Friday, December 24, 2010

Christmas Eve Dinner 2010

I love Christmas. I do. However, I get a little blue around this time of year, but that's because my whole family (minus husband, kids and dogs) is far, far away. I think the last time we spent it together was back when I moved to the United States. The year was 2000. Yep, quite some time ago.
But even though I think Christmas is being "rushed" on us earlier and earlier each year (plastic trees and glittery ornaments decorate store display windows even before Halloween!), I love when I start hearing Christmas songs and merry wishes everywhere. It always puts me in the holiday mode :-)
For the past few years I have been spending Christmas Eve at different friends' houses, but always wanting to host it myself. So it finally happened. We'd recently moved to a new city, didn't know a lot of people, but had already made some good friends. We thought it would be nice to thank them for their warm welcome by inviting them to dinner at our new place. This way we would feel a little more at home as well, and with our kid growing up (and another one on the way) maybe start our own holiday tradition - based on the memories from our childhood, but making new ones as well.
Since we didn't have much time to plan and didn't want to spend much on decorations (we had just donated lots and lots of boxes of stuff that didn't fit into our new pad), I started looking for things I already had in the house. I ended up with a few different glass vases and candle holders in shades of green and red and arranged them on our buffet table.

The same "decoration rule" went for the dinner table. Which is pretty much one of my favorite "green mantras": reduce-reuse-recycle (or even, "upcycle")
The place card holders were purchased from Pier 1 many years ago at an "after Christmas" sale and I had been waiting to use them ever since. I've never had marked seats at the table before, I like to leave the guests confortable enough to choose where to sit (and change their minds mid-dinner if they choose to do so). But... I admit it, I just wanted an excuse to use these adorable ornament look-alikes.
Jingle bells napkin rings also from Pier 1 big sale…
I downloaded a few free "Christmas" fonts and being unable to decide which one to use, I went with a different one for each of my guests' names.
Inexpensive plastic ornaments and some garland purchased at Target (at their dollar bins) nested inside clear vases looked pretty good too!
The table runner is from West Elm, and the wine glasses from Crate & Barrel
I like to play around with different uses for jars, glasses... this time, the martini glass was reborn as a nut dish for the table.
I set a "welcome" station with PAMA pomegranate liqueur, Prosecco and pomegranate seeds for guests to enjoy before dinner. I had pomegranate Izze (sparkling fruit juice) drinks for a non-alcoholic option.
Notice the cute jingle bells on top of the food picks. Awwww...
I used a curved tasting spoon to scoop mixed nuts from a glass footed bowl.
Clockwise from left: Coconut brown rice with Brazil and cashew nuts, apricots and raisins; Herb-butter roasted turkey; Brown-butter, lemon-scented green beans with almonds; Rosemary-olive oil roasted fingerling mixed potatoes.
The kids couldn't be more ready for their gifts...
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