Tuesday, December 30, 2014

The Christmas Table

It all started over the summer when I was sorting through our attic trying to wheedle down our possessions. This is something I try to do a few times a year and unfortunately, am only marginally successful with. However, during this particular "purging" episode, I found a bag of six mini, footed silver dishes that had come from my paternal grandmother. I remember thinking that they would make great place card holders for the holidays and tucked them back away inside the drawer they were stored in. Now, there are a lot of things I cannot remember lately with all the stress and strain of work and holiday chaos. Thus I end up doing things like going to the food store 3 times in the two days before Christmas because I keep forgetting stuff and the grocery store is closed for a whole 24 hours. God forbid we were lacking something we really wanted needed. Yet, somehow, I remembered these little silver dishes when it came time to start getting my Christmas dinner table together.
See, miracles really do happen.
I knew I wanted to fill them with a natural material and moss is a perennial favorite. After picking up a few little things that could work to create a place setting in a little silver dish stuffed with moss, I decided I hated them all and was back at the drawing board with not a clue as to what to do. Two days before Christmas I happened to run into an antique shop I used to frequent many years ago and found the most incredible thing.
Vintage typewriter keys!
They were black, white, round and utterly perfect. I could immediately see them centered on a beautiful strip of ribbon draped delicately over the moss. I dug through the pile for the letters I needed for the four of us and my father and stepmother. T ~ for Tom (my dad), E ~ for Eleanor, L ~ for my son Liam...I excitedly dug for the last three remaining letters: C, R and J. But there was nary a C, R, or J to be found.
I guess miracles apply to only certain things.
I'm not going to lie, I was totally bummed out. I wanted these typewriter keys, I needed these typewriter keys. This was the only way to bring my vision for the perfect holiday place cards to life. Yet life was saying, "Sucks to be you Eleanor." and probably in the same voice that the Soup Nazi on Seinfeld told Elaine,
"No soup for you!"
To console myself I headed to one of my favorite thrift stores. Retail therapy in it's finest form. As I meandered up and down the aisles, I come across a roll of vintage red velvet Christmas ribbon and my vision is restored! The moment is monumental. I stood in that aisle, tchotchkes all around me, fist in the air with Scarlett O'Hara like determination and shout, "As God is my witness. As God is my witness...I'm going to make this happen...typewriter keys or not!"
Sometimes the holidays make me a little emotional.
When I had recovered from this little moment I went directly to my local craft store to find something just as amazing as old typewriter keys. When that didn't seem to be happening, because really, what is as amazing as vintage typewriter keys? I settled on little black and white round letter stickers. They were slightly puffy, not unlike the stickers that adorned my Lisa Frank binders and filled my sticker books when I was a kid in the 80's. That little bit of dimension made them better than plain, old, flat stickers.
  At least that is what I told myself.
By this point I start second guessing the vintage, red velvet ribbon so I grab a roll of burlap for good measure. When I got home I started to assemble them, making one with each ribbon to see which one would be  the best choice.

I reached out to my fellow Instagrammers asking which one I should use and received a split response. About half the people who responded were in favor of the burlap while the other half voted for the red velvet.
Since I am the boss of my Christmas table, I chose red. The burlap would have been too blah with the other elements I was using. To be fair to all of those who voted burlap, I had never shown the plates I use for Christmas dinner or the table linens I was using (which is a Ralph Lauren throw blanket from Homegoods), so perhaps it was an unfair question after all. Red was the obvious answer. Look how good the red looks with everything else:

And what did I prepare to serve on that stunning Christmas table?
Did a glorious crown roast grace that stunning green and white transferware platter? Did I serve a turkey roasted to golden brown perfection?
My plan was to prepare something simple and hearty. Just some down home good eats.
So I served an:
Apple cider injected pork tenderloin with homemade spiced apple sauce
Butternut squash risotto
Steamed vegetables
Drop biscuits

I kept it delicious and low key. Then whipped this little stunner out of my back pocket at the end:

As my dad patted me on the back and said, "It's a beaut Clark Ellie, it's a beaut" I knew that despite all the trials and tribulations of this holiday season, I won Christmas after all.

The End.

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