Perfection set simply

Published 7:49 am Wednesday, December 28, 2016

Christmastime at my house has always been quite the production.  New and interesting recipes adorn my table each year. I say interesting because some of my new recipes don’t become tried and true favorites. Sometimes they are a flop, but at least they aren’t boring!

We gave up on a real tree several years ago because some of the kids are allergic. But our artificial one is covered with decorations both lovely and sentimental. My favorites are the handmade ones the kids and grands have given me through the years. When I can manage it the packages under the tree are wrapped in coordinating paper to highlight the color of the ornaments. Each year, I carefully take out my collection of Lenox Holiday china and set the dining table. I painstakingly create a beautiful centerpiece and enjoy the scene each time I walk into the room.

It took me several years to collect that set of china. My hubby and sister gave me a place setting or a cup and saucer for my birthday, Christmas and other occasions until I had enough to use for the holidays. I was so excited when I finally had the correct amount to set my special Christmas table.

I adore the sights and sounds of Christmas, and enjoy beauty in all forms. So the beautifully set table, beautiful tree, and beautifully wrapped packages all helped me feel the magic. 

When the kids were small we had bonfires and other fun things around the holidays as a family, but I always made a big deal out of the kids keeping their hands out of the goodies and not getting dirty until our guests arrived for any Christmas party or dinner.

That’s all OK. I taught the kids how to behave properly and cater to guests. But this Christmas, as I sat in the glow of the twinkling lights from my tree I had a thought. My children who impatiently waited to enjoy goodies until the important guests arrived were now the ones I was waiting to entertain for the holidays. They had been my most special guests all along.

It’s a little ironic, but one of the hardest decisions I made this year was one of the best. I decided to leave some people off my guest list. I made a point of inviting only positive and fun folks. We all know joy-snatchers, and this year I made a point to steer clear of them.

Suddenly, I realized that the kids would probably have a lot more fun if they just got to relax and enjoy being home. We followed tradition on Christmas Day, but Christmas Eve we ate on Solo plates. They did match, though. They were red and green, but clean up was a breeze! 

We didn’t dress up in matching outfits either, but wore blue jeans to Christmas Eve service. After reading the Christmas story by candlelight we gathered around the piano and sang about the most important guest at any gathering. My heart filled and trickled down my cheeks as I realized that this had been a perfect Christmas.

Jan Penton Miller can be reached at