An Addendum To That Celebration

This Christmas tree decorated with vintage ornaments, garland, and tinsel is stunning.  Their living room, a discussion between the austere and the abundant.  Treasured topiaries made an appearance for Christmas, set in the windows.

Their packages are wrapped as beautifully as their table is set.

They are simple, elegant, and lavish, all at the same time.

Their choice of holiday flowers –  green and white cabbage florets, and white hydrangeas.

I would have had no idea what I was looking at here, but for M’s explanation. Buche de Noel is a classic French dessert served at the holidays. This seemed a natural choice, given the French heritage of one side of this family. The cake is “prepared, presented and garnished to look like a log ready for the fire used in an ancient fire festival of the winter soltice”-this from Wikipedia,  Additionally, this from The Oxford Companion to Food:

“[In France] where the buche de Noel, a roll of light sponge cake, is covered in chocolate or coffee buttercream textured to resemble bark. The conceit is carried further by mounding the cream over small pieces of cake stuck to the main roll, to represent trimmed branches. The ends of the roll and the cut faces of the branches are finished with vanilla cream, imitating pale newly cut wood, and the whole is decorated with leaves made from icing, or meringue mushrooms.”
Oxford Companion to Food, Alan Davidson, [Oxford University Press:Oxford] 1999 (p. 184)

I learned from my friends that the creation of this dessert occurred over a period of three days.  Is it not spectacular?   

I am sure every one of their Christmas Eve guests enjoyed themselves.   

To my friends: thanks again for inviting me to your holiday.

A Christmas Eve Celebration

You may recall a post I wrote just before Christmas entitled “Gifts That Gardeners Give”.  I pictured a wreath I had made as a gift for two very good friends.  They live on and love a big wild piece of property in what I call “the country”.  They were very enthusiastic about the gift-enough so to suggest they would make it an integral part of their traditional Christmas Eve dinner celebration.  Of course I asked for pictures.  I got more than that.  I got the story of the evening in pictures.   

The mercury glass candlesticks I had seen before.  Their 19th century stone house features generously deep window sills that are perfect for collections.  The simple wood bird sculptures I had not seen.  How elegant they are, each holding a sprig of holiday greens in their beaks.    

The candlesticks and birds dressed for the occasion ran the length of the holiday table.  I like that height that captures one’s attention and sets the mood upon entering the room.

They would do little to obstruct the seated views across the table.  I was delighted to see that the wreath was most definitely part of their holiday celebration. 

The table setting was exquisite. The silver and linens, quite formal.  The arrangement of all of the elements, rhythmic in a purely personal way.

Arranged around the bases of the birds and candlesticks, an assortment of fruits, ornaments, and bits from the garden. The nest in the wreath was handmade by some unknown bird with various grasses, twigs, and other natural detritus. I added a lining of milkweed seeds still attached to their fluff.  The surface of the table was similarly decorated with an assortment of like-spirited objects of their own choosing. 

I think their table was breathtaking.  The rickrack over the mercury glass calls to mind the string that could easily be part of a bird’s nest.  Fruits, nuts, and ornaments in various colors and shapes are the unexpected underplanting to the silver, white and glass dinner service.

The photographs are as beautifully composed as the table. 






Many thanks to my friends for permitting me to share the photographs of their Christmas Eve dinner table.  It is gorgeous, is it not?