Monday, December 4, 2023

Joyful Get Together

Joyful Get Together

Before the calendar turned to December our home was decorated for Christmas!  We always decorate the the weekend after Thanksgiving so we have the maximum time to enjoy it all.  Also, since our wedding anniversary is January 8th, we take down all the holiday stuff on New Year's Day (usually while watching the Twilight Zone marathon!) so our anniversary is it's own special day.
This year is a bit different...we will be away for several days over the holidays, so this year is a much pared down decorating year.  Last year we knew of this trip, so I labeled a plastic tote "BASIC HOLIDAY" and put just the few things I knew would give our home a holiday feel...without digging through all the holiday totes.
And...not putting up our big tree this year!  I have to laugh...when my mother was my age she decided she was not going to put up a Christmas tree any longer.  I was appalled!  How can you NOT have a tree?  She said she did have a tree...a ceramic light up tree. UGH!  Fast forward and I am now the age my mother was at that time... and since we are not going to be home on Christmas...
It's official...I have turned into my mother!
I invited my college friends to come for brunch and then some shopping. Those placemats were a gift from my sister in law Barb the first year we were they are VINTAGE.  She made them and I love them because the other side is red and white polka dots - I keep them on hand all year because that side works for Valentine's Day, 4th of July, etc.  We live near a large Tanger Outlet Center, so there is always some good shopping and with the holidays on the way it was a perfect time to get together.  We fueled up on French toast, quiche, bacon, fruit, muffins, and of course...
Mimosas!  Cheers to 50 years of friendship!
I wanted to have a little gift at each place setting - something small as we stopped exchanging gifts a few years ago.  I noticed I had a lot of empty Yankee Candle jars on hand...I always clean them out, remove the labels, run them through the dishwasher...and then I have run out of uses for them.  Our garbage provider does not recycle glass like that, so I came up this idea.
This is the empty jar...all clean and shiny! 

I found these cute socks...looks like elf style!

A small hand cream to keep in your purse...

a seasonal lip balm...

and CANDY!

Place them all inside the jar...

and tied with a cute ribbon and an ornament from Dollar Tree!
These were a big hit - and when the treats are removed the jar can be used - like I do - to store pantry items or anything you want.  I liked this idea so much and I have a few other empty jars - plus I am always burning a candle so more jars to come - that I am going to try adapting this idea for neighbor gifts for other holidays.
The rest of our "Basic Christmas" decorations include candles...

a few holly berries and a little mug that was part of my mom's holiday collection.

Simple coffee table arrangement...with my Uncle Joe's cane against the fire place a la Miracle on 34th Street.  He was a generous uncle with white hair...lived to his late 80's...I am so glad I have his cane and great memories.

Part of the big nativity set that was my dear mother-in-law's...just the basics this year.

A few things to "Christmas Up" the kitchen...that cup and saucer is part of our Christmas dish collection.  Pfaltzgraff Christmas discontinued, but we have enough for a crowd.  The little trees are from Dollar the way they look.  

Love this sign...and found Double Dog Dare wine which we hope to drink while we watch "A Christmas Story"!

Foyer decorations
and our wreath  - all the Cat's Meow It's A Wonderful Life items and a bell that rings every time we open and close the door...

And anyone one who is a REAL Wonderful Life fan will know that those are "Zuzu's petals"!
Do you decorate heavy for Christmas...or are you starting to scale it back?  I thought I would miss everything I put out every year, but I like how things look.  Not making cookies this year...that is hard for me. Cookies mean Christmas - in 46 years I only did not bake once when I had the flu, so this is weird for me.
Are you baking ?  Any new traditions?  Please leave a comment below - I read everyone and try to respond, and I love hearing from you !
Enjoy this wonderful month of December and remember - 

Thanks so much for stopping by Our New Vista !


  1. No matter how I try, I keep adding to Christmas! Your “basic Christmas” looks lovely!

    1. I know Darlene...I finally had to stop wiring a plastic Santa to the front of my car because it covered the cameras! Thanks for stopping by !

  2. Love your home and outlook on life.

  3. This is lovely. The jar gifts are so fun. What a nice time to be together. Visiting from Tell it To Me Tuesday.

  4. Thanks for stopping by...have a great holidat !

  5. Hi Ann! Always love your posts and pictures. Before I read it, I was thinking…does this mean we won’t see John decorating the cookies?…and so it’s true. How fun though, to be planning a trip.
    Love all your decor with the heartfelt connections to family.
    I bring less out of the attic but it’s still a lot!! I find new ways to decorate things…this year it’s the fireplace and our new tree. Spend way too much time online and getting new ideas.
    Have plans for cookies, but who knows…time is flying by.
    Enjoy your pre Christmas days! ❤️

    1. Hi Debbie...Yes, it means no cookies! I can't believe it...first time in forever...I think once back in the 80's I had the flu and did not bake, but that was it. I keep going down the baking aisle in the store and thinking...WHAT??? Can't wait to see photos of your new tree. Enjoy all the getting ready fun!

  6. May you have a wonderful Christmas, trip and glorious wedding anniversary. I must admit that I also only have a small small tree since we moved into a basement suite as we do not have room for a real or big tree. Whatever you do, have fun and enjoy Christmas.
    I visited you via Thinking Out Loud Thursday - What I Read in November 2023
    I linked up this week with = 71+72. I hope you will join us M-S SeniorSalonPitStop and W-S #WordlessWednesday. You will find both under BLOGGING.

  7. That looked like such a sweet get together. I love your pared down decor. I'm getting like that and wanting to downsize. I need to be thoughtful with all of my decorations and weed out what I don't really love. You candle jar gift was so creative. I bet they loved them! You have a lot of fun traditions. I'm not sure if I'll be baking or not this year. My daughter usually bakes a lot so I don't need to but we'll see. I like making a huge batch of chex mix. There are a few cookies from my childhood that I like to make but don't do it every year. Enjoy your travels during the month and happy early anniversary!

  8. Heather - I love Chex Mix! Yes, paring down was not as hard as I thought. Hope you are enjoying the buildup to Christmas - and thanks for the good thoughts!

  9. Ann, I love your Christmas decorations. How fun to have the get together with your friends. I like the cute gift you made for each of them. The ceramic tree is just beautiful. I hope you have a great time on your trip with your husband and happy anniversary. I will be downsizing my decorations this year since I just got back from a vacation with my daughter to London. Wishing you a happy holiday Ann.


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