Monday, January 2, 2023

In-Between Week

The week between Christmas and New Year's is one of my favorites. Things calm down -- and even if they don't quite calm down, it's a gentler, more relaxed feeling. A good time for naps, tidying up, quieter gatherings with friends and looking forward to a new year. 


In our case, it involved saying goodbye to Rick's mom as we met up with Rick's brother and his wife, where she would spend the next few days, our annual Christmas song celebration, a quick hug with an old friend and lots of rest!


Our Song Celebration is always fun and I've written about it before -- Jan and I pick a holiday song and, with a $25 budget per couple, exchange gifts that somehow connect to the song. This year the song was "Santa Baby" and believe me, neither of us were planning to give the other a sable coat, a platinum mine, a duplex or checks! Even baubles from Tiffany's were out of the question! But more on that later! First, the food!


For appetizers we enjoyed spiced nuts, shrimp cocktail and the very easy holiday appetizer my friend Anne introduced me to at Cork Poppers. Shape a block of cream cheese into a Christmas tree by flattening it out a bit with your palm and pressing it into a triangle with a base. Add a good layer of pesto -- I think this one used about a half cup. Add dried cranberries or cherries as "ornaments" and scatter a few almonds, including making an almond star. A few pecans made the trunk. Then gently top with "snow" -- shredded parmesan. Easier than a cheese ball and just as tasty!

Our dinner was super easy and delicious -- ham, potatoes, glazed carrots and a wonderful orange/fennel salad provided by Jan. I did the carrots earlier and just heated them up, along with the pre-cooked spiral ham. I wanted to enjoy time with our friends and not be standing over the stove!


Then it was time for pulling the Christmas crackers, donning the crowns and reading the bad jokes in the crackers. 

On to the gift exchange! And what did we find? Well, both of us thought of Chex cereal (mixed or otherwise) in place of checks, angel ornaments (ornaments and angels are referred to in the song) and "buffalo checks" -- they picked a wine bag/pouch combo and I had some cute checked socks. I found some moon sand (sable lumina) for the sable; they found Hershey kisses, which connected to the "kisses" in the song -- and they were in Santa hats, which was even cuter! Jan found socks of Santa in a chimney for me that say "I've been good-ish this year." All in all a hit!


We've been doing this for 20 years now and so Jan and I decided we needed to do something special to celebrate. We "drew" the "Santa Baby" song from a selection of others, most of which we'd done in the past. So, we decided to do karaoke to some of those songs! She and I started out with a duet of "Santa Baby." Then it was the guys turn.


They got "Santa Claus is Comin' to Town" and did an admirable job! (A video was taken but I'll never share!)


"Rockin' Around the Christmas Tree" got us all up and dancing during the instrumental break. The photo is bad but you can tell there was a lot of fun to be had!

All good things come to an end and so did our year. After the fun the night before, we were both tuckered out on New Year's Eve and dropped into bed around ten! New Year's Day was a lazy one but I finally got into a some painting. I'd been doing an online workshop with Este MacLeod in December and had to catch up on a lot. This is the start of an unfinished project -- the base for a wreath that will have layered watercolor baubles added to it. I'll share the finished project when it's done! (I love her classes, by the way. She stretches me and gets me out of my artistic comfort zone.)


Friends Dick and Judy dropped by for a quick hug. All three of us (and Rick) had been dealing with colds or bugs over the holiday so we kept it short and outside.

But it was good to see these dear friends who have moved a few hours away.

So for us all in this new year, I wish the joys of friendship and the brightness and magic that one finds in the glow of holiday lights.


I wish for us to discover the wonderful array of things our world has to offer, whether it is through the pages of the book, a walk at your favorite spot or someplace new or traveling, be it near or far.

I wish for us all to have a bit of adventure, stepping out of our comfort zones, whether it is through a creative endeavor or something more out of the box. (But no, I will not add zip-lining to my 2023 desires.)


I wish for us to all find kindness in the world -- and to provide that kindness to others.

And I wish for simple pleasures. The hug of a child. The purr of a cat. The sound of waves as they crash into the shore or a gentle rainfall on the roof. The sweetness of an unexpected treat, like a nutty chocolate-caramel covered apple while you savor a favorite movie, side by side with someone you love.

 

I wish you peace and joy. 


The new year has started! Let's make it a good one.

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61 comments:

Carol @Comfort Spring Station said...

You had an amazing week with family and friends. Rest up and paint when you can!

Beatrice P. Boyd said...

Thanks for sharing the details on what looked and was surely a wonderful gathering of good food, friends and great fun, Jeanie. I especially enjoyed reading your wishes for 2023, so many good ones there, and kindness and wonder are goals of mine even more. Thanks for sharing your passions and life with us through your blog posts. Sending all the best to you and Rick for a happy and healthy New Year๐ŸŽ‰๐Ÿฅ‚.

It's me said...

Am I the first one ? … Happy new year !…thanks for your blogfriendship…may youhave a wonderful year…love Ria and Leaf ๐Ÿ€❤️๐Ÿพ๐Ÿ€

Rita said...

How much fun was that!! I totally agree with you on appreciating all the little things. They are what have kept me going through 2022--lol! Now I hope even more so over 2023!! Going to be a good year. :) :) Happy 2023, Jeanie!!

Carole @ From My Carolina Home said...

What a fun post, full of love and laughter - just what the holidays are all about. I won't be zip-lining either, LOL!! Happy New Year!

Mae Travels said...

Your very wonderful “adventures” with friends and family are a pleasure to read. I hope 2023 continues to be as good as the week between the holidays.

best… mae at maefood.blogspot.com

Rustic Pumpkin said...

Happy New Year to you and Rick. To be honest, I'll be glad to get back to normal after today. I'm not sure what day of the week it is, I've already called it Tuesday several times and it's actually still Monday. It's what happens though, isn't it? LOL. Like you, I won't be adding zip lining to any lists of things to do, nor will I be adding para sailing or that thing where you sleep in a hammock over a canyon on nothing more than a piece of rope.

Divers and Sundry said...

What fun! And a cute song to try to connect gifts to lol I love your snow people dinner ware. I appreciate your wish for simple pleasures, peace, and joy :) May these abound!

gigi-hawaii said...

What a pretty table setting! You seem to have such a great life in Michigan - filled with fun, food, and laughter.

Valerie-Jael said...

And a good time was had by all! What a fun party you organized, it musyt have been great! Hugs, Valerie

Ricki Treleaven said...

I always enjoy reading about your song parties. :D No zip lining??? There are some fun ones in Birmingham....close to downtown (down Red Mountain) believe it or not!

I like all the time between Christmas Day and Epiphany. We're still in Christmas mode around here and will be until the start of Carnival, or Mardi Gras. That's what I get for marrying someone from New Orleans! :P

Happy New Year!!!

anno said...

To me, it looks like you've been enjoying the advent of the new year in perfect style. Thanks for your beautiful wishes for all of us -- and to you, the same: warmth, light, love, creative adventures. Happy New Year!

DUTA said...

May kindness prevail everywhere (the world has become a wicked place)!
May we have good health as this will allow us fun, little pleasures and a worthy life!
Wishing you and Rick a wonderful 2023!

Olka said...

For me it's not that relaxing. Always I have to calm down after winter holidays. And it's already rush before the new year. But this year I focused on sleeing, because recently I'm not sleeping well. And I liked it.

The apetizer looks delicious :)
And it's creative. I wish I could bake/cook like this :D
The whole party you had sounds like a fun. I'm happy you had a great time :)

I wish you everything the best for the new year.

Olka said...

For me it's not that relaxing. Always I have to calm down after winter holidays. And it's already rush before the new year. But this year I focused on sleeing, because recently I'm not sleeping well. And I liked it.

The apetizer looks delicious :)
And it's creative. I wish I could bake/cook like this :D
The whole party you had sounds like a fun. I'm happy you had a great time :)

I wish you everything the best for the new year.

Hena Tayeb said...

Looks like you had the most splendid time.

Bill said...

It's all about friends and family. What a great curtain call for ending the year. The best for the new year, happiness and health for everyone.

Hena Tayeb said...

Looks like you had a splendid time.

Pat @ Mille Fiori Favoriti said...

Jeanie, Happy New Year!

I pinned that Christmas Tree cream cheese appetizer so I can make it next year--it looks so festive!

I'm glad you were able to visit with friends and relax a bit and welcome in the new year with a nice celebration. We leave everything decorated until after Little Christmas --January 6th--and then our house looks so empty afterward. Snowstorms here are keeping us in shape with shoveling. Looking forward to a good year ahead!

Sandi said...

"orange/fennel salad"

This sounds delicious! Do you share the recipe?

Peace and joy to you and yours too. ๐ŸŽŠ

roentare said...

Wonderful narrative of your festive family union and the creative display of Christmas dinner!

My name is Erika. said...

I hope you have a wonderful new year also. 2023-wow! The hubby and I went out for a delicious Italian food lunch on New Years Eve day and then hung home watching Treason on Netflix. It's a pretty good British/American CIA drama. Your get together with Rick's brother looks like lots of fun. I love your fun gift exchange based on a song. And agreed, the week between the 2 holidays is always relaxing and fun. And it's over too-already. I hope the first week of the new year starts off in a good way. hugs-Erika

Marilyn Miller said...

Your tree appetizer looks delicious.
What a fun, friend gathering!!
So glad you could also see dear friends, though outdoors; and then get some painting in too. So very special.

Susan Kane said...

What a layout! Your table setting is marvelous.

Susan Kane said...

You had a spread going for your group!

William Kendall said...

Sounds like you had fun.

Carola Bartz said...

I love, love, love your holiday song celebration - what a fantastic and fun idea! This is one of the best things I have heard about Christmas. Like you I love the week between Christmas and New Year's (inGermany we call it "between the years") - my husband is off work and we just spend quiet time together. It was raining almost the entire week (thankfully! we need it), so we stayed inside, reading, decluttering, watching movies and taking naps. It was very peaceful.
I wholeheartedly second your list of wishes for 2023.

Debra@CommonGround said...

Looks like so much fun. Your cream cheese Christmas tree looks delish! You're so fortunate to have good and longlasting friends. Sounds like your new year is off to a great start!

Iris Flavia said...

You do so many fun things!!!
Yummy Christmas tree again, oh, it looks sooo good!
We even failed on Christmas Crackers (to be honest I didn´t see any here! In Perth we always do this).
Fun those paper-hats haven´t changed :-)
Oh you sure had a party there! I could (!) be a tad jealous ;-)
Your art is formidable again.
Colds love it this time, huh?
Ohhhh, that phone booth! So cute!
We have a "real" one for books here. And Big Bird!!!
Pizza? (Kidding)
To peace and joy, dear Jeanie!

Joyful said...

Sounds like you had a wonderful time with family and friends. Your house looks very cosy. I agree that the time between Christmas an New Year's is a wonderful time. I always like a chance to get organized for the month of January, get things tidied and rest a bit or at least take my time tidying up and putting away the decor. I like to take mine down once New Year's Day is done even though I know many leave the decorations up until the epiphany. I need these extra days just to get myself organized otherwise I might never do it. I'm leaving a long comment. I think I've finally managed to unblock the cookies that was preventing me from leaving comments everywhere. I don't know why it didn't work the first, second or third times I tried to it but at least it's working now. Happy New Year to you and Rick. All best wishes to the two of you and to all your family.

Joyful said...

P.S. (No need to publish this comment)...I'm still getting the "Oops Error Message" whenever I submit a comment for your review and approval. I wish I knew how to fix this one. Grrr.

eileeninmd said...

Hello Jeanie,
What fun holiday celebrations with your friends. Love your tree ornaments, the Santa socks are cute. The tree appetizer looks tasty! Wishing a very Happy New Year to you and your family!

ashok said...

Yes, the week between Christmas to NY is my fav too :) looks like you had a great week !

David M. Gascoigne, said...

It's a bit of a clichรฉ I know, but if everyone would commit to performing a single random act of kindness every day, the world would be a much better place. That's a New Year's resolution that should not be hard to keep.

Anvilcloud said...

You seem to have the magic hostess touch, and that song thing looks like a whole bunch of fun.

Rita C at Panoply said...

What a great week you had! I love your song tradition, well played. Hey, you can make the Christmas tree cream without mashing & shaping - just cut the block at a diagonal and turn it into a triangle (thank you, Mary at Home Is Where the Boat Is!). Your decoration of the tree looks fab and sounds tasty. Wishing us all a good year, with good health at the top of the wish list !

Nancy said...

A good time was had by all! Your table was beautifully set. I enjoyed all the Christmas ornaments and your tree!
I love your Santa Socks… I did not get any this year!
Happy New Year my friend!

La Table De Nana said...

I don't think you had time for naps:). Hohoho you have such a rich circle of numerous friends:) Happy New Year !

Tammie Lee said...

Sounds like the two of you couples have a lot of fun together. Traditions can add something special to life. Happy New Year.

shoreacres said...

That wreath you painted looks perfect to me, just as it is. No baubles needed!
Like you, I love the week between Christmas and New Year's Day, but I'm ready to go back to work today -- once the fog and mist go away!

Linda @ Life and Linda said...

Lovely gathering. Your tree is lovely. Santa socks are so cute. Happy New year!

Lisa from Lisa's Yarns said...

What a fun tradition for you all! I love that it's been going for 20 years. I heard on a podcast this week that one of the single most important things for longevity in life is personal connections/relationships. I am glad that you can enjoy friendships and seeing people in person after a couple of very quiet years. There is nothing like getting together with friends and having a blast!!

I hope that 2023 is a wonderful year for you!

Joanne Huffman said...

It sounds like you had a wonderful in-between week. Mine was spent watching Daphne as Annie started her new job - very joyful; but not restful. I started the New Year by driving down to Florida; so I'm counting that as an adventure.

Salty Pumpkin Studio said...

Reading about folks gathering, dancing, singing, engaged in sharing is even brighter on the heart that they've been doing so for years. Now about holdi g back the videos...๐Ÿคฃ

Polly said...

What a great time you have had Jeanie. I love your tree decorations and your cheese tree is amazing :-)

Prims By The Water said...

My in between week just means less work for me as most of my customers are out of their offices. Happy New Year! Janice

Red Rose Alley said...

The cream cheese Christmas tree looks delicious. The red plaid socks are calling my name. They look comfy and cozy. What a fun get together you had, and the table setting is cute with the snowman plates and snow globe. Although I put away all my Christmas stuff, it was really nice to see your beautiful tree still up and showing its pretty colored lights. Your trees always make me smile and warm my heart, Jeanie.

I hope the new year has been good to you so far.

~Sheri

Lowcarb team member said...

Great post.
What a wonderful time you had.

I agree with your words, "The new year has started! Let's make it a good one."

My good wishes for 2023 to you, Rick your family and friends.

All the best Jan

Gill - That British Woman said...

what a lovely post. Really liked the Christmas song idea. Happy New Year to you.

Amy at Ms. Toody Goo Shoes said...

I love the Song Celebration idea - such fun and so creative! Your list of wishes for the new year is just beautiful. (No zip line for me, either!)

DVArtist said...

What a lovely week. May it continue.

Deb Nance at Readerbuzz said...

Your gift exchange tied to a song is a fun tradition.

I hope all your wishes come true.

Yvonne said...

Love all the many photos. May you have a very good New Year!

Karen Wirth said...

I love your wreath painting.
Happy to have the hoopla behind us. Winter weather is still holding off for the most part. It will come eventually, won't it?

Veronica Lee said...

Love your fun post, Jeanie. Such a pleasure to read!

And thank you for your beautiful wishes for all of us.

Wishing you a wonderful 2023 filled with lots of blessings and joy!

Fundy Blue said...

What a heart-warming joy-filled post, Jeanie! I loved your vibrant photos and the fun traditions you shared. The simple pleasures are always the best. Your Christmas tree is lovely, and it brought back memories of stringing popcorn for our outside "bird tree." Dad always hung long chains of small glass balls like the one I spotted on your tree. I still have a blue chain and a gold one. I dearly love Christmas through Old Christmas, and it's obvious that you love the season too. Wishing you all the best in 2023!

Anca said...

It seems you've had a wonderful time. I loved seeing all the pictures. Happy New Year!

gluten Free A_Z Blog said...

A really lovely post. I especially love the snowmen plates and the appetizer that looks like a tree. Wishing you and happy new year.

Victoria Zigler said...

Glad you were able to visit with friends, even if some of it needed to be outside just to be safe.

I love your song gift exchange parties. And I think the cheese Christmas trees sound adorable.

thepaintedapron.com said...

Fun post Jeanie, your tradition of gift giving from a song inspiration is so fun! I love your wished for the new year too!
Jenna

Pamela said...

What a great themed event with your friends!

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