Tuesday, December 23, 2014

The Clan at Christmas

Richard's immediate family is an ever growing clan, with new additions to the family each year. We gather the weekend before Christmas to have a holiday dinner together. It's the perfect get-together recipe with everyone going off in different directions on Christmas Eve and day.

We have been waiting for six years to have the event at our house again. The combination of a house sold, moving to temporary and far too small homes, plus two years of building a new home, brought us to this year. And so dinner for thirty-one at our house on Sunday it was.

T'was the night before the big dinner.

The hostess {me this time} is responsible for the mains, in this case turkey and ham. Thankfully son Justin is an excellent cook and took on the task of baking the ham while I cooked the bird and dressing. As a side note - do not tell a four year old it is a bird. No - it is a turkey. Thankfully she did eat it after my momentary slip up.
So we all gathered with dishes of prepared veggies, salads, meat trays, fruit, cakes, cookies and everything you could possibly imagine to create a grand feast.

Starting to set up one long table.

I decided a long time ago that renting the linen, dishes, cutlery and glassware is not cheating - it's smart. I like everything matching and looking clean lined, and the ease of putting it all in cases when we are finished is so civilized. I love to stay up late at night before an event and fuss with all the little details. It's a little treat I savour by myself.

Late at night or early morning, depending how you look at it - the kitchen was overflowing. It all went in to place and was a winter wonderland by morning.

Richard's step-Mother wanted me to host everyone at one big table rather than spread the tables out. It became a mission that I managed to pull off, and it was so nice having everyone at one long table together. The table extended through our dining room and into the family room. The food was set up buffet style at the end of the kitchen and into the family room.

white on white - linen and dishes

With a  buffet you still want the table to look dressed. The dinner plates are not in position on the table so the napkins and decor need to fill in the gaps. I decided to try my hand at Christmas tree folded napkins. After mastering the first couple the process zips along quickly.

Here is a good tutorial -

It's starting to come together.

Each place setting had a little candy gift.  This picture with the note was attached to a small bag of M & M candy.

As you hold these candies in your hand 
and turn them, you will see.
The M becomes a W, an E, and then a 3.
They tell the Christmas Story, it's one that I'm sure you know.
It took place in a stable a long, long time ago.
The E is for the East where the star shone so bright. 
The M is for the Manger where baby Jesus slept that night.
The 3 is for the Wisemen bearing gifts when they came.
W is for Worship. Hallelujah. Praise HIS name.
As you eat these candies or share them with your friends, 
remember the meaning of Christmas.
It's a love story that never ends. 

And so we gathered - everyone. Busy hands in the kitchen putting finishing touches on dishes and platters.

Niece Sarah put these wonderful meat and cheese trays together with my sister assisting.

Parties are not complete without cookies, cakes, tarts. This is a small showing of some of the goodies brought. And the over eating has begun.

Among some very generous hostess gifts we received was a well thought out present from Richard's step sister. This basket holds six pre-washed tea towels. A much needed item in the kitchen over the holidays. I might have to borrow her idea for an event we are going to this weekend.

The food was put out and grace was said, and then the madness began. I stopped at one point and envisioned that we might be like the Who's in the Grinch movie. Noisy, singing, drinking, laughing and happy ...... together.
It's so true when they sing :
Christmas day will always be! Just as long as we have we!

My sister managed to snap a few iphone pictures in between helping me {thanks for both Sis}.

And here he is, Richard making a toast to the first Christmas together in our new home. While we were building, it was a house. And now, as we gather with love and family, it has become the home we have always held in our hearts.

Richard toasting our family and new home.


  1. Katherine, that is amazing! What a gorgeous setting. Your family is lucky :)

  2. Dear Katharine, how wonderful to be able to host your first family Christmas dinner again....everything looks lovely! I have experienced the feeling....finally making a house a home again....you have done it beautifully....all the very best to you and Richard, N.xo