We had a very lovely, cozy, kind of Christmas this year (as are so many). After church, I spent most of Christmas Eve afternoon in the kitchen just puttering around and preparing what I could ahead of time for the Christmas meal.
My son and I found a couple of our favorite movies on TV while my husband had a relaxing evening reading NFL websites and blogs (each to their own). He later stretched out on our living room sofa to read Evasions while my son and I were watching Star Trek: First Contact (one of our favorite movies, it has the best "did you get those" lines in any film) in the family room. It's not that we don't care for family togetherness but Evasions is due back to the library soon and my husband and I are reading it at the same time. There are two bookmarks in it!
On Christmas morning, I put the ham in the oven and the entire house began to smell like a celebration within half an hour. I love the aroma of ham being baked (it is one of the suggestions from Realtors when you are trying to sell a house). Most of our menu was either easy to finish at the last minute or had been completed the day before. I decided to make homemade dinner rolls this year so I started that dough while setting the table for the Christmas feast.
Earlier in the week, I had polished the silver on the antique cabinet as well as the silver that would be on the table (unfortunately, I do not own any silver flatware but I have a lot of thrift store, flea market finds for serving). It was fun to pull out my Noritake wedding china that I use every Christmas, as well as crystal glassware, along with cream colored bowls and platters. They don't match exactly but they blend together in such a way to make it all look pretty. The tablecloth was my burgundy red cloth without the lace cloth I normally would throw on top. I wanted a different "look" this Christmas.
This year I decided to go with the red and silver look (and was amazed when I watched the White House Christmas Show to find that was their colors this year...I have good taste!!). I used large paper doilies as chargers, setting my china plates on top of them (only a small amount of "lace" peeked out from the rim of the plates). On each plate I placed one of my smoked glass Noritake dessert dishes, each containing fruit salad. Although I do have matching smoked glass stemware (all of it purchased on clearance when the pattern was discontinued), I decided to use the gorgeous glasses with embossed stars on them that I found at Goodwill a couple years ago. They added sparkle, along with the silver and crystal serving pieces. Note to self: you know you have been married a long time when your wedding china pattern has been discontinued. Everything looked beautiful, which I believe is important on Christmas whether one is eating alone or has a houseful of people.
It never fails to amaze me how quickly meals are eaten in this country. Dinner conversation was about the differences between Russia and China regarding Communism and Christianity. I do not make up these things... After the long preparation time and short meal, I was ready for a long Winter's nap!
Christmas evening was similar to the previous one but places were changed (except for my son, who was parked on the family room sofa for two days to "rest up" from a busy work schedule). He and my husband began watching the Myth Busters marathon in late afternoon and were hooked for a few hours. It is one of their favorite shows and...sigh...at least it is rather educational. I was feeling the affects of too much celebration so I brewed a small teapot of peppermint tea (the tea being a gift from a friend earlier in the year and much appreciated) and set it, along with a favorite teacup and saucer, on my living room coffee table to take my turn reading Evasions and a few of my favorite old magazines.
Today I am packing up almost all of my Christmas decorations. They normally would stay up past New Year's Day but finishing (or at least continuing) my organization projects is my goal this week. To do that, I must have most Christmas items packed and put back on their shelves in the garage. I am going to keep the tree up through the weekend. I have most of my decorations already on the large, dining room table. The house looks somewhat stark and...naked! Christmas has been removed and the day to day decorations have not been put back into place. (Which shows the importance of accessories.)
So, I will be taking a break for a quick lunch and then return to my least favorite part of Christmas...packing the decorations. I found out a very long time ago that the ease of decorating next year is equal to the care I put into storing everything this year. Each is carefully stored in the correct containers, breakables wrapped in paper or cloth. Index cards with the contents are taped on top of each container so next year I will know what each box contains. It may take more time to store everything this way but it protects precious items and makes it all so much easier come the day after Thanksgiving next year!