Your Holiday Should Include Everything from Festive Tablescapes to Fun-Filled Sleigh/Hayrides
By Anne Valgoi
The holidays are upon us, and it is my favorite time of the year. It is a season to reflect on the past and present, to give of yourself to others, and an occasion to celebrate with dear friends and family. A good friend once told me to “keep the wine glasses full and the conversation flowing” and you will have yourself a perfect holiday event!
Entertaining is what I revel in. The focus this holiday is on “gathering around the table” so creating a beautiful and inviting tablescape is essential. I start with some neutral linens and possibly one with some texture. Then add some interest with gold flatware or elegant, gold serving pieces and include shimmer with the addition of mercury votive candle holders. Mix in some attractive glass candlesticks as well to create some contrast. For a glamorous look, do not hesitate to use your fine, wedding china and crystal glassware. I often place a few ornaments (clear, gold or silver) near the candlesticks to create a certain amount of shine!
Flowers always make a table look elegant and attractive. I personally adore winter white florals such as a mix of roses, peonies, and ranunculus. Then I add greenery and some eucalyptus for texture and interest. Here is where you can add a pop of color to your lovely tablescape. Consider adding an accent color such as romantic red or dramatic burgundy roses and even some berries. I also enjoy the little, unexpected details such as adding a spring or two of evergreen or rosemary across each napkin or place setting. At Thanksgiving, I often add whole, fresh cranberries to the bottom of all my glass table vases. Then I fill with water before I start my floral arrangement- this creates a beautiful, festive color pop.
A touching tradition that we started a few years ago is a gratifying and personal way to involve the entire family. As we gather at the beautiful table with our precious ones, we openly and individually share our favorite holiday memory as well as what we are most thankful for from the previous year. We have experienced both laughter and grateful tears during our holiday “table talks”.
During this special season, I recommend attending a show at the Fabulous Fox Theatre in Atlanta or an intimate, candlelight concert featuring the Nutcracker and other holiday classics performed by the Edgewood String Quartet (many of whom are members of the Atlanta Symphony Orchestra) at the Trolley Barn in historic Inman Park (Atlanta). We have our family favorites as well which always includes a visit to the Atlanta Botanical Gardens “Garden Lights, Holiday Nights”. The garden is illuminated with spectacular holiday lights and festive music is played throughout. “Displays such as the Ice Goddess and Tunnel of Light, along with The Orchestral Orbs, Radiant Rainforest, and Model Trains make the exhibition a must.” It is a delight for all ages.
Holiday cookie making is another treasured activity during the holidays in the Valgoi household. Our adult children, as well as our four-year-old grandson, insist on this delicious special time! Often, we include in our festivities a Gingerbread House contest or competition. Bragging rights for the winner of the best creation is a coveted pleasure.
My family continues to be active during the holidays. Whether it is a competitive tennis match or some fun-filled hours of pickleball, we enjoy spending time outdoors. Perhaps organize a sleigh ride or hayride, complete with Christmas caroling. Here we are pictured during a previous Christmas in Vermont. Snow did not make its presence until after the holiday this particular year!
The countdown is on until Santa comes to visit. Elf on the shelf is also very busy pulling pranks and creating excitement. So, I recommend grabbing your favorite pair of cozy Christmas pajamas and settle down in front of the warm fireplace. Reflect on your many blessings and be truly thankful for your family and friends. Please know that I AM VERY GRATEFUL for every one of my readers. XXO