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We’re off to see The Nutcracker!

I threw together a little Mother / Daughter brunch immediately following the Tallahassee Ballet’s Children’s (abbreviated, thank God) performance of the Nutcracker.  I take the girls every year and this year I thought it would be fun to have a few friends and neighbors over to the house afterward to share a meal and have some playtime.  Today I am sharing the details with you!

I love a good excuse to set a festive table and I really loved how this one turned out.  It was more simple to put together than it may look!  To start, I layered an April Cornell holiday tablecloth (a HomeGoods find!) over a basic white linen table cloth.  For the place settings I used my new iridescent pheasant feather placemats from Kevin’s – I love how the feathers are unexpected and mix things up just a touch – and topped them with my trusty gold chargers and my Spode Christmas Tree china.  To mix it up a little further I played with pattern and added in some plaid napkins set in a gold beaded napkin ring (which are both also HomeGoods finds!).

The centerpiece is comprised of two “ingredients” – roses and garland. Pretty straightforward!! To create the flower arrangements I cut down floral foam to fit into my containers (x4 small 6″ silver Revere bowls and x1 large 8.5″ silver Revere bowl), then soaked the foam overnight for maximum hydration for the flowers -100 red roses from Global Rose ($84.37, including overnight shipping!).

When you’re ready to construct the arrangements, all you have to do is cut the stems down to the length / height you want, and then push the stem into the floral foam, which will hold the stem firmly in place.  I like to create a uniform domed look when I am using the Revere Bowl vessels in this manner – it creates a “wow factor” to have 100 roses bunched into five arrangements!  I layered these arrangements around a 25′ fresh garland purchase from Costco (for $19.99!) that I cut down into smaller sections to fit my table and placed down the center of the table.  The two silver candlesticks were a recent birthday gift from my Mother-in-Law!

I put some thought into the menu because of the timing – the ballet was at 10:30, so I didn’t have much time to prepare before departing for the theatre.  I knew I needed all of the dishes to be able to be prepared in advance and then reheated at a low temp upon our return from the ballet…which is precisely what I did!  I made sure to serve appetizers – as I knew everyone would be hungry and I needed to buy time to finish preparing the meal.  I served a crab & artichoke bake, and a baked brie – two pretty heavy appetizer options, but they were gobbled up.  The brunch lineup included Candied Bacon (I cooked all of the bacon the day prior with the windows open – I did NOT want my house to smell like a diner the day of the party), a roasted vegetable quiche, macaroni & cheese casserole, fruit salad with honey lime dressing, a chopped kale salad, chicken nuggets, and crescent rolls (always a crowd pleaser).  I also made Ina Garten’s make-ahead Cranberry Martinis, which were a hit!  And good champagne usually goes over well, too.

A festive bar – a “must” for any brunch!
Ina Garten’s Make-Ahead Cranberry Martinis were a total hit!


Children’s Table: Decorate with Sweets!


I am a happy host when I see a few things happening at any gathering:  no one is on their phone, the candlesticks have almost burned all the way down and conversation is still flowing, and and the children are playing peacefully.  Those are three signs of a good party!  Maybe this will become a holiday tradition!

Merry Christmas to you and yours!