Monday, January 05, 2009

Christmas Eve Dinner

When I lived near my parents, but in my own apartment, it became a tradition for me to host Christmas Eve. I still look forward especially to this night and preparing something pretty for the table decorations!

I had intended to do something about decorations before we left home, but the time was so short - that it went off the list! So, Christmas Eve afternoon - I found a neat basket in the cabin and headed outside to gather some goodies!

I love that you can still see snow in the pinecones!!

My mom had brought two tapers and I had some scrapbooking paper in our car - so this is what happened with what we had:

A piece of paper became a "doily" underneath the basket centerpiece. I spread some pinecones and evergreen sprigs down the center of the table. Mugs from the cabin filled with sugar became candleholders!

Our traditional Christmas Eve dinner happened years ago by accident! My mom remembers that someone gave them a box of sausage and cheese from Swiss Colony and the tradition stuck - we've been having this same dinner along with our favorite chip dip, chips, veggies, and hot sausage in BBQ sauce for the men. A cookie tray at the end is the perfect dessert!

What is your traditional Christmas Eve dinner? How did that tradition begin?


Wendi said...

Christmas Eve is my dad's birthday and we celebrate with a dinner at Olive Garden and then back to my sister's for cake and presents.

Years ago mom went to make dinner Christmas Eve and her stove wouldn't turn on. Dad had everyone pile in the car and off to Olive Garden we went. It was fun and different and became our tradition!

asnipofgoodness said...

We always do take out Chinese, yum yum. We all love it, so it is a real treat! I don't know when it started, sometime when the kids were small, and we needed extra time to put all those toys together, most likely!

Edi said...

Our traditional Christmas Eve dinner is a Dairy Queen Blizzard :)

About 3 yrs ago we wanted to go out to eat after our church's Christmas Eve service. But in driving around - we couldn't find a place to eat that was still open. We stumbled upon the DQ and found that it had a fireplace inside!

So the tradition began...

Christi said...

Monica, the table looks just lovely!

Our Christmas Eve dinner is simple as well. We have either (baked) ham or (roasted) turkey sandwiches, chips & dip, olive/pickles and pie for dessert. My MIL and I take turns with the meat; one year she bakes a ham, and the next I bake a turkey - and we do it the day before so that Christmas Eve dinner is no hassle. Works out great!

Step said...

When I was growing up, we always had heavy appetizers for Christmas Eve dinner -- cheese, sausage and crackers, shrimp cocktail, pigs in a blanket, meatballs, etc. My parents had the entire family over with spouses and children and we would open gifts to each other after dinner. That way, Christmas morning was free for everyone to spend with their own immediate family.

I do things a little differently now. We generally have a casserole type dinner -- lasagne this year. Then, we go to our church's 8pm candlelight service. I've moved having the heavy appetizers to New Year's Eve instead.

Anonymous said...

Very Cute idea! Love how you used stuff that you had to create this beautiful table setting.

jen said...

That is so creative, and perfect for a cabin! Smiles at the thought of you having scrapbook paper in your trunk. I am one of those people who attempts to take as little as possible on a trip and many times end up saying "Oh! I wish I had brought thus & such with us." Good for you and your mom! Your Christmas eve dinner is our New Year's eve dinner. It is a fun tradition. Happy day to you.

Chrissy said...

Lasagna, made by me. The recipe is Hubby's grandma's, and it is wonderful. It serves a crowd, which we certainly are. It can also be made ahead and baked off at the last minute. I started the tradition years ago when our Christmas eve guest list started to grow by leaps and bounds. I serve it with garlic bread, salad, and if time allows, homemade rice balls.

I'm glad you're enjoying your precious family!

Michele said...

Our Christmas Eve dinner is tamales and posole, a tradition started way before my time on my Mexican mother's side. I have never learned to make it, but I need to.

Anonymous said...

Love your tablescape. I love the rustic, simple feel of a cabin. You kept it just that. I loved how you used what was available and it looks lovely.
Typically we have never done a Christmas Eve Dinner. Christmas Day was the big day for food always. Usually on Christmas Eve we spent the evening at candlelight service and then headed over to our friends house for an open house. Sadly, family get togethers are few and far between for us. We both come from divorced families and it makes holidays hard.
I have been enjoying hearing about your trip and your holidays and the pics. Your girls will always have wonderful childhood memories.

Bessers said...


I have been reading your blog for a little while and find it inspiring to see all that you to make simple things beautiful. Have you ever read "The Hidden Art of Homemaking" by Edith Shaffer? The photos you post remind me of exactly the kind of thing she encourages. Thanks for the inspiration!

Anonymous said...

That is a beautiful centerpiece! What a special time with your family!

Shabbee Chick said...

Happy New Year, Monica!

Debra said...

For years we have had Christmas Eve at my house - not sure how that started. This year we did it at my parent's since my daughter was in the choir for the Children's mass on Christmas Eve and it just seemed more practical (for me anyway). I think this will be our new tradition until she is no longer in the choir. We still had ham this year, just like always.

Love your table. It is amazing what you can do with what you have on hand. I think it makes it more special.

Happy New Year!

Elise said...

I love it how God's own decorations were able to be used and it looks so perfect in the cabin!! We don't have a tradition for Christmas Eve dinner, but sometime before Christmas we always get together with two families and have brunch. We have been doing it for 6 years now. I look forward to it every year. Now, I need a Christmas Eve tradition.
Thanks for sharing yours.

Anonymous said...

Christmas Eve dinner was always Oyster Stew with crackers when I was growing up. My mom was from the south so I think it's a Southern thing. I live in Los Angeles now but we have that on Christmas Eve and don't forget the Black Eyed Peas on New Years!

Anonymous said...

Hi Monica:
Your table looks lovely...and so neat that you could use just what you found at hand!

The Christmas Eve tradition of sausage & cheese and snacks started when I sent your family a Swiss Colony box years ago. Memee picked up on that in later years & now I have resumed it, since she is gone. Hope you all enjoyed it.

Happy New Year!

Love, Grandma

Jessica said...

Great job with the decorations. It looks so cozy.

Katy said...

The decorations look fantastic monica! :) I love it!!! :)

Brenda@CoffeeTeaBooks said...

We have hor dourves (sp?) for Christmas Eve. It all started about twenty years ago when I wanted to make something different for Christmas but felt locked in to my regular Holiday meal menus (which I STILL make each year).

It became fun trying new things for Christmas Eve and serving a few old favorites.

Now my daughter is married and has four small children and she does the same thing each Christmas Eve. :)

bigcitymama said...

My moms family is Italian, so we always do the seven fishes on Christmas Eve

Deanna said...

What a lovely tablescape Monica. How wonderful to have those pinecones and the paper. The Lord does provide doesn't he?

Our family tradition for Christmas Eve dinner is Spicy Turkey with cornbread dressing and all the sides. Then we females in the family make a big pot of soup with all the leftovers.

Thank you for sharing this sweet post with us!

Deanna :)

Joy Cometh in the Morning said...

We go to my in-laws for Christmas Eve. Every year we have something different. Sometimes finger foods, sometimes a full Christmas dinner. Nobody could really agree on what we should have. This year we were going to have spaghetti. I thought this would be a great new tradition, but what do I know, I am just the daughter in law. My father in law ended up cooking hotwings and chicken fingers. That was a big hit. Maybe this will be a new tradition for the Bartons.

Unknown said...

Looks absolutely wonderful! Proves that beautiful table settings/center pieces don't have to cost a lot or take a lot of time! How encouraging! We typically do our Christmas with my side of the family on Christmas Eve so we usually have the big turkey meal. This year since we had a late Christmas Eve Service at church and everybody couldn't make it until the evening we just did crackers/cheese/sausage, veggies, fruit salad, pulled beef sandwiches, 'pigs in a blanket', apple pie, & Christmas goodies! It worked really well and was a lot less mom and I were like, "why didn't we think of this before?" :)

Blessings from icy WI! :)

angie said...

My family goes out for an early dinner on Christmas Eve before church. We usually try a new restaurant that is fancier than our normal family fare. We are already dressed nicely for church and we can head directly there.
Christmas Day is very low-key for us. Our dinner is homemade pizza with red and green toppings and sometimes we are still in our pajamas!
Love to see you using God's creations for your centerpiece. "Making do" is so much fun.

*carrie* said...

Dear sister,

You are so creative and resourceful.
I love you!

Anonymous said...

Monica, I loved what you came up with for our Christmas table with resources at hand! It really looked pretty -- and added to our festive cabin! Love, Mom

Anonymous said...

You are a very creative decorator!!!
I love craft, and admire other's talents.

My family has special traditions for Christmas Eve dinner. It is a twelve course meal, all meatless.