A Christmas Tradition {AYE Styled Shoot}

Christmas waves a magic wand over this world, and behold everything is softer and more beautiful.
— Norman Vincent Peale

Years ago, my sweet best friends and I put in place the tradition of an annual Christmas dinner in an effort to bring us together during what is quite possibly the busiest time of the year.  It’s funny.  We typically associate Christmas with an abundance of parties, cozy gatherings and general togetherness. But I have found that as I get older and the years pass, the amount of togetherness decreases and the amount of time I spend hustling and bustling seems to increase exponentially. And so this little tradition we continuously keep is meant to combat that, and bring us back to each other, no matter where we are in our lives.

Courtesy of Samantha Altieri Design

Courtesy of Samantha Altieri Design

This year, it was my turn to host our intimate little gathering.  And since Christmas is such an enchanting time of year, I decided to incorporate lots of prettiness and a little bit of magic into the plans and details. We spruced up the Christmas tree with a plethora of gold accents (including a glittery pineapple) and strings of colorful paper tassel garland for a little extra whimsy.  Pretty much every blank space, nook and cranny was filled with candles. Ten-feet of magnolia leaf garland added some serious gorgeousness to the dining room table, making an impact and adding a little bit of rustic elegance to the overall look.  And perhaps my favorite detail of all was the table settings, with the extra touch of gilded deer figurines. Instead of using the standard white bistro, I drove over to my parent’s house, unlocked the hutch and took out my grandmother’s gold rimmed Lenox china and glassware for the first time ever. This china and glassware has been in my family for generations. It’s stunning. And yet we never use it. What I love about this particular detail is that its not just beautiful... it’s meaningful.  

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I made a very simple menu, featuring butternut squash agnolotti with toasted cinnamon sage brown butter and arugula salad with citrus vinaigrette and shaved parmesan.  For dessert, we had white russian sips with toasted marshmallow skewers, fawn and doe cut-out cookies and salted caramel filled cupcakes, topped with a gold star sparkler for a little element of surprise!

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We wrapped up the night around the fireplace participating in our annual yankee swap. Filled with laughter and snuggles with our little niece Reagan (AYE's mascot in the making), we exchanged thoughtful gifts with one another. And like that, another Christmas tradition had come and gone.

I have to say that this sweet little party is something I look forward to all year through, and I hope that even when we are little old sassy ladies, we will find the time every Christmas to stop and enjoy the togetherness.  Merry Christmas, friends! Now shut off your computers, stop shopping and go share the rest of the season with the ones you love.


Photography by Samantha Altieri, Design and Planning by Always Yours Events, Sparklers by Tops Malibu, Paper Flowers by Appetite Paper