Monday, December 13, 2010

The Smaller Christmas

I am having the smaller Christmas this year as every other year my brother and his family go to my sister-in-law's relatives.  I say smaller because there are less people, but we all know that the preparation is the same, the same baking, decorating, table setting and decor, less food but the same recipes.  Since I have a small family, I will miss that other part of my childhood.  He is my only sibling and my sister-in-law is a good friend,  we have so much in common.  I get over it each year and look forward to the next when we are all together.

The table is set each year with the china I have had since I was first married.  It is Franciscan Rondelay, extinct (only to be found at, overlayed with a depression glass salad plate called Dogwood.  I have Waterford crystal from Ireland (actually ordered from Ireland many years ago) but this year I will use my aunt's depression glass water and wine goblets.  I have brought them to the depression glass shows and no one can name them, close to many others but not the same.  They were one of her wedding gifts in the late 1920's.

Rondelay Franciscan Fine China (small pink flowers with gray leaves) no longer available

Overlayed with MacBeth Evans Depression glassware in the pink Dogwood pattern

An interesting story about her glasses, she had painted her pantry shelves and put the glasses back top down only to realize they had all stuck and pulled off some of the glass rims.  I had them all restored by the crystal grinder (expensive) and have used them with many memories ever since.

Depression glassware, made during the depression years, some sold in dime stores and some made in specialty glass factories.  These were of a finer manufacturing process with flutes, jewels and intentional ripples in the pink tinted portion. 

The Christmas Amaryllis are in their full glory, probably won't be for Christmas.

The tablecloth is vintage overlayed on an older Irish linen tablecloth called Adams.  Both were purchased at antique shops with the Irish linen still being in the box yellowed with age and the Christmas one having several age marks.  I had bought some concoction a few years ago for soaking vintage linens and it worked, both coming out as good as new.  I wish I knew what to tell you it was but I have not been able to find it since.

I bought some LED candles a couple of years ago that are wax coated and I have used them for just about everything including power outages.

They do flicker like real candles when lit (I know it doesn't show in the photo) are safe and will last a very long time on batteries.

I intersperse them with real candles that I do light, but it is nice to leave the LED candles lit even when you leave the dinner table.  I have some pretty glittered ones also that I will put on the living room coffee table.

Birds are a good luck symbol at the dinner table.  I purchased these a few years ago at an after-holiday sale at a local florist shop.  I have them on the table for every holiday meal in some form or other, i.e., next to the Easter display, pumpkins, etc.

I am so lucky because my children are with us for Christmas as we share them with other relatives for Thanksgiving every other year.

I am beginning the non-stop baking that I have done each year for I would guess about thirty-five years, breads, cookies, candies, etc.  When working full time, I baked each year for all of the moms who used to help out in my classroom, giving their time without pay each week throughout the year.  I would enclose a little scented candle with their special bread and some years sugared pecans and white chocolate peppermint.

I am not a fan of faux, but I am beginning to become a fan of the more realistic greens now on the market.  I do not bring any real greens into my home anymore until the last minute.  So, I will mix real greens with the faux greens above and also work in fresh flowers throughout the tablescape.

A work in progress!


Bernie said...

Your table setting is just lovely, Eileen. Your depression glassware is beautiful ... and I love the story about your Aunt's glasses getting stuck on her pantry shelves ... just priceless!

I like your idea of mixing faux and real ... it works so well. Those candles are a great idea ... we use them on our prayer tables at school all the time, but I've never really thought of using them at home! I'm going to get some for myself now.

Our Christmas celebrations have been getting smaller every year since the boys left home ... it's difficult when the family members scatter to the four winds! Anyway, I do so hope your have a lovely Christmas with your children.

Zoey said...

What a beautiful table you set, Eileen! I do love those two-toned depression glasses. I am sure you love them even more since they have a family heritage.

Your Christmas Amaryllis are stunning! I hope they make it through Christmas day.

allanbecker-gardenguru said...

Having to share close relatives with others at any holiday time is heartbreaking. My two daughters live out of town. Whenever they honor obligations with their husband's families, my wife and I feel lonely.

Karen said...

Eileen, I love your table setting, so very elegant. The vintage glasses are beautiful as well as the dinnerware. I'm so glad the glasses could be repaired.

I have a very small family too, with only my mother left on my side, so I know what you mean about tiny gatherings. I still have our two sons, but they have other obligations, too. We have friends in for the holidays which makes it much more fun.

My guests will not be treated to such a glorious display though! The amaryllis are SO beautiful, I hope they hold on til Christmas.

Becca's Dirt said...

Your setting is beautiful. Very festive. Love love love those dishes and the awesome depression glass. I have a couple of pieces and they are hard to find. Beautiful amaryllis.

Anonymous said...

Dear Eileen, You really do pay attention to every detail. Your family and friends must be delighted with all the special things that you do for them and they must certainly feel very welcome in your home. I am sure that your smaller Christmas will not be any less work, but I do so hope that you all have a wonderful, happy time together.

Shirley said...

How wonderful to have those beautiful pieces to set out each year and as you do so you remember with fondness those to whom they are attributed. That is priceless!

Gatsbys Gardens said...

Thanks Bernie, some of the LED candles actually have wax drippings on the sides. Faux is getting better all the time.


Gatsbys Gardens said...

Hi Zoey, I don't think my amaryllis will last but I have certainly enjoyed them this year. Next year I will start them a little later.


Gatsbys Gardens said...

I know how you feel Allan. We have worked out some holidays where we are all together, my children's in-laws, etc. These are the best times.


Gatsbys Gardens said...

Hi Karen, I don't think the amaryllis will hold up, but they have looked great for about three weeks.


Gatsbys Gardens said...

Thanks Becca,

The depression glass has become more difficult to find unless you go to a big show and then the prices are high.


Gatsbys Gardens said...

Thanks Edith,

I think they like it because one year I suggested we scale back and they said they would miss everything!


Gatsbys Gardens said...

Hi Shirley,

I do like seeing the things I remember in my childhood especially aroud the holidays.


garden girl said...

Beautiful Eileen! How wonderful having those keepsakes and all the memories that go with them.

p3chandan said...

Love your table setting and decorations, the amaryllis, and of cos your vintage glassware! Whether the celebration is small or big, its the togetherness thats so important and give that festive air with all the flurry of baking, cooking, decorating and gift giving!

Gatsbys Gardens said...

Thanks Garden Girl, it is fun every year to relive the memories that the glassware evokes from our childhood.


Gatsbys Gardens said...

Hi P3 Chandan,

You are right, it is the togetherness that matters and nothing else!


joey said...

Your excellent site is always a seasonal inspiration, dear Eileen. I love your china! Let's enjoy this stunning season :)

leavesnbloom said...

That china is beautiful Eileen along with that impressive table decor. All of my wedding china is still in the attic - maybe some day I will bring it out again and I keep all my waterford crystal in my china cabinet. It's very quiet at our home at Christmas as our families live in Ireland.

Gatsbys Gardens said...

Hi leaveanbloom,

Most of my family lives in Ireland. I was born here, but many of my mother's sisters and brother stayed in Ireland. Therefore, I have more relatives in Ireland than in the US.


Commonweeder said...

You certainly set a beautiful table. Your guests are blessed to be taken such good care of.