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Planning For Christmas

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Welcome to a Southern Christmas
Plan ahead for the special things you want to share as part of the celebration

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Christmas Holidays 2016

It is back to school time. We are only a few days shy of September. I guess you know what is right around the corner. That’s right, Christmas Holidays! There is not a better time to begin to make holiday plans than right now. It is my favorite season of the year. Each year gets better than the last one. At least by planning ahead we are able to be more relaxed and have time to enjoy our holiday festivities.

I try to make handmade gifts for my grown children so advance planning is essential. As they get older they seem to appreciate it more. Of course we still buy toys or learning gifts for the grandchildren. This also warrants advance planning.

Our celebrations are very different from the families we grew up in, and yet still different from the times we were raising our own family. We focus more on the reason for the season now. It’s not all about presents. We take the time and effort to discover what is on each person;s wish list. Of course, we can’t always follow all the requests.

Starting in earnest the Friday after Thanksgiving, I pick twelve favorite recipes to prepare. Thus, we have a royal spread for visitors and family for the season. Our huge dining room table is put into cheerful service. Sometimes the kids will request a particular recipe. This blog features a post called Christmas Death by Caramel Bars that are an all-time favorite.

Around the tenth of December, we start decorating our home. We use a variety of things. There are lots of garland, wreaths, lights, pine cones, ribbons, candles, candy and a mananger scene. We always put up two Christmas trees filled with shiny ornaments and ribbon bows.

A few years ago, we were living in a historic home in Decatur, Alabama. We decorated everything that didn’t move, all nine rooms were embellished with Christmas cheer. We scheduled an open house for the Christmas Home tour. We had over five thousand visitors that night. It was awesome. However, we did have to leave our home during the tour for a restroom break at Kmart. We had volunteers stationed in each room.

The following day, our Sunday School class came over to eat. The table was set with Christmas China and all decorations and poinsettias were in place. We took a lot of pictures for the album. The next Monday, we left for Houston to be with our family. I was concerned about whether the live poinsettias would survive our absence. I called the Hospice organization and donated them for their patients to receive. One volunteer dressed as Santa Claus to visit patients and distribute the plants. The staff photographer took pictures that were printed in the local newspaper. They asked whether we would ever do it again? Of course we would. Part of the pleasure in owning beautiful things lies in sharing them.

It truly was a magical night. One decoration that I made was a gold spray painted medium pine cone. When it was dry I cut out some of the center petals. They made beautiful candleholders along the staircase railing, tucked into the festooned of garland and ribbon. We also had a large wicker basket ( where we kept newspapers) that I painted a group of pine cones silver to put inside with a huge ribbon bow on top.
We still have most of those decorations that we used. That’s why we start decorating early.

It takes all week to get everything set-up. There are planters with small lighted Christmas trees on the front porch beside the front door. The dining room is laid out with Christmas china and glassware. We try to attend Christmas Eve services to set the mood. Everyone dresses up. It is a special occasion for our family. Even though I never could sing a note, I still enjoy the service. We enjoy snacks and finger foods when we get home.

For Christmas dinner we breakout the Christmas China and glassware again. A friend once remarked how extravagant it was. She said she saved her best things so they wouldn’t be used. After thinking about what she said, my question was whether her family was important? My family are the most important guests that we entertain. As a result, we use all the “good stuff”. Opening presents is more minor. Since I spend so much time planning our holidays, I made a Christmas Planner to download for all you planner girls. It is not too early to begin making plans so that everything will go smoothly.

Download your free Christmas Planner to begin preparing for your own family festivities. We wish you all a Merry Christmas!

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