Friday, December 31, 2010


From sunset shining through a misty window's filigree of frost

To the bright prance of a pair of dancin’shoes on the littlest feet,
To a pan of Caro’s Bumpy Road fit for even the tiniest candy-lovers,

To the big batch of Mother’s Banana Bread that Caro made,

To the Winter whimsy of a gift-wrapped air conditioner with its own crown of Snow-folk,

To the old familiar Snow family which has stood smiling somewhere in the house for years, with the wreaths and the swags and the creche and the old, well-loved ornaments,

To a happy little companion in another chair---the house has said CHRISTMAS all over, thanks to Caro's artistic hand and a huge, lifetime collection of STUFF.

A place for sitting with First Cup of coffee or that last warming sip of cocoa just before the twinkly lights are turned out for the night,

The welcoming sight of presents beneath the tree (this picture was made after everyone brought in packages on Christmas Eve, and quite a few of them went out the door with Chris when he left Sunday on his trip to the coast to see his Mom, and then a rambly route around to see three of the children and their families on the way home).

We began the Season’s home celebrations with Caro’s Cookie-Swap party on the fifth, with twelve-to-tea late on a frosty afternoon:

The next week, we spent a glorious Sunday-through-a-snowstorm going to hear Messiah together, then dinner out. We were all a bit under the weather, so to speak, that next week, so it took a little time to get everybody well and up and going again.

The next weekend we enjoyed the matinee of Harry Potter and a late lunch, and did some baking and candy-making and a little bit of last-minute shopping.

Because of everyone’s schedules of work and other commitments, we set our Christmas Dinner for Christmas Eve, and so as not to miss out on our usual Beans-and-Cornbread Supper, which we’ve traditionally had on that night, we had a quiet family dinner of the good old homey soup on Thursday.

Christmas Eve, we gathered here about three, just having some family time, and went upstairs to open presents, just the six of us. Our Girlie put on her tutu and pink shoes the minute she opened the package, and settled a tiara somewhere along above her eyebrows.

I ran down to pop the potatoes in to bake, and Chris checked on the tenderloin on the grill, just before she opened her favorite present---a BIG floor drum, and after that, we were in Tutu- TomTom-Tiara mode for the rest of the night.

We all trooped downstairs to dinner, set with the Christmas dishes Son #1 gave us years ago, and the almost-Mammaw goblets with poinsettias on the glass. The round pads are just those flannelly things made for packing good china, and they’re used on the glass whenever we have a hot plate to set down, so the cool tabletop won’t take away the heat from the food too quickly.

Sweetpea’s place. She always gets a red mat, for her own plate is so small and besides, she insists that we all wear the things for hats for at least a few moments. So we spend a bit of every holiday dinner in lopsided berets, if we’re not all sporting some of the zany old hats in Chris’ collection.

A nice snappy salad with Romaine, thin sweet onion, mandarins, pignoli, and a tart vinaigrette.

My plate---Chris and I usually share a potato, and my slice of the beef comes from the medium-rosy section.

A big pan of “yeast-riz” rolls to accompany, hot and buttery:

We went back upstairs to open our stockings and have dessert from the Living Room dresser. This picture is after all the pillaging and snacking---the droopy sacks hold a confection the group has nicknamed "crack," for it's greatly addictive. It's Rice Chex, tiny pretzels, peanuts and M&M's, drizzled and tossed in melted Almond Bark and cooled to such a delicious, clumpy finish of salty and sweet that you just have to have another handful.

And on Christmas Morning, we of the house opened our presents to each other, with a lovely brunch of Banana Bread and Cream Cheese, Caro’s Cheesecake Coffeecake with Three-berry sauce, Sausage Balls and Bacon, with the two pies set out for whoever wanted a nibble---Derby Pie, and a marvelous coconut one, made by Mother’s Karo Pecan Pie recipe, with all that caramelly coconut on top.

After all the festivities of the week, we had a very quiet Christmas afternoon, just reflecting on the season and talking to all the chillun by phone. About dark-time, we headed for the fridge for thin-thin slices of the cold leftover tenderloin laid between those yeasty rolls for our very late dinner.

There are still trees a-sparkle, and bows and swags hanging; lots of the presents are arranged in tidy heaps of what-belongs-to-whom all over the living room, and nips and bits of Christmas sweets are whittling down the supply of goodies. The sentiments and the meanings of this most Blessed of Seasons are still vivid in our hearts, like the flames of remembered candlelight, and even with all the sparkle and glitter of a New Year about to burst forth this night, the memories of the blessings will remain.
And I wish that for you---all the glitter and sparkle, the soft glow of candlelight and the warm sun of bright days---along with the memories, glowing with a true, lasting flame throughout the New Year to come.


mississippi artist said...

It sounds like you had the perfect Christmas. The food looksa absolutely delicious. Happy New Year to you and yours.

Patsy said...

Happy New Year!
I have enjoyed your blog and looking forward to visits in 2011 and thanks for your comments on your visits with me.

Kouign Aman said...

Merry happy to you!
We too are nibbling away at the bits and pieces, both edible and gifty. Nothing gets put away til the thank you card is written. Tomorrow, all the Christmas decorations come down and out goes the tree- which has been up since 3-dec and is still holding firmly to its needles!
Another beautifully written holiday, ms rachel!

Bev said...

Pecan pie for breakfast..that's the best thing I've ever heard of!! Thanks so much for sharing your Holidays and your wonderful family with us. All the best to you and yours for 2011..with love and respect.

Kim Shook said...

What a fantabulous celebration you had. Tiaras and DRUMS! Gorgeous food. Sweet company. Merry, merry Christmas, my friend - if it's not too late to wish it!

Alice said...

What a wonderful family Christmas you had. It's a delight to read and see how folk in other countries (especially other seasons) celebrate. Your food descriptions had me drooling (perhaps I should go and get some breakfast). There's certainly something 'cosy' about a white or winter Christmas which we don't appreciate in our summer.

I hope you have a wonderful 2011, Rachel.

Klary Koopmans said...

happy new year rachel! I´ll be clearing away the christmas lights and ornaments tomorrow. The new year has begun....

Cape Coop said...

As always, we enjoy the gracious hospitality that you bestow upon all who visit- whether it be your sweet home or this lovely weblog.Much affection and best wishes for a year full of joy and hearts' ease!

Southern Lady said...

If there was a place for a picture in the dictionary next to "Christmas," it should be the picture captured by your words as you shared your Christmas with us, Rachel. I hope your New Year is filled with many more gatherings as beautiful ...