December has flown by in a flurry of parties, food, friends and family. Each year I remind myself to be present in the moment but I often catch myself looking ahead. I found this to be especially true when we hosted four meals back to back beginning Christmas Eve. One of my goals for 2015 is to strive to be present during the here and now (at least the big moments) and worry less about the future.
We had a lot of fun and merriment during the holiday season. Here is a quick look at a few of our Christmas moments.
Christmas in the City
Friday night after Thanksgiving our city throws a big party to kick off the holiday season. We started going to this party a number of years ago when the event was a small (100’s) group walk around the city with the mayor, to turn the lights on three trees. The celebration has grown quite large with 1000’s gathered in one area to turn the lights on one tree. The party is a festival of lights, Christmas music, fireworks, Santa Claus, roasted marshmallows and an outside holiday market.
We are all about Christmas flowers in our house, poinsettias, Christmas cactus, roses and all sorts of greenery. Nothing says Christmas more than the fragrance of greenery, a beautiful holiday flower and the smell of my favorite foods in the oven.
Sunset During Christmas Week
Those who know me well know I am a sky watcher. The sunrises and sunsets during this time of year are especially beautiful. I caught this one from my front porch just before Christmas. While it may look like we live in the wilderness, we don’t. We live at the top of a big hill in an old, historic neighborhood just a few minutes drive from downtown Knoxville.
Lee’s 25th Birthday
John’s youngest son celebrated his 25th birthday on Christmas Eve. We served his requested meal of ribeye steak, asparagus, fresh fruit and Sister Shubert rolls. John also baked and frosted Lee’s favorite cake, chocolate with homemade buttercream frosting.
Since ribeyes are no good on a gas grill, John set up a red-neck version of a charcoal grill on our side porch so the guys could stand outside, cook and talk. Both Daniel and Lee worked as chefs at a popular local eatery in their early college days so the steaks were cooked spot on.
Christmas Lunch at Shannondale with my Dad and Sisters
My family gathered for Christmas Day brunch at Shannondale to celebrate with my Dad. It was a fine meal and a fine day! The menu was pretty simple (and fatting) with ham, sausage balls, grits casserole, deviled eggs, fresh fruit, rolls and apple pie (nope, no vegetables). The ham, rolls and apple pie were purchased at Fresh Market, John made the sausage balls and Leslie (my younger sister) made the grits casserole and deviled eggs. For someone who had to work half day on Christmas Eve day, I found the prep for this meal easy and the food good!
Once again we celebrated in a lovely lounge at the retirement center which had an oven, refrigerator and sink. This is a perfect set up because it provides a nice, comfortable environment with plenty of space to move around. John joined us for this meal and Leslie’s husband showed up after his family celebration. As always, we had too much food but enjoyed trying to put a dent in it!
Christmas Evening with Daniel and Lee
Christmas evening revolved around dinner, opening packages, talking and coffee-leftover cake with Lee’s new (ish) girlfriend. It was a special night. It wasn’t so much about the the presents or the food but about spending time with Daniel and Lee, that they had no other plans but to spend time with us and watching the joy in their father’s eyes as he watched them.
That is it for our holiday. We are looking forward to a quiet New Year’s Eve spent together. As we wrap up our holiday season, I send you this greeting and hope your memories are as happy as mine!