Hello! How are you doing? You probably are as busy as I have been trying to prepare for this most wonderful time of year. As the month of December rolls around everything begins to feel so magical ... Yes, there is lots and lots to do, but the sights and sounds of Christmas are everywhere making us feel just as 'merry and bright' as the song White Christmas tells us.
Each year we look forward to our annual neighborhood Christmas party with friends we have all known for over thirty-years. We take turns having our get-together at different neighbors homes. This year we were delighted to visit with Barbie and Doug, our neighbors across our pond and through the woods. What a delightful treat it is to visit their lovely home as seen in the photo below.
We were invited for cocktails and dinner. It was a beautiful sight to see our neighbor's lovely home all decorated for Christmas. I love the wreaths at the door and all of the windows plus the little Christmas trees on each side of the door.
The front yard and driveway of this lovely country home is completely surrounded by beautiful old
Southern live oak trees, as you can see in the below photo.
Isn't that a beautifully decorated front porch as seen in the below photos.
And of course the rocking chairs invite guests to "come sit a spell."
I was fortunate to have been invited to an "Easter Chocolate Show" in this lovely home.
If you would like to visit that blogpost just click on the link below.
If you are like me you just can't wait to go inside ... Come on, let's go!
As we walk in the front door we see the lovely entrance foyer
and are greeted by this beautiful Christmas Poinsettia.
Next to this beautiful traditional Christmas flower we see an adorable little angel.
She looks like she is something very special and she is ... She is Barbie's hand-painted Christmas Angel and is dressed in her mother's baby dress and a special baby bib from the timeless Feltman Brothers collections.
Just across the hall from the entrance table we see this lovely Christmas decorated staircase.
I love the pinecones and holly berries.
And as we go to the family room entrance we see
"the reason for the season"
with this beautiful Nativity Scene.
In the below photo we see a charming and spacious family room. You can tell that the man of the house enjoys hunting. This is my favorite kind of look....natural wood walls with lots of knots in the wood and an inviting fireplace all ready for a cold Christmas evening.
I love how the fireplace is decorated, complete with a natural outdoor-look wreath
with pretty red holly berries and a beautiful red bow.
What a beautiful face.
We see the traditional Christmas tree at the opposite end of the family room. Barbie shared that her good friend and talented and popular Tallahassee wedding florist Missy Gunnels created the lovely bows for the family Christmas tree ... so pretty!
I also know her friend Missy Gunnels. We met when she consented to create the lovely flowers for our middle daughter's wedding ... She truly does beautiful work. If you would like to see some of her floral creations you can visit:
This cute Santa doll and Snoopy were decorating the family room.
They are both such a charming part of Christmas.
I love Barbie's beautiful kitchen as seen in the below photo.
All of us neighbor ladies worked together in the kitchen to prepare for our buffet-style dinner.
This is a very workable kitchen with room for everyone.
Do you see that little blue light in the kitchen window in the below photo?
This is a close-up photo of that stunning candle holder. Isn't that SO beautiful. Barbie shared that this beautiful blue candleholder with the gold-painted Nativity Scene was given to her by her aunt who was a Missionary in China ... I wonder if it came all the way from her travels to China ...
If you have ever visited this blog you know how I love to take pictures. So, of course, I just had to snap a photo of these beautiful apples sitting on the kitchen island. I think everyone who came to the kitchen area asked if these apples were real. And, yes they are real. How perfect and pretty!
And these adorable Santa painted glasses caught my eye. They are available at Target this year.
And, sitting on the kitchen counter were these beautiful
deviled eggs which would soon be a part of our buffet-style dinner.
These are always my husband's very favorite item on the table.
Some of us would be sitting in the lovely dining room seen below,
Others would be sitting at a table in the living room.
There were six couples all together.
On the dining room table we see the beautiful Spode "Christmas Tree" china pattern.
This lovely Spode Christmas design was created in the 1930s and remains a very popular pattern.
The beautiful Poinsettia plant is a lovely dining-room-table centerpiece.
Mr. Google tells us that originally Poinsettia plants were native to Mexico. Our first Ambassador to Mexico, a Mr. Poinsett, in the year 1825, spotted these beautiful plants and immediately had some sent back to his plantation home in South Carolina. He gave one to a friend in Philadelphia, who then placed one in a flower show, and the rest is history.
Some say the shape of the poinsettia flower and leaves are sometimes thought of as a symbol of the Star of Bethlehem which led the Wise Men to Jesus.
Our hostess Barbie suggested that we have a traditional Southern dinner for our Christmas get-together.
Included toward the end of this post we will see some of the recipes for this Menu.
Mashed Cheese Potatoes
Sour Cream Yellow Squash
Southern-Style Collard Greens
Corn Bread Muffins with Organic Butter
APPETIZER AND DESSERT
Cheese Tray and Crackers
Sponge cake with Fruit and Light White Icing
Butterscotch Gingerbread Trifle
Wine / Water
In the adjoining living room we see the second dining table located just outside the door
of the main dining room making it easy for everyone to visit during dinner.
If you clicked on the previously noted "Easter Chocolate" post on Sweet Southern Days, you know Barbie makes the most delicious chocolates. She placed a chocolate decoration at each table place-setting....Isn't that so cute! And later on after dinner and dessert I enjoyed every bit of her lovely chocolate Santa creation.
In the below photo we see the appetizers and dessert table.
In the below photo we see one of the desserts ... This is the Butterscotch Gingerbread Trifle. Looks yummy and it was ...
Cheesy Mashed Potatoes
3 pounds potatoes - boiled and mashed
1 - stick of butter
Large scoop sour cream
Large scoop mayonnaise (that's the Southern secret)
3 hands full grated Cheddar cheese
Lots of Cheddar cheese on top
- Mix all above ingredients together. Place in baking dish. Sprinkle with Cheddar cheese on top and bake in 325-350 oven until heated through, (about 30 minutes.)
Sour Cream Yellow Squash2 pounds yellow squash, sliced
1/2 cup sour cream
1/4 cup butter, melted
1/4 cup sliced green onions, including tops
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/8 teaspoon white pepper
1 cup fresh bread crumbs
1/4 cup Parmesan cheese
3 tablespoons butter, melted
- Cook squash in small amount of water, until just tender, about 5 to 10 minutes; drain.
- Mash slightly; drain again.
- Combine with sour cream, 1/4 cup butter, onions, salt and pepper to taste.
- Place in a buttered 1-quart baking dish.
- Mix together bread crumbs and cheese.
- Toss with 3 tablespoons melted butter and sprinkle over squash.
- Bake in a preheated 350 degree oven for 25 minutes until bubbly.
3 - 15 oz. packages of cut broccoli
1 cup shredded Cheddar cheese
1 can cream of mushroom soup
1 - 8 oz. jar mayonnaise
2 eggs, well beaten
butter (to dot on top)
- Boil the broccoli according to the package instructions, drain
- Mix all ingredients together and put in a casserole dish.
- Sprinkle breadcrumbs on the top and dot with butter.
- Bake at 350 degrees for about 45 minutes or until bubbling in the middle.
Southern-Style Collard Greens
12 hickory-smoked bacon slices, finely chopped
2 medium-sized sweet onions, finely chopped
3/4 pound smoked ham, chopped
6 garlic cloves, finely chopped
3 (32-oz.) containers chicken broth
3 (1-lb) packages fresh collard greens, washed and trimmed
1/3 cup apple cider vinegar
1 tablespoon sugar
1 teaspon salt
3/4 teaspoon pepper
- Cook bacon in a 10-qt. stockpot over medium heat 10-12 minutes or until crisp.
- Add onion to bacon and saute 8 minutes.
- Add ham and garlic and saute 1 minute.
- Stir in broth and remaining ingredients.
- Cook 2 hours or until desired degree of tenderness
8 tablespoons butter, melted and cooled
2 and 1/2 cups Self-rising Buttermilk White Cornmeal Mix
2 cups whole buttermilk (I use fat-free when available
3 tablespoons sugar
- Preheat oven to 425 degrees.
- In a medium bowl, combine cornmeal mix, buttermilk, sugar and cooled melted butter, stirring to combine well.
- Spoon batter into greased muffin cups, filling each about 2/3 full.
- Bake for 18-20 minutes or until golden brown.
- Cool in pans for about 2 minutes before removing.
- Makes 12 muffins.
Butterscotch Gingerbread Trifle
1 package (14-1/2 ounce) gingerbread cake/cookie mix
3 packages cook and serve butterscotch pudding mix
2 cartons whipping cream (enough whipping cream to spread 3 separate layers in trifle bowl.)
(For whipping cream you will need about 4 teaspoons vanilla and sugar to taste.)
- Cook gingerbread cake mix according to package directions.
- Cook butterscotch pudding mix according to package directions
- Whip whipping cream adding the vanilla and sugar to taste.
- When cake is cooled crumble cake, reserving 1/4 cup crumbs for sprinkling on top of finished trifle.
- In trifle bowl spread layer of one-fourth cake crumbs.
- Then spread one-fourth the cooked and cooled butterscotch pudding on cake crumbs.
- Spread a layer of the whipped cream
- Alternate layers of each ingredient until final whipped cream topping - then add the 1/4 cup of the crumbled cake as a final topping.
- Refrigerate until serving.
We hope you enjoyed visiting with us during our fun Christmas party. If you choose to make any of the recipes included here we hope you enjoy them as much as we did.
We surely do hope you are having fun and festive Christmas season days,
and I am wishing you many of the Lord's blessings during this happy and holy season.