Merry Christmas to all, in whatever corner of the world you find yourself. Today I replenished my supply of coffee table books, including Vicki Archer's French Essence, Kathryn Ireland's Creating a Home (big thanks to Kelly at Giannetti Home for a signed, beautifully-wrapped presentation), and David Easton's Timeless Elegance; there are several others which have not arrived yet, Pamela & Deb's recommendations~
It's nice to have dinner on Christmas eve because that means Christmas Day is more leisurely. I spent this morning with my Mom, looking through the new books after a breakfast of French toast +++. Mom liked David Easton's book best, especially the center tables, and she also noted his sweet Norfolk Terrier Lizzie having breakfast at Balthazar. Vicki's book has wonderful text & photos, and it struck me that while many of us would love to replicate a Provencal or Snowy Christmas, we are where we are, and that is generally not in the snowy mountains or in Provence.
While many of us pine to be in another possibly exotic location for Christmas, it's great to love where you are; while I would kill to spend Christmas in Beaune, it would be impossible for all of my family to be there, and I can't dream of Christmas without a huge gang of family. It feels right to use the materials, flowers and decorations that are available to us, wherever we are. We "make do" so to speak with a California Christmas, which this year included the vodka-infusion bar, which was wildly popular, especially the sleeper, the vanilla-pear infusion, amazing after two weeks~
Don't think of those decanters just for any wine; the buffet was very inviting and inspired some creative drinks; servez vous-meme~
I took my nieces out on the final shopping rounds, to Santa Monica Seafood for oysters, and to the Chinese market for steamed lobsters and Dungeness crabs. We had a great time with a little dim sum lunch and it was fun afternoon together. The girls helped me all afternoon with prep work, this pic before the food was set out~
The girls like to learn how to cook and what to do; setting the food out, lighting the candles, a little last minute polishing of some silver;
For Christmas and New Year we have shellfish, prime rib, and home-made gravlaax. We had a large fruits de mer plateau with the lobster heads and crabs, shrimp & lobster meat on an XL platter from Hotel Splendid off the Etoile; I had barely set the platter out before someone had an accident at the other end of the table and the white tablecloth had to be removed.
I never got the pics I wanted of the large tray as I had to clean up the spilled pomegranate juice, but the entire fruits de mer tray was delish!
Everyone grazed around the table, finger food and small plates, except my Dad, who sat down with his best friend~
make that two two of his best friends; Honey will beg all day for graavlax.
I know some families don't all get along; we are lucky that there are no "issues" and there is lots of laughter and conversation and happiness in the house when we get together~
I used baby's breath in a few French jam jars, and the champagne had just a splash of pomegranate juice. I had to go to the grocery store for 6 more bottles of bubbly before 7pm; the manager said "tell that family to slow down!" They didn't heed that advice very well; it was all gone!
We moved on to dessert later; rum cakes, many cookies & biscotti and buche de Noel, chocolates and toffees; I did not take pics before they were eaten.
R and I stayed up til late late, in the calm and the glow of the tree, the dogs rested their heads on our laps after all the activity of the day.
David & Hector basically gave me the flowers at the Saturday market; they were pretty yet simple for Christmas;
This morning we looked at the pics of last night and made our notes for next time, after breakfast in front of the tree, and looked at the new books all morning.
This afternoon I am making cookies for my nephews and loving a day off. Wising you all a lovely Christmas~