Thanksgiving has always been one of my favorite holidays because it’s a time to reflect and give thanks for the many blessings in our life and Fall is my favorite season because I love the colors and the light of Autumn, a warm fireplace and the comfort of a delicious home cooked meal. I have cooked Thanksgiving Dinner for more than 20 years and love doing it for our immediate family and a few guests. This year we had 6 people at our table which was set with Havana Faux Burlap Table Linens and Italian Deruta Dinnerware with Gold Chargers http://www.burlap-tablecloth.com/table-cover/faux-designer-havana.html from Premier Table Linens.
A few weeks later, we had a Pre-Christmas Dinner for good friends and set the tables again with the Havana Faux Burlap Table Linens. As always, we received numerous compliments on the linens. I set the table using Italian Deruta Dinnwerware and Brown Rattan Chargers. My husband did the cooking and we all had a wonderful evening!
I have hosted our extended family for Christmas Eve dinner for about 14 years and each year the family continues to grow. In previous years, I prepared a buffet consisting mainly of appetizers, finger foods and desserts which was a hit but one year I decided to switch up the menu to include some main dish entrees along with the appetizer buffet. It’s a process trying to figure out the perfect menu for a large group, right? Maybe next year, I will return to an appetizer bar with finger foods or opt for a pizza and salad bar with easy to eat desserts so there are fewer dishes to clean up and more time to enjoy everything and everyone.
Holiday entertaining during Christmas is more of a challenge for me simply because there is so much more to accomplish. My Christmas to-do list of preparations typically begins two days after Thanksgiving and the duties never seem to end (the tree, decorating, cards, shopping and clean up) but each year I do it all again because I want to spend time with our forever growing family in the comfort of home. This year, I prepared a traditional Christmas Eve dinner buffet for 20 people with Extra Large Grilled Pancetta Wrapped Shrimp, a large Filet of Beef Tenderloin and Chicken Parmesan. The Beef Tenderloin was beautifully sliced and garnished with fresh Rosemary but was under seasoned for some tastes. It would have been more flavorful had I served either a red wine reduction sauce with sautéed mushrooms or a creamed horseradish sauce served on the side. The Chicken Parmesan, a family favorite, was a tad bit dry and the shrimp, although beautiful, may have tasted a little better with a drizzle of garlic butter. My Sister-in-Laws made deliciously flavorful Vegetarian Enchiladas and a Caesar Salad with rolls & dessert and my dear friend brought her prize chocolate chip oatmeal cookies with toasted pecans.
While my 21 year old food critic son gave me an “A+” on the recent Thanksgiving dinner I prepared for 6, I received only a “B” on the Christmas Eve dinner but guess what? The older I get, the more I realize that Holiday Entertaining does not have to be perfect in order to be a success. Let’s face it, it’s hard to a perfect housecleaner, cook, decorator and entertainer all at the same time; especially during large family holiday events!
Thankfully, our family is mostly focused on the family gathering itself so everyone is happy with whatever food I prepare, regardless of the variety of individual dietary restrictions, personal food tastes or preferences. Like most families, we are all different. We have the vegetarian, the health and fitness conscious, the hearty appetites and the no onion folks. Although having our family all together is the main focus, I still aim to please! The “Italian Mama” in me wants to make sure that all appetites are satisfied and that nobody leaves hungry! As of today, my dishes are washed but my tree and decorations are all still up. Since it took me a week to set up everything, it will probably take me a week to take it down. I know I am not alone…
Next year, I will strive to find ways to simplify but one thing I won’t compromise on is setting the tables with beautiful linens from Premier Table Linens.
I choose Premier Table Linens because they are lovely and high quality, easy care, and the prices and customer service can’t be beat! These linens make everything look more festive and welcoming. Before I discovered Premier Table Linens, I used to buy high end damask linens at local discount stores. They needed lots of ironing to look good and although they were pretty, they looked too formal for my taste and were not available in every size I needed. I love the easy to use tablecloth calculator with Premier Linens so I can figure out the size to order for each of my tables. I tend to favor tablecloths with a 12″ drop for dining.
These are the lovely and luxurious Saxony Damask Table Linens from Premier Table Linens. http://premiertablelinens.com/default/tablecloths/damasks/saxony The traditional Saxony Damask table linens feature beautiful monochromatic floral and leaf patterns that are sure to dress up any holiday table. I love the way the Saxony Cafe’ Damask fabric compliments my Bernardaud Constance Dinnerware and my Hand-Painted Italian Deruta Dinnerware. The Saxony Damask fabric is high end — the wrinkle and stain resistant tablecloths come in all sizes at unbeatable prices. The Saxony Damask collection table linens are 59% cotton / 41% Polyester which offer a lush feel, graceful drape and superb durability. The tablecloths are seamless up to 72″. Larger size linens are made with side panels. The Saxony table linens are available in six beautiful colors.
I chose the neutral Cafe’ color, which goes perfectly with our decor. The color is like a Cafe’ au Lait or Cappuccino, it has a warm golden beige hue with a slight pewter sheen. I find this color lends itself to tablesettings that include gold, silver, pewter or Mercury glass but being a neutral, it can easily go with anything! The Saxony Damask has a luxurious look and feel that leans toward formal yet it does not look fussy. My husband loves these linens even more than the Havana Faux Burlap Linens. I never thought I’d find linens I loved as much as the Havana Faux Burlap Linens, but these Saxony Damask linens are gorgeous and elegant. The are especially suitable for those holiday dinners and special occasion events when you want more of a polished dressy look.
Truth be told, I did not take any photos of our Christmas Eve table settings that included our buffet of festive holiday foods. Why not? I set up the tables, cooked, cleaned, arranged the buffet then decided to relax and enjoy along with everyone else! Hope all of you had a relaxing holiday season too.