Let’s Be Pen Pals

Good morning dear ones, are you getting excited about Christmas yet?

Today we broke out Bing Crosby’s Christmas carols which I freely confess caused a little flutter of the heart as I sighed out loud.  Apart from being a baking stylist’s dream, Christmas really is a special time for me. I love everything about it. The music, food, presents (gift giving is wayyy up there in my love language), hustle and bustle and even the tacky store decorations…..well, maybe except tinsel…..yeah, I don’t like tinsel.

As pastors, Christmas day is a pretty busy time for our family. We usually host a church service for the community at a local lake, then head to the cemetary to remember our precious Heavenly son, Noah,  before finally chugging home to open presents, eat and reflect on the goodness of God.

I try to delegate as much of the Christmas dinner as I can to my capable oldest son, who can cook up a feast with more skill than me.  We have learnt to keep it simple with a realistic amount of food, which usually involves a baked ham or lamb, roast veggies and salads. We aren’t much  of a seafood family, so that’s easy. 

The sweets are another matter entirely.

The girls and I spend the weeks prior to Christmas whipping up all sorts of celebratory confections. Sugar cookies, cupcakes, coconut ice, rocky road, not to mention a delicious gingerbread cake and gingerbread men….and that’s not even dessert. Have I ever mentioned to you that I am a frustrated baker with an insatiable neeeed to bake? Every Christmas I love turning my kitchen into a festive frenzy. Thankfully I have quite a few willing helpers. 

Every year I like to set up a dessert and sweets table for my family….well, more for my own creative satisfaction really. (Did I ever tell you I am just a creatively starved housewife? Plus my older children don’t eat sugar. I know right.)

The first place I go to find inspiration is our local fabric store. I will often find a colour combination or pattern that catches my eye and I’ll  build an entire Christmas theme around it. Last year I found this funky colourful fabric range and knew it would be perfect. 

You should know by now about my love affair with bright colours. I was going to call this my ‘pastel Christmas’ but realised that I am probably the only person on the planet who would consider these colours pastel. I fell in love with the hot pink, aqua blue, lime green and red. A crazy gorgeous colour combo.

The next thing I do is hunt around for matching bibs and bobs that bring out the colours in the fabric. Raiding my prop collection I found a couple of super cute neon faux deer and a hot pink chalk board frame from my Summer Boho NY Eve party.  I also used a cheap red glass cake stand I bought from Woolies last Christmas (score!)  and others from my collection. The wooden churches and pastel ( yes, really pastel ) Christmas trees were picked up from bargain shops. The next time  you rummage through tacky store decorations, try to visualise them out of context, in a nicer setting, ie: on your styled dessert table. You will be surprised how good they can look when you cobble them together with nicer pieces.

For a simple table covering I put a strip of hot pink hessian over a white wooden trestle table with a piece of the feature fabric as a runner. You can also see how a string of matching baubles and paper lanterns can dress up a table.

It’s good to buy a couple of metres of each chosen fabric to use throughout your display and main table. Here I used a narrow strip as a runner on our dining table to bring continuity to the theme. 

One of our family traditions is to give each guest a Darrell Lea nougat pudding for Christmas. They are sooo delicious, and such a treat. I always wrap one for each place setting and label them with handmade tags. For this theme I used fabric strips as ribbons to tie around the boxes.

As I mentioned in my Lavender & Lace wedding post, one of my signature styling elements is using marquee light letters on my dessert tables. I’m pretty crazy about them. All you need to do is change the fabric to match any theme you have. This is the beauty of using fabric as your inspiration source. There are countless ways you can include it to bring cohesion to your display.

Well, there you have it. Our pastel , I mean bright Christmas dessert table. I hope you enjoyed a little peak into our family celebration. With only three weeks until the happy day, I need to get cracking with this year’s plans. About now my girls usually beg me to do a red and green Christmas theme and last year forced me to buy a green Christmas tree (!) to replace the really cool dark purple one I found a few years ago. What is that!? What’s not to love about a purple Christmas tree? Seriously. I think it’s fabulous, but apparently it isn’t, so I finally succumbed to family pressure and (gasp) bought a traditional green tree. (Can you feel my disappointment?) 

Sooo, this year, I am biting the bullet and have chosen very traditionally…..wait for it….red and green checked tartan. I know. Aren’t you proud of me? (applause please). I’m pretty impressed myself. I found some gorgeous tartan in Spotlight, and have a few old plaid tins and thermoses, so you’d better watch this space! 

See you next week. xx

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