Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Family Traditions

Family traditions are passed down from generation to generation.  They create in us a sense of closeness, a tie that binds us together through the years, the glue that holds us together.  When I was a child, we had many traditions on which I look back now with fond memories.   

Christmas breakfast was a big to-do for us.  All of my mother's sisters and their families would gather at my aunt's house next door, and we would eat eggs, homemade biscuits, fried oysters, bacon, and country sausage.  After breakfast, we would exchange presents and visit, oohing and aahing over all the goodies that Santa had brought.  That evening, we would again gather around a table for Christmas dinner.  After dinner, my mother would play Christmas carols on the piano and we would all sing.  We laughed a lot when we didn't know all the words (we never knew all the gifts in the Twelve Days of Christmas), or when someone sang a bit off key. 

As a new mother years ago, I wanted to carry on some of the old Christmas traditions and make new ones for my little family.  Every Christmas Eve my children would open 2 gifts.  The first gift would be new pajamas, so they could wear them on Christmas morning for all the pictures.  The second gift was a movie or a book, so they could settle down and get to sleep, while I was making last minute preparations.  When morning came, the gifts were all wrapped--red paper for my daughter's gifts, and green paper for my son's--and under the tree.  Every year my son asks what color his gifts are, and we laugh!  We again eat a big breakfast together, and our menu always includes fried oysters.  Christmas afternoon, we gather with our extended family for a party.  Our family has gotten too big for a formal dinner, so we have finger food, and no gifts are exchanged now, but we still sing.  My mom is no longer here to play for us, but one of my cousins has stepped in and we still laugh when we don't know the words or someone sings off key!  Except when Jesus Loves Me is played, and we all get emotional remembering the many, many times my mother played it for us so that we could sing.  I cannot hear the song without crying.  Heck, I'm crying now. :)

We also try to get together for Thanksgiving every year, but different families have branched off to do their own thing.  This year there were 12 of us at my house.

Our table was set for 10, as we had two come at the last minute.

I used pumpkins and fall-colored flowers in the centerpiece.
I sometimes buy a plant, such as a mum, and cut off the blooms to use in arrangements.  It's much cheaper than buying cut flowers.

You have seen these salad plates many times.  I paired them with my mom's china, which I also used last Thanksgiving.
I used these frosted leaf glasses, which were also my mom's, and Park Lane wine stems.

I found these candle cups at Goodwill.  They have a hole in the center, to use with candlesticks, or in this case, with decorative candles directly on the table.

Oops, I missed a candle!!

With all the chaos, I'm surprised I remembered to take photos!

I know I'm a week behind with my tables, but I wanted to spend time with my children and family while they were here.  I will be back visiting with you this week!  Thanks for taking the time to look!  I would love to hear sometime about your family Christmas traditions.  I always appreciate your kind comments!!  On to the Christmas holidays!!


  1. Hello...

    Absolutely gorgeous, my friend! Your Thanksgiving table is just beautiful! I love your place settings...love the pretty black and white transferware salad plates with that gorgeous gold rimmed china! I also like how you created the tall floral centerpieces! Mums always bring so much color to a room! It looks like you had quite a gathering for Thanksgiving! I bet all of your guests were "wowed" by this fabulous table! Thank you for sharing it with us!

    Warmest wishes,

  2. Everything on your table is just so pretty -- very elegant! But your story made me a little sad, as well as sentimental. I told my husband recently that as I get older, Christmas is more poignant and bittersweet. But I still love it!

    What is your salad plate pattern? I love those. Are they "The Herdsman"? I know Alycia Nichols used some by that name that looked a lot like yours. I do love English transferware. Hope you have a great week.


  3. This is beautiful! I love those plates! I loved your story and got all choked up about singing Jesus Loves Me! One of the firt songs I remember from my Sunday School days. I'm sure your Mom would have been proud to see this beautiful table and highly approved of your beautiful display! I hope you all had a great time!
    We all got together at my sister's which seems to be our current tradition these days. My Mom is 89 now and not up to doing the big gatherings. I think no matter how we do it- it's just important to be together and share some time together!
    Hugs, Liz

  4. Beautiful table...love the black/white transferware plates. Your centerpiece is lovely. I remember that frosted glassware being popular back in the 50's and 60's.

  5. I used the same glasses for my thanksgiving table. Your glasses are in better condition than mine, but I still love them.

    My Grandmother, then my Mother and now I host Thanksgiving for our family. We are not a large family and our gathering was much smaller this year. Several had to work and some where hunting. I try to have most of the foods my mother made, but have changed a few of the dishes.

    Your table is so nicely done with such cheerful flowers and candles. Everything is beautiful.

    From Virginia

  6. Most beautiful, love the glasses, Mom had some when I was a kid. Richard from my old Historic House.

  7. You and I were thinking along the same lines. I used my Royal Stafford "Herdsman" dinner plates for one of our Thanksgiving tables. They're great for that, huh?! You did a wonderful job with your table, and your centerpiece is really, really terrific! You put a lot of work into this, little woman!!! Thanks for sharing the stories of your family traditions. I think they are very important to carry on. We do many of the things that my Grandmother did when it was her job to host the holiday and many things my Mom did. I have been hosting Thanksgiving for about 10 years now, and not only am I doing many of the things they did, but I have created a new tradition which is to take a group photo before dinner, followed by the blessing. Tradition is a wonderful and treasured thing. Those that your family shared were so neat, especially the breakfast. I wish I could get my family to do that! We just live so far apart. :-(

  8. I was reading down your post and suddenly the picture of your dining room appreared--what a beautiful surprise! It is lovely. Enjoyed your tablescape and story of family tradition.

  9. This year I put metal tinsel (it falls so well) and real candles (not lighting them no worries) on our tree because I wanted it to remind me of my grandmother's tree. And i succeeded. and we have fondue on christmas eve and a nice dinner on Christmas day. Only santa comes Christmas morning and we open gifts christmas eve.. all very European. Love that you shared your wonderful memories with us. It's very comforting to carry on these traditions. Your table is so elegant and pretty. I love the dishes and the chargers and your centerpiece is perfection! xo marlis

  10. Just gorgeous!!! Thank you for sharing your happy memories and traditions. They are SO important. Every time I visit your blog I just all in love with your dining room all over again!

  11. Once again you've created the perfect setting! I love your Royal Stafford paired with your mom's china and I ADORE your frosted leaf glasses~ I remember admiring them last year, they're stunning! You've elevated pumpkins as a centerpiece to new heights~ beautiful filled & flanked by the florals!

  12. What a stunning table! Love everything! Our Christmas Eve tradition is to open 1 present and it is always pajamas! I did that as a girl and we did it with out girls. My theory is that you always take pictures Christmas morning and new pj's look nice in the pictures! Loved hearing about your traditions and seeing your lovely table!

  13. Love the sentimental comments about family traditions. The combination of the black and white salad plate with the gold dinner plates is beautiful.

  14. What a perfect Thanksgiving table! It's just the right mix of formality and friendliness. I especially love your floral arrangements. I want to try some like those with the candles. Gorgeous!

  15. I love your beautiful Thanksgiving tablescape! The story of your mother and the singing and her playing the piano was so sweet. My Thanksgiving tablescape was just posted yesterday for my mother, 89, was in a car accident and needed our care. I do appreciate your sharing the lovely pumpkin arrangement and the tall flowers in the candle holders. Happy Tablescaping, Pam

  16. Thanks for sharing your sweet memories. The holidays are when I miss my mom the most, but also feel closest to her. Your table is gorgeous! Love the super tall candlesticks, and the fresh flowers. Your dishes and your mom's glasses with the pretty leaf design are so pretty, too. I'm sure it was a wonderful dinner!

    Creating Wonderful Spaces

  17. Gorgeous setting. I love a long full table. ;-) Your dishes are beautiful. I have the Harvest dinner plates, but had not seen this design. I'll look for them now.

  18. Any woman who has such a beautiful dining room and sets such a beautiful table is a woman I want to follow!! :) So I'm following you now, and hope you'll visit me and find reason to follow me back. This table is gorgeous, and I love how the oval table looks from the end. Lovely.

  19. Just now getting around to spending a touch of time in blog world. After our Thanksgiving celebration, I've been taking long winter naps and beginning to flirt with the Christmas decorating. Beautiful tablescape...the balance of rich color and texture is stunning. Thank you for inviting us for a peak at your Thanksgiving celebration. Cherry Kay