Monday, December 27, 2010

All was calm...

all was bright! Christmas Eve is my thing, the whole day and night. It's all the magic and mood of Christmas- the wonderful food and good cheer, friends and family gathered around a table, the late-night service- that comes before the opening of gifts that for me makes the holiday. And this year was no different: great friends, a wild mushroom lasagna, green beans with caramelized shallots, and piping hot chocolate souffles.

This year also consisted of variations on familiar themes: poinsettias and pine cones and splashes of red. There is something about a lush red poinsettia that is undeniably "Christmas". I've pounced back and forth between white and red poinsettias, but the constant has been to use either a terra cotta pot and saucer or basket to conceal the plastic growers pot. This small, yet important, detail creates a more earthy, richer look than the flashy foil liners the plants come with. Also something that I try to do is to raise the plants so they don't get lost in the shuffle. My stacked Chinese boxes and a wooded 'chessman' stool from Bungalow 5 come in very handy for this purpose!

Another constant in the past several years has been carnations (I know, I know- I sound like a broken record!) and this year, what's come in really handy has been these terrific glass bud vases from Crate and Barrel:
The one I really love is the taller necked vase with the bulb base. These were perfect for small, festive arrangements of red carnations with a stem of Star of Bethlehem that mixed with my grandmother's Canton bowl filled with gilded and plain pine cones that created a nest for my faux red apple and berry sphere, or several Stars of Bethlehem stems and a cuff of galax leaves.

These can make a florist out of anyone! I have to say that I try to have at least a dozen of these handy at any one time for dining tables, side tables and for gift giving. A pair of small arrangements in these vases can make a very personal gift (the recycled Tiffany box is an extra touch!)

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