Since I have yet to begin decorating for Christmas, my sweet sister-in-law Susie was kind enough to "loan" me pictures from her table that's all set and ready for her annual Christmas dinner party this Sunday. This is the same Susie that some of you have read about on Laurie's blog. She's so talented that it makes me tired just trying to keep up with her, so I don't even try.
Tommy and Susie have been hosting a Christmas dinner party for their friends for a lot of years. Each year Susie comes up with a different theme and begins accumulating things to use sometimes a year in advance. Ideas sometimes come from some hot new Christmas item from Target or Pottery Barn or elsewhere, and the call will go out to snatch up stuff when it goes on sale so that she can put it away for next year.
This year's theme is "Ring the Bells," inspired by Henry Wadsworth Longfellow's carol "I Heard the Bells on Christmas Day." Sad over the death of his wife and the wounding of his son in the Civil War, Longfellow sat at his desk one day, heard the church bells ringing. Filled with new hope, he penned the poem that later became the famous carol.
The invitations went out several weeks ago. Obviously her guests know the routine, since they are instructed to "Bring the usual." Shortly after mailing her invitations, Susie found a basket on her front porch containing a box of Hostess Ding Dongs with instructions to serve them for dessert.
When the guests arrive Sunday evening, they will be greeted at the front door by a simple green wreath enhanced with a mercury glass bell and tied with silver ribbon. The theme is carried into the dining room, where greenery and more bells adorn the chandelier.
Chair backs are tied with a sheer bow that compliments the color of the dining room walls, and more mercury glass bells add a bit of glitz.
The centerpiece is a collection of bells in all shapes and sizes, surrounding a large creamy pillar.
Susie has set the table with her Spode Christmas tree china, using a combination of the traditional green trimmed plates and ones with a floral border. It appears that each guest will take home a favor with the women getting Travis Cottrell's "Ring the Bells" CD and the men a copy of "I Heard the Bells on Christmas Day" so they can make their own music.
Finally, each guest will open a special Christmas cracker. I wonder what prize they'll find inside. Something small and fun, I'm sure, but the biggest prize of all will be enjoying a great evening in the company of longtime friends.
Now since you've probably finished all of your Christmas decorating, you can head over to Susan's at Between Naps on the Porch. But if you're like me, and haven't even started getting the boxes out of the attic or up from the basement, you're sure to find all sorts of inspiration in the ideas bloggers are sharing.