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Merry meals: Christmas entertaining

Merry Christmas, Happy Christmas, Season’s Greetings no matter your greeting, the holidays are a time of celebration. Whether it’s a quiet intimate setting, or a more lively event with friends or family it is a wonderful way to wrap up the year, reflect, plan, prepare for springtime, which is just on the horizon – and a way to celebrate that the days are getting longer!

Regardless of how, and what you celebrate, it is a time for many to share good food with friends and family.  One of my favorite ways to share is to create a beautiful table setting.  Here are two Christmas tables that combine vintage pieces in contemporary settings.

Our tradition has been a quiet Christmas Eve dinner of Dungeness crab, Caesar salad, and champagne, it deserves a compatible table setting.  I will say as two Pacific Northwest natives, my husband and I agree that Dungeness crab is the best; however we diverge significantly at this point.  I am a crab purist, preferring my crab cold and unadulterated – the legs are my favorite.  On the other hand, Stephen likes his crab hot, drenched in butter, and prefers the body meat.  There is usually a significant amount of poker-style, table-top crab trading during dinner.  Delicious as it is, crab can be a messy event; don’t forget hot clothes in lemon water in addition to copious napkins, I would even say it’s even acceptable to wrap yourself in a towel while eating crab!

Nothing better than a large Lenox Holiday bowl of crab on ice.

I started with Lenox Eternal and layered-in Lenox Holiday salad plates, adding in vintage and antique items to round out the setting.

Like this lovely etched crystal salad bowl from my Grandmother and two vintage silver plate serving pieces from an Aunt.

Two unmarked, antique ramekins for the clarified butter. Stephen got my portion.

These charming mother-of-pearl antique knives added a bit of variation to the Oneida silver plate. The knives were a recent purchase from my friend David, owner of The Key Antiques in Lakewood.

Some gifts and lots of candles added to the elegant feel of the table.

Our Christmas morning breakfast table was set with Spode Christmas Tree, a classic pattern that is simple and sweet – this particular pattern has been in constant production since 1938!  Fortunately, the modern version of the Spode pattern is dishwasher safe, perfect for a busy day. 

I mixed the Spode pattern with holly plates made by a friend of my great-grandmothers

The cheery champagne flutes, aptly named Festive from Pier 1 Imports, made for a simple and cheerful breakfast table.

For garlic lovers who cannot seem to find a good Caesar dressing, here is our recipe: CAUTION extreme garlic!

Start with five to six crushed garlic cloves, yes, you read that read that correctly 5 – 6 cloves of garlic.   Crush the garlic first, and then add a tiny bit of salt, the salt enhances the flavors. Next, combine with one tablespoon of Worcestershire sauce, and one teaspoon of Dijon mustard.  Add the juice of one lemon and lemon zest (be sure to zest the lemon ahead of time), the lemon zest, really brightens the dressing. Combine with one half – to one cup of mayo, if it is too thick you can thin it with a bit of milk.  For additional flavor add a bit of fresh cracked pepper.  Be prepared to spend at least one day alone after eating.  Enjoy! 

I hope you enjoyed the table settings and were inspired to bring more beauty to your world through antiques.  Please comment and share ways that you have included vintage pieces in your holiday settings.  Don’t forget to check back in January; we’ll explore more ways that you can add antique or vintage items to your everyday life, and maybe I’ll be able to entice David (The Key Antiques) into an interview. 

Bye for now, and don’t forget to bring some beauty to your world! ~d

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