I absolutely love entertaining this time of year. I decorate my house immediately following Thanksgiving and start planning Christmas get-togethers. My place is pretty small so it does not take long to hang the stockings by the chimney with care, so to speak. My favorite part about Christmas decorating is hanging the ornaments on the tree. Every ornament on my tree means something to me. I love pulling them out of the box and thinking about who gave it to me, where I was when I bought it, or the memories it invokes.
Years ago I started buying ornaments as my souvenir whenever I was traveling. I used to travel a lot with my job and I went to some fun places. In fact, I was lucky enough to travel to six continents. Buying an ornament in each place was the perfect thing to do because they were affordable, small, and easy to bring home. When I got home I would write when and where I got it on the bottom of the ornament.
Here are some of my favorites.
A tangoing couple from a trip to Buenos Aires
The first ornament I remember on my personal Christmas tree in my bedroom as a little girl.
Every year my mom gives me the Hallmark Noelville light up Gingerbread House ornament. I love these because you just pop in the tree light and do not have to pull out the bulb.
Mom has also given me the Swarovski snowflake ornament for the last 12 years. I love the sparkle they add to my tree.
There were times that I was not able to find an actual ornament so I settled with a keychain. Hey, if it hangs on the tree, I say it counts.
This particular keychain was from a trip to South Africa. I absolutely had to get it because of this guy that I met on the road while I was there. Hey buddy!
I guess sometimes the ornaments don’t have a meaning; I just think they are cute.
I also seem to have a lot of ornaments that fall into the tropical/sparkly/pink category.
When I have Christmas get-togethers at my house I usually serve a variety of appetizers rather than a full meal. The key is to have a few appetizers that are easy to throw together or that could be made ahead of time. This year I plan on including roasted vegetable dip, manchego cheese with brown butter honey sauce, rosemary cocktail nuts, Scottish oatcakes, and prosciutto wrapped breadsticks in the menu because they are all so easy and delicious.
I will also be making goat cheese with cranberries and pistachios. It does not get any easier than this…. You just cover a 4 oz log of goat cheese with chopped dried cranberries and chopped pistachios and serve it with crackers. It takes minutes to make and looks so festive! It is easy to keep the ingredients on hand in case you have some unexpected visitors stop by. That is why goat cheese with cranberries and pistachios is the Perfect Pairing for holiday parties!