Tag Archives: christmas

The Art of a Southern Holiday Season

Curating a southern holiday season is a true art form. The American South, like most other parts of the world, is deeply rooted in culture and traditions- many revolving around the holiday season! Below are a few ways to insure a Southern Holiday Season!

Magnolia Garland
Magnolias are already a southern staple when it comes to greenery, and their leaves are perfect for southern Christmas decor. Magnolia leaves are deep green, shiny, and will keep for the duration of the holidays! I’m hoping to make either a magnolia garland or wreath this week!

When South Carolinian Joel Roberts Poinsett served as the Ambassador to Mexico in the early 1800’s, he fell in love with the classic Christmas plant. He immediately shipped some home to South Carolina, where they were eventually named after him. Poinsettas are used to warm weather, so they’re perfect for our mild southern winters.

cocktail 1Polite Drunkenness
If there is ever a time to indulge, this is it! With all the parties and holiday gatherings, you’re likely to encounter an eggnog or two. Or hot toddy. Or mulled wine. Or spiked cider. Take your pick, really. While it’s appropriate to have a drink or two, keep it classy and don’t get smashed! We are southern ladies and gentlemen, after all.  😉

Cookie Exchanges
Cookie exchanges are one of my favorite holiday traditions. In my life I’ve mostly experienced them in the context of church lady Christmas parties (my favorite!). Cookie exchanges are a great way to experience a variety of holiday treats, while only having to make 1!

apple sauce 2Apple Butter
While apple butter originated in Europe hundreds of years ago, in America it’s a southern tradition. Made by reducing apples and spices, apple butter is spread on biscuits, served over meat, and added to baking items – my favorite being apple butter donuts. My mother makes apple butter every holiday season and throughout the year!

New Years Superstitions
This is one tradition I’ve been known to skip on occasion. It’s customary to cook a southern feast on New Years Day consisting of black-eyed peas, greens, ham, and cornbread. Consuming this meal on New Year’s Day is said to bring good luck and fortune to the new year!

What customs and traditions do you believe are required for a southern holiday season?

2015 Christmas Tree

tree 4tree 7You can learn a lot about a person by their Christmas tree. There are fancy trees, country trees, silly trees. Trees that reflect a person’s interests and hobbies. Tall trees, fluffy trees – you get the idea. For example, my parent’s tree is decked out in colored lights and filled with handmade ornaments by me and my sister, ornament gifts from family and friends, and ornament representation of our hobbies throughout the years – bicycles, ballerinas, etc.
The first year we were married Ray and I bought a real tree. It was small, sweet, and smelled amazing. However, it was expensive, messy, and dried out relatively quickly. The following year we had Black Cat and decided to go with a small artificial table top tree. That tree worked well for the last few years, but we still wanted something a little bigger.  A few weeks ago we were looking at trees and saw a 6.5 white beauty that we both really liked! The price was great so we got it!
I love the look of white Christmas trees. They have a vintage feel (which is definitely us) and the ornaments really stand out. Most of our ornaments are either from childhood, handmade, or vintage. Here are some of my favorites!tree 2tree 1tree 6tree 3tree 5tree 8Our tree isn’t perfectly curated and it doesn’t belong in a magazine… but I’ve never loved a Christmas tree more!

Christmas Update

dec 13 1Seasonal blog posts I wanted to write about but didn’t due to the time constraints of working, hospital-ing and Christmas-ing:
– Shepherds being my favorite part of the Christmas story
– My favorite DIY Christmas gifts to give/recieve
– My family’s Christmas vs. Ray’s family Christmas and how we get the best of both worlds
– My aversion to most radio Christmas songs vs. my love for holy Christmas songs
– Holiday nail art
– Holiday stress

Ray and I had such a sweet and wonderful Christmas. We spent the morning with my family and the afternoon/evening with Ray’s family. We exchanged gifts, visited with relatives and ate delicious food. Because Ray is still recovering from his surgery, we made a point to move slow, literally and figuratively. We spent time together, just the two of us, to exchange gifts and hang out after a long day. We’re both tired and looking forward to a weekend of relaxing.

Highlights/lowlights of the day:
– My mom gave Ray her classical guitar! So sweet!
– Delicious food including monkey bread, mimosas, cookie butter truffles and buffalo chicken dip!
– I left my purse at my parents house with my licence and Ray’s pain medicine. We didn’t notice until we were in Live Oak at Ray’s parent’s house. Booo.
– Justin’s dog, Chief, peed on the Christmas tree. I personally thought this was hilarious. I mean, it is a tree…

We hope you had a Merry Christmas!

December Update

IMG_9974IMG_9976IMG_9977IMG_9975It’s really nice to welcome these guys back into the public. I’m not brave enough to put our vintage ornaments on our tree this because I don’t trust Black Cat to understand they’re decorations and not new toys. In the future I hope to buy an extra large real tree, but for now our small faux tree works.
December has been a hard month so far. We opened the month with a major surgery (which went well, btw) followed by a week recovering in the hospital. More recovery happening at home.  Close friends of ours suffered a loss in late November, which broke our hearts. Both of us have been feeling under the weather and neither of us have been sleeping well. Also, the Christmas season can be a tad stressful, don’t you think? Not to be a huge downer, but the first half of December has just been really rough.
Despite all that I just said, I think this December will end well. 2014 will be redeemed. I’m looking forward to a few quiet nights spending time with the ones I love, remembering this year and reflecting on the advent season.

Cooking with Alli: Sweet Potato Casserole

sp3I’m not sure who made the decision to consider sweet potato casserole a side rather than a dessert, but I would like to thank them. Seriously though, sweet potatoes are the best! This recipe came from my grandmother and was a huge hit at all my thanksgiving events! I’m a southern lady and in the south we top our sweet potato casseroles with butter, brown sugar and pecans… but, if you would like to add some marshmellows into the mix be my guest!

Here’s what you need:
3 c. mashed sweet potatoes or sweet potato puree
1/2 c sugar
1 T. vanilla
8 oz. cream cheese
2 eggs
dash of saltsp 2

I like to make my own mashed sweet potatoes. To do this I chopped 4 large sweet potatoes into 5 or 6 peices each and boiled them until they were fork-tender. You could also bake them in the oven. Next, mash away! Let mashed sweet potatoes cool and add in the rest of your ingredients. Put mixture into a casserole dish. Now for the good stuff…sp 1

1 c chopped pecans
1 c. crushed corn flakes
1/2 – 3/4 c brown sugar
1/2 c (1 stick) melted butter

Mix the first 3 ingredients and put on top of sweet potatoes.  Drizzle  melted butter over top.  Bake 35 minutes at 350 degrees.  Make sure the center is done and
not jiggly! Enjoy!