Since I didn’t blog throughout the holidays (or even… for much of the year)… I thought I would throw together a little holiday wrap-up just to share the highlights of my holiday season. I have SO enjoyed reacquainting myself with some favorite blogs, seeing what you all did/decorated/ate for Christmas and New Year’s! I hope to be a little more productive in 2014 as far as blogging here and as always I thank you for reading and commenting!
Thanksgiving was lovely as always – we went to my sister-in-law’s home not too far away and enjoyed my husband’s large family. It’s always so different from what I remember as a kid – our family was small, with 9 people at the most, and although we were a friendly, animated bunch there was just two distinct age groups: adults, and children. With Steve’s family, we have adults, young adults, teen-agers, and young children so it is a larger, noisier, and more diverse group. Make no mistake, I love spending time with his family! We had just a skiff of snow on the ground, and it was VERY cold!
Thanksgiving weekend, I put up our Christmas decorations and did the final prep work on my first-ever cookie exchange party on December 8th! I absolutely LOVED doing this and will share full details in a separate post, but I will say I’m definitely doing it again next year! For as much work as went into it, it was a lot of fun AND we got about six inches of snow that day – which thankfully did not deter my intrepid guests! Here’s a sneak-peek at our cookie table!
One of the neat things about this holiday season was that I had plenty of time off around each holiday. I have had a very busy and stressful year at work, and all this family-and-home-time was just what I was needing. I finished up working on Friday the 20th, then had five days off to enjoy my family and final preparations for Christmas. I actually enjoyed gift shopping this year, probably because I had started early and had very little left to do by the time I had all that time off.
On Christmas Eve we attended the late Mass at St. Ambrose Cathedral in downtown Des Moines – this is a beautiful Catholic church with massive arched ceilings and ornate decor… the sparkling trees and red poinsettias up at the front were elegant, and the joyful Christmas music echos so beautifully here it literally makes me weep. I snapped a couple of photos during the musical prelude, when the full crowd had not yet arrived and the service had not yet started.
Our Christmas Day was beautiful and quiet – we had fresh snow over the top of what we had received earlier in the month, so this was the view of our sideyard out in the driveway on Christmas morning:
We each enjoyed several gifts under the tree – my two favorites were the Kindle Fire HD e-reader I received from my husband and this beautiful Royal Albert Old Country Roses ornament that my daughter chose for me:
Speaking of Old Country Roses, I used my favorite-pattern-of-all-time again for Christmas dinner (just like last year) only this time I used the beautiful red placemats that my daughter gave me last year. The tablescape was simple, but I did have a little fun with the napkins by using a Christmas tree fold I saw over at Susan’s lovely-as-always blog, Between Naps on the Porch. I didn’t take enough pictures to do a full “tablescape” post, but here’s a sample place-setting. Each place included a sequined red placemat, Old Country Roses dinner plate, gold-rimmed white bread plate, my vintage Oneida “Chandelier” stainless flatware, and new-to-me-this-year glassware: Whitehall “Cubist” by Indiana Glass.
I worked the Thursday and Friday after Christmas, then had another five days off through New Year’s Day. In that time we enjoyed “little Christmases” with my step-daughter and her family (husband and 3 teen-age step-grandsons!) and later, with my brother and his family (wife and young son). New Year’s Eve was very quiet, again spent with just my little 3-person family, and on New Year’s Day we enjoyed Baked French Toast for brunch – a recipe I discovered on Pinterest. It was absolutely delicious! (I’ll share the recipe in a separate post!)
As I write this, I’ve got pot roast simmering on the stove for New Year’s Day dinner, then it’s back to work Thursday and Friday… then 2 more days off… then back to full work weeks.
I am SO glad to have had all the time off – I feel ready to face the new year, and hope you do too!