Hosting Christmas

I have to admit, my Christmas tree is still up. I’ve gotten so far as getting the ornaments off, but I can’t bring myself to pull the lights, ribbon, and star off quite yet… Unfortunately I think it’s quickly becoming a fire hazard so I suppose it will have to go before the week is out. But but but… it was our first Christmas tree!! And it was the first time I got to decorate my own house! And it was our first Christmas together as a married family! Ah well. I suppose that the reason Christmas is special is because it only comes once a year, and even though we should celebrate the birth of Christ all year long because we know He has already come, we still long for Him to come again to restore us to fellowship with Him as it was in the beginning (and save us from run-on sentences like this one).
Such joy and anticipation!
On a practical level, Christmas was a success! We were so blessed to host my in-laws for the week, and we also had a Christmas “Adam” party (ie the day before Christmas “Eve”. Heh heh.) with 13 good friends. We started off with some appetizers…

From left to right: homemade fudge (from sister-in-law), warm apple cider, assorted stuffed olives/pickles/mini mozzarella balls, puffed-pastry-wrapped baked brie, crackers and french bread crisps, the Pioneer Woman’s artichoke spinach dip, and homemade eggnog. (The garnish is fresh rosemary boughs)

I decided to make a turkey, and used my family’s traditional poultry recipe found here.
I used a combination of methods of baking, and it turned out pretty well for my first time. In order to eat around 3:30pm, preheat the oven to 450* and put the bird in at 7am and bake for 20 minutes. Reduce the heat to 275*, place tin-foil tent over it, and bake for 5-6 hours. Around 2, remove the tent and raise the heat to 300* and cook till the inside temp reaches160*.

My husband doing the honors…

Despite my forgetfulness to take pictures, the full menu was as follows:

– Appetizers (as shown above)
– Fresh cranberry sauce with orange zest
– Garlic braid bread
– Sweet potato casserole
– Wild rice with dried cranberries and pistachio nuts
– Steamed green beans with goat cheese and balsamic vinegar
– Turkey
– Bridlewood Pinot Noir, 2007 reserve
– Apple pie
– Pumpkin pie
– Coffee and tea

After dinner, we had a blessed time reading through Lessons and Carols, singing carols, and a white elephant gift exchange. It was such a blessing to have fellowship with close friends and family, and it was a treasured time together.
On Christmas Eve, we were surprised by a freak snow fall! It was beautiful, and we were on our way to a wine tasting in the Virginia countryside. It was a bit of a treacherous ride home, which included a 180 degree spin right around a corner. But we made it home safe, thank goodness… here are some pictures from our holiday together.
For the first time in ten years, I woke up to a white Christmas…
Santa had surprised my in-laws with some awesome flying money slingshots…
And we couldn’t wait till after gifts to start breakfast, so we uh, multi-tasked.
Dad and sister-in-law and our second (more successful) snowman
Merry Christmas and a very Happy New Year to you all!

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