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