Christmas Eve is one of my favorites nights of the entire year. In my family, it has always been a beautiful, sparkly, fun filled evening in our home. Filled with loved ones, family food traditions and a gorgeous table. When I was a little girl, my parents would welcome around 45 of our family and friends in to our home for the holiday. It was one of my first taste of event production, actually because they would clear out the furniture in our family room, rent 60' rounds, chairs, china, linens and the whole nine yards and create Christmas right in our family room with the tree twinkling in the background. In addition, my mother always set her dining room able as well and this was where the more senior members of the family would enjoy dinner. It was a running joke that many of us did not sit there until well in to our 30's, making it officially to "the grown up table."
Nowadays, all of my grandparents are no longer with us. Many cousins are married with families of their own and need to spend a holiday with in laws. Most of my father's family live out of state and we don't really keep in touch anymore. My mother's family is so large that we could not all gather in one place. So over the last five years or so, we started to evolve our tradition away from 40 people, down to 25, to 10 and it has since lived around 6 to 8 people and I absolutely love it. My husband and I now do all the cooking with a good direction from my mom (it is her kitchen, after all! Actually both of them are, because no full blooded Italian-American forgets about the entire second kitchen in the basement!). And, with this evolution came a really fun new tradition, my mother and I set the one, beautiful dining room table together and we have an absolutely wonderful time doing so.
Each year, I reach to a friend to provide some floral. Alexandra Jusino at Exquisite Designs has been doing our Christmas Eve table for years now, and it is always the perfect finishing touch to what we create. While I love a beautiful table, and I love styling tables, I am not (like not ever) a floral designer, so I rely on experts here. What my mom and I do though, is to gather up items that have significant emotional value or bring us back to a certain memory.
From the beautiful blown glass cordial set my grandfather received over 60 years ago to the linen on the table that my grandmother had made in Florence. We will the table with everything that is us; my mother's collection of salt and pepper shakers, the gold leaf rimmed china she received as a wedding gift. The crystal my grandmother gave my parents as a shower gift. Chargers that Collin brought my mom. Little odds and ends from our travels in Italy. The occasional Fitz & Floyd holiday platter and VIOLA! Our beautiful, homemade table is ready for the final touches. On this particular holiday table, I had the absolutely pleasure of having Erin McDonald going us for dinner, and help me create a cascading garland that embraced all of the little knicks and knacks that we wanted to include. It was the most fun we have had in a long time creating a table.
My husband Collin snapped these photos in between creating a "feast of the seven fishes" in line with an Italian tradition that we had actually never followed before and he knocked it out of the park. And I think that is the big take away here folks - create with love. Cook with love, celebrate the process and then feast on the end result, and do so together. be grateful, and give thanks. Celebrate in style - but one that works for you.
I hope that you have an incredible holiday and I hope that you had a great time stopping by my holiday table today! ❤️