Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Recap of Celebrating Christmas 2009

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. I'm still tweaking our table for Friday evening, so I thought I'd share a recap of last year's Christmas celebrations here at HFTS.

A Courtly Check Christmas was the theme in our dining room last 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 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. So the MacKenzie-Childs Courtly Check chargers were a gift to myself last Christmas. I like the way the black and white checks look with 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 glittered glass ball 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 enamel of the Christophe Talisman silver and the 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 & 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. (Note to self: future post on Marché Jambons) 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 & Grondahl porcelain plates are from a Christmas Around the World series done between 1995 and 2000.

Each is hand-painted and the original art of Hans Henrik Hansen.

The dining room table was filled with an assortment of Christmas sweets . . .

around this clay bowl 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 last year. Isn't it perfect for our CC tree? "Thank you, Judy!" and my heartfelt thanks to each of you who stop by. Have a safe and happy holiday weekend. I wish each of you good times spent with family and friends!

Please, help yourself to a snow flake sugar cookie before you head off to visit Susan @ Between Naps on the Porch where you will find beautiful tables to inspire you for the new year.

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. Such a beautiful post!

    Love all your special ornaments and black and white!

    Best wishes for the happiest of holidays,

  2. Lovely table decoration Sarah. You really do go to a lot of effort. How lovely to be a guest and receive a Christmas bauble.
    Have a wonderful time.

  3. Dear Sarah,
    what a delightful post. I love your decorations and the table. I had never expected, how fresh, modern and elegant the combination of black, white and gold is. The Christmas ornament from your husband is really the nicest, I have ever seen. And beside the many very nice pictures I love the pink pomgrantes decoration on the table of your friends. Everything just lovely.
    Have a blessed Christmas time.
    Yours, Johanna

  4. Oh my goodness, Sarah, I love both tables. I fell in love immediately with the check. It's perfect, and now I'm coveting. Then, when the second table popped up, I was equally delighted.

    Everything looked perfect. I love the ornaments as table favors in the stemware. That was perfect.

    Truly, this is one of my favorite posts this week. Thanks so much for sharing the pictures.

    Hope you have a wonderful Christmas 2010!

  5. I love the tables.. all of them, each one different and so unique. All warm and welcoming. Your gift from your husband is extremely precious. Merry Christmas to you and yours and may the blessings of the new year unfold by the thousands!

  6. Everything looks so festive, Sarah! Wishing you a wonderful Christmas with your family filled with peace, love and joy!...hugs...Debbie

  7. G'morn, Sarah ~
    Just popping in to wish you a Merry Christmas filled with joys & blessings.

    Thank you for your friendship this year, I've enjoyed you & look forward to many more wonderful moments.

    Have a beautiful celebration ~
    TTFN ~ Hugs, Marydon

  8. Everything was so festive and pretty!
    Merry Christmas to you and your family!

  9. Wow! Everything is perfect! Merry Christmas.

  10. Sarah, everything is beautiful...
    Merry Christmas!

  11. Merry Christmas Sarah! What a lovely post about the best of the best of last Christmas. I just love the table for your Christmas Eve meal. The checks are wonderful and a fresh addition to Christmas traditional.
    Have a blessed and Bright Christmas!

  12. Incredible table settings and I am loving the Courtly Check. I am all about the the black and white check. Thanks for sharing! Kit

  13. Everything looks beautiful. I wish you a blessed Christmas. Hugs, Martha

  14. What a lovely treat your post has been this morning - all those lovely settings! I'd have to say that my favorite image has to be the pretty ornament - gift from your dear husband.
    It has been such a treat to visit your blog this year - inspiration, elegant images to consider, and thoughtful words to read. I wish you and your dear husband a peaceful, happy celebration - a Very Merry Christmas and Glaedelig Jul!

  15. What beautiful tablescapes. I hope you have a wonderful Christmas and New Year. XX00

  16. How lovely, Sarah! I loved seeing every frame of this, and lo and behold... I saw my name on an ornament! ;-)

    I hope you have a very Merry Christmas filled with all that delights your heart.

    Sending much love your way...

    Merry Christmas!


    Sheila :-)

  17. Sarah, I just sat down to the computer to check out your blog when ...surprise!...up pops a message from you on mine! We must have been thinking of each other at the exact same time.

    All is quiet here at the moment. DH is napping & we don't leave to go see the grands for a few hours yet. I like this peaceful interlude.

    Hoping your Christmas is just a soothing!

  18. Hi Sarah,
    Everything looks lovely. The courtly check is such a wonderful design, so reminds of the harlequin floors I love (my husband doesn't get it, don't know why!).

    Ah... tamales, my step-dad used to make them for us for Christmas. Thanks for sharing your always lovely photos with us. The macarons are beautiful and I'm sure they were delicious!

    Merry Christmas sweetheart!

  19. What a lovely post for a delightful Merry and Pink Saturday. I especially loved your delightful and unique Christmas Tree ornaments. Happy Pink Saturday and Merry Christmas. :)

  20. Lovely decorations and tablescapes! Even better with yummy food! :P Merry Christmas to you and your family!


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