Courtly Check pattern. Well, these MacKenzie-Childs Courtly Check chargers were a gift to myself this holiday. I like the way the black and white checks look with the simple brown and gold bands of our wedding china, Palermo Brown, by Richard Ginori. They provide an unexpected twist. The green beaded placemats were a Pottery Barn purchase a couple of years ago.

I often use cyclamen plants in both white and bright pink about the house during the holiday season for the delightful aromatic fragrance and the lasting blooms. Once Christmas is over, I plant them outside in the garden. Here in Texas, cyclamen are the perfect winter bloomer.

As a little party favor and to mark one's spot, 

I added a glass ball glittered in gold at each place setting.

It's fun to send guests home with a little something, 

and what better treat than an ornament for one's own tree!

Each was tied with a Courtly Check 

ribbon to carry out the theme.

I placed them in a gold ball 

martini glass just for fun.

With the brown emanel of the Christophe Talisman silver and the gold, brown, and black accents of the plates, red napkins added a little punch and Christmas cheer to mix with the sparkly greens.

More sparkle for the table was 

provided with the amber crystal stemware by Denby.

My contribution to the meal. . . 

I baked a fresh apple pie and served 

it with whipped cream and . . .

these peppermint almond macrons 

I picked up from a local bakery.

Christmas morning I woke to a stocking full of gifts, each thoughtfully selected by my husband. This beautiful handmade European ornament was right on top and is a glittering masterpiece with intricate details. It's a French hen from the Reed and Barton Twelve Days of Christmas series. Notice the gold fleur de lys and the ermine tails that decorate this fine bird. I absolutely think this is one of the most beautiful ornaments on the tree! The fact that it is a gift from my sweetheart makes it extremely precious!

After a leisurely morning with a late breakfast and a brisk walk along the trail, we joined friends for a Christmas Day dinner at our friend Judy's home.

Her festive table was laden with plump red pomegranates and magnolia leaves from a tree in her yard. A bounty of fresh fruit and greens filled a compote at the center of the table.

Each place setting was beautifully set with Strasbourg and 

Winthrope silver and Spode Christmas china . . .

atop Spode Christmas placemats.

Heavy red Vietri chargers with 

white polka-dots held the china settings.

The cheerful bands of red and green and the whimsical peppermint inspired linen napkins made a stunning presentation. Note the beautiful antique French napkin ring. For many years Judy and I traveled to Paris each March. We would time our trips to coincide with the annual Brocante Et Aux Jambons held on the ile de Chatou and the oldest outdoor antique market in France.  Early on we discovered the charm of French antique napkin rings which are wider than most, not expensive, and the perfect size to easily carry back as a souvenir of our vacation. So over the years we each returned with one or two. Not only are they beautiful, they make great conversational topics for the table!

Saint Louis crystal stems 

held the evening's wine selections.

We started with a salad of fresh greens, 

pears, and blue cheese.

Followed by a traditional southwest 

meal of homemade posole and . . .

handmade tamales with chicken or pork 

and topped with red and green hot sauce.

All of the above enjoyed with friends gathered along each side of Judy's antique French farm table, another purchase from one of our yearly trips. Not only is this table the perfect venue for eating and conversing, it holds special memories. You see, this 9 foot table was one found at the Marché Aux Puces in Paris, another favorite antique market.

After dinner we moved to the living room to enjoy coffee and dessert around the cozy fire burning in the fireplace. The mantel was decorated with more fresh magnolia leaves and a collection of very special Christmas plates done in Copenhagen, Denmark.

These Bing and Grondahl porcelain plates are from a Christmas Around the World series done between 1995 and 2000.

Each is hand-painted and is 

the original art of Hans Henrik Hansen.

Notice the wide golden borders 

The dining room table was filled 

with an assortment of Christmas sweets . . .

around this clay blow filled with succulents 

within a wreath of red berries.

This sweet little Courtly Check birdie atop an intricately painted egg was my Christmas gift from Judy this year. Isn't it perfect for our CC tree? "Thank you, Judy!" and my heartfelt thanks to each of you who stop by today. Have a safe and happy New Year's Eve. I wish each of you the best for 2010!

Please, help yourself to a snow flake sugar cookie 

before heading off to visit 

Creating Christmas ~ Silver and Gold Christmas 


The summer we married, my husband was in graduate school, and I was employed as a teacher. We took a portion of our savings that summer and purchased a sailboat. We christened our Catalina 22, “Hyacinths For The Soul” after Saadi’s poem. Our "Hyacinths" provided years of pleasure.


  1. Lucky, Lucky Sarah!
    Your Rooster ornament from Mr A is just gorgeous.
    Thank you for sharing your wonderful Christmas with us all.
    Happy New Year from Normandy

  2. My dear friend Sarah
    Everything is so beautiful! You have the most wonderful collection of china and Christmas decorations I have ever seen and you arrange everything so perfectly.
    Hugs, Rhondi

  3. Everything looks beautiful. I'm sure you'll have a very satisfying New Year's Eve with your family.

  4. Both of you ladies set beautiful tables ... everything is just lovely & so inviting.

    Have a beautiful & blessed NEW YEAR ... I will be in & out of communication for a couple weeks.
    TTFN ~ Marydon

  5. That's it! Next year, I am quitting my job so I can decorate properly! So lovely and in such good taste! I'm jealous!

  6. Hello Dear Sarah,
    What a very beautiful table setting you made for Christmas Eve. It looks like a very festive evening. I love your glitter place setting balls. What a lovely idea.
    I'm so happy you enjoyed your Christmas Day. Your friends table is equally beautiful!
    Happy New Year to you and your Husband.

  7. Oh my everything in this post is so lovely Sarah. The tables are fabulous. I love the way you used the martini glasses to put the bulbs with placecards in! The black, white and gold are great! The red and white polka dot chargers are calling to me.
    What a great meal pozole and tamales!
    A very Happy New Year to you and yours!!

  8. Gorgeous gorgeous beautiful and inviting. You are very talented.

  9. knock me down with a feather... this is over the top magazine quality decor... You had me at McKenzie child... from there I was lost in the assortment of decorations and food... Sarah...I loved, loved, loved this post classic and tasteful and it looked inviting and fun!!!!!!
    I am so glad you left a comment on my blog... so I would stop and see what you have been up to! Absolutely, delightful... thank you for sharing. And thank you for your kindest of comments. Every time I click the publish button, I get a weird feeling... like people are rolling there eyes at you know what I mean? Your comment made me feel relevant and hopefully somewhat useful in this upside down world.
    Thank you. I am grateful to visit your world as well. Happiest of New Years to you!!! I love it you write a list too!

  10. What a beautiful table setting!!!
    Who would not want to be a guest and enjoy family and friends at that table! Thanks so much for sharing with us.
    Happy New Year to you and your family!

  11. Just one pretty table after the other. We also had tamales but I served tortilla soup.

    Happy New Year!

  12. All so pretty -- love your chargers and that ornament is wonderful! Happy New Year's!

  13. I love the B&W MacKenzie-Childs plates with your wedding china. What a beautiful, fresh idea to put place cards in the martini glasses -- and that decorative bulb adds color and whimsy. Your pie looks delicious!

  14. Love the black and white, love the tree, love the the ornie....wonderful! Happy New Year!

  15. The checkered tablescape is so cheery!
    Love the ornaments & placecards!
    and definitely A+ to hubby for the French hen! She's exquisite!
    Love the 'egg' that dangles beneath her~ so beautifully made~
    Happy New Year ~ Maria

  16. Sarah, your tables are beautiful...I love the Christmas Eve table. Your slim line tree is beautiful...and the rooster ornament is so detailed. My husband happens to be an identical twin...he and his twin will be celebrating a milestone birthday on the Epiphany along with a best friend who was also born the same day/year...he is referred to as the third twin!
    A very Happy New Year to you and yours!

  17. Your whole post is just amazing. So much to look at and get inspired over!
    I just love your table. The colors and the way you put it all together. Great attention to detail.
    You have a wonderful style and I am a fan!
    Happy New Year.

  18. Beautiful post, Sarah..I love your check tree and table ! And your friend's table is lovely too..

    What a beau gift from your dh! We don't really exchange but I did find him a nice book about his beloved Boston Red Sox. And no, he was born here in NY..Go figure!

    The red check plates you asked about are made by Neiman Marcus, but I found them about 6 months ago in TJ Maxx.
    I actually have them in lavender too, but just 2 place setting of those, sent to me by a Cooking Forum friend..Those I have not been able to find anywhere.
    I hope you have luck finding the red checks..I love them!
    Many blessings in has been wonderful getting to know you!

  19. What a beautiful post! So much to see and each table is so well done! I love the black and white check and the table that coordinates! All your tables are fantastic and inviting! Great post! Miss Bloomers/Sonia

  20. so much to enjoy here! i love your black and wht everywhere, it looks fantastic from tree to table~

    and your food, oh my, such visual treats!

    i keep scrolling up and down, i hate to leave!

    thank you for all the kind words you share with me, have a very happy new years eve!

  21. Oh my............what a beautiful post. thank you, michelle

  22. Your post went on and on...and I was so HAPPY! So much to look at and oggle over! Your checkered tablescape was fabulous - love all your ideas and the gift to yourself tied everything together. Then, the little tour at your friend, Judy's house - felt like I was right there...and what a beautifully decorated place to be on Christmas!
    Thanks for taking the time to put this lovely post together - great pics too!
    Happy 2010!


  23. Hello Sarah! You picked the perfect Christmas gift to yourself. The MacKenzie shild's plate chargers are beautiful. IN fact, your whole table is beautiful, so much to admire. Happy New Year!...Christine

  24. Hi Sarah,
    Your tables are beautiful. I did a black, silver and white tree for Christmas Eve too, but have yet to post it. I love your tables. Both so different but each as lovely as the other. Thanks for sharing and visiting
    Happy, healthy New Year

  25. So lovely! Just beautiful and your pictures are just breathtaking. Happy New Year.

  26. Dear Sarah:
    What a lovely post! So filled with detail.
    I love your Christmas Eve tablescape and that you got yourself a perfect gift. Sometimes we've just got to do that. The Courtly Check is just the right touch to your table and your tree!

    Judy's tablescape was beautiful as well. Although I've never made it to a French antique market, I did make it to Portabello Road in London and had a field day! You're so right, you must do a post on your travels to the French markets.

    I've so enjoyed your blog and truly look forward to it in the New Year. Happy New Year.

    What magical tablescape are you up to for New Year's Eve or Day?

    - The Tablescaper

  27. Sarah, what a delicious post, both for the stomach as well as the eyes!

    Please give Mr. A another hug (I'm sure he got several) for his great selection of a Christmas is strikingly beautiful & one I now you will cherish for years to come.

    Your friend Judy's tablescapes are just luscious! I'm so glad you remembered to take your camera with you & were able to get shots of the food as well as the empty plates.
    I have never heard of posole....must go look that up. I never fail to learn something from your posts. You can tell you were a teacher in another life. LOL

    I am SO glad I found your blog in '09 & can't wait to see what you create in 2010! (please DO post about your travels to France?)

    Happy New Year, Honey!

  28. What gorgeous decorations and tablescapes. All of them are just stunning. I am so thrilled for you to get the wonderful checked chargers. I have drooled over these for a while now and would love to have some. What a thrill it has been to get to know you this past year and thank you so much for all the wonderful, kind and gracious comments you always leave. I hope you and all your family have a very Blessed and Happy New Year. Hugs, Marty

  29. How I enjoyed this post Sarah. You must be a whiz at baking too, that pie looks delicious. The new ornament from your husband is a treasure. Oh, I relished it all.

  30. Sarah, I don't even know where to start, so I will just say Wow, Wow, Wow! I love it all.

    And, those martini glasses are incredible.

  31. I love everyone of the tablescapes. Gorgeous each one of them. Beautiful pieces. I especially like the black/white combo.

  32. Both tablescapes were fabulous!!! I love the silver napkin rings & I am so jealous. I have been to Paris, but didn't get to a flea market. Boo hoo! I'd love to return just to do that someday. I love, love, love the rooster ornament that your hubby got you.

    Have a Happy New Year. And thanks for visiting my tablescapes.


  33. I just love your new ornament! All the tables are lovely, from dishes to napkins, center pieces. I had fun looking at back post and What did I find A Rooster Tree! I just told hubby I want to add roosters to my kitchen tree next year. Now where will I find rooster ornaments? I do love glass ornaments. I may just have to make some wooden ones and paint them. lol I had so much fun today! Thank You!

  34. Hi Sarah...

    I just read your sweet note that you left for me on my "Year in Tablescapes post, my friend...thank you so much for stopping by and for leaving me such a lovely note!!! I wanted to come by to wish you and your family a Happy New Years...many blessings to you all, Sarah!!!

    Ohhh know, I just adore coming to your place!!! You always...always have the prettiest things and I'm always so inspired by your creativity and talents!!! I love, love, LOVE the gorgeous Courtly check decor that you used in your beautiful dining room for Christmas, Sarah! I don't know...I have a weakness for anything black and white checked! Your Christmas tree with the big ol' Courtly check bow is simply gorgeous! Ohhh...and I just adore that new rooster/fleur de lis ornament that your honey gifted you with! He is certainly a beautiful addition to your Christmas tree!!! By the way...I think your honey has excellent taste! Hehe!

    Love your fabulous Christmas tablescape with all the Courtly check! Your new charger plates are really beautiful...I have a feeling that you'll be getting lots of use out of those pretties!!! Anyway, love the color combination that you used...the pretty china with the brown and gold banding...the Courtly check chargers...and the pretty green beaded placemats...all sooo gorgeous together!!! Thank you for sharing your lovely Christmas table with us...and also your friend's fabulous table as well! What "eye candy"!!! It looks like you had a wonderful Christmas with family and friends!!!

    Well my friend, it's hard to believe that we're about to embark upon the year 2010! I'm still not sure where all of 2009 went! Hehe! This past year has been great though...I'm just thrilled to have met you and I'm really looking forward to continuing our friendship in the coming new year!!!

    Blessings...and Happy New Year, Sarah!

    Chari @Happy To Design

  35. Sarah,
    Each table is so lovely! The checks add just the right amount of fun! Save a place for me naext time.. the food looks yummy! Happy New Year!
    Dee Dee

  36. Oh my gosh...where do I begin? Everything is just stunning! Love the tablescape and your new ornament. I must say the MacKenzie-Childs china didn't appeal much to me until now-I LOVE the way you displayed it. Very arsty and very beautiful. Love the tree, the bow and the hand painted black and white ornament. You have a lovely home.

    I loved both tablescapes. And the food, it looked fantastic. Do you have room for one more?

    P.S. Love the blog name. You sound like a lady who has lived a wonderful life:)

  37. Wonderful tables. I love the Mackenzie Childs look! The food looks really yummy too :)

    Happy New Year!

    Christi @ A Southern Life

  38. Hi there. Thanks for stopping by my blog. Wanted you to know that I posted links to the redware potters on my page. Thanks for asking.

    Thanks for what you've done here, too. Just wonderful!!

  39. Wow!
    What a beautiful entry!

    My first time to join in table scape Thursdays...

    So nice to meet you and all the lovely ladies that participate!

    I have a passion for dishes..always have.
    Looks like you do too!!

    Happy New Year:)
    Bless you!

    Kay Ellen

  40. Oooh, what a wonderful post! I thoroughly enjoyed seeing and reading all this! Thank you for sharing it with us! I really like the courtly check theme! The ornaments from your husband and friend are both fabulous! I could just go on and on....loved it all!

    Happy New Year!


  41. Lucky me, I found you on Jain's Food With Style! I love your style of decorating and the post gives me great ideas for NEXT Christmas...Come visit grannymountain!

  42. Hi many beautiful tablescapes! Love both your and your friends. What a neat tradition...bringing back the gorgeous French napkin rings...soooo smart and what a wonderful thing to collect! The ornament your husband gave you is positively esquisite! Happy New Year!

  43. Sarah, your M-C tablescape is beautiful! I love when a table looks elegant AND fun, and I think that table combines both of those feelings perfectly. Love the addition of the pink napkins. What a fabulous ornament you found in your stocking. Your friend's Christmas decor looks great too.

  44. Hi Sarah!! Just wanted to stop by and wish you a Happy New Year!! Your tablescape is awesome!!! I have those same Martini glasses!!! Cute idea!

    Your home looks wonderful and so inviting...hint..hint..

    I am working on Valentine's now...B/W checked hearts!! I'll put them on my red bird tree in the sun room!

    TTFN....have a wonderful week!!

    Warm Hugs,

  45. Well, Sarah, what can I say? I suppose I could pick you out in a crowd, my fellow friend! Like a moth to the light, I went straight to this post linked at Tara's Tea time for Creating Christmas with Silver & Gold. Love the MacKenzie Childs, as you know, and those ornaments are fantastic. I tried following to Linda's (Shabby Cottage, then LindaandCo.) to no avail.) Beautiful, your decor.

  46. Inspiration indeed! Truly lovely. I'm definitely using your ornament idea and actually tying the bows as soon as i'm away from the computer. Thank you so very much for sharing.


Thank you to each of you who take the time to leave a comment. I read and appreciate each and every one and will respond to any questions. Your notes are the only way I know who has stopped in for a visit.