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“On Christmas Eve, my family would dress up to go to church or midnight mass,” Stephanie says. “After we got home we each got to choose one present to open. Then we would open everything else on Christmas morning and just go crazy. Christmas stockings were really important to my family; now, at 33, they still are for me.”
And what might one find in those stockings?
“Maybe chocolate or a pen or stationery. I probably shouldn’t say this, but…panties,” she says, laughing.
Stephanie also has extra-special memories of New Year’s – her birthday is Jan. 1.
Lynne, who doubles as Sedona Monthly’s style consultant, was an only child growing up on the east coast, and she remembers Christmas as an especially exciting time of the year. She and her parents would decorate the tree on Christmas Eve. Her parents then would get dressed up to go out, and she would secretly open one present and rewrap it before they returned. But her best holiday memory occurred after she got married.
“I would ask each friend I would visit at Christmas if I could have one ornament off their tree,” Lynne says. “Each year when I would put up my own Christmas tree with all my traditional ornaments from my childhood, I would also put up all my friends’ ornaments and it would remind me of each one of them.”
Lynne’s favorite New Year’s Eve celebrations include spending the millennium in Washington, D.C.; gathering with friends at El Tovar in the Grand Canyon; and a decadent, black-tie party shared with a small group of people.
Preparing for Hanukkah
The Jewish holiday of Hanukkah, the Festival of Lights, is symbolized by the menorah. For eight nights, candles are lit and glow in these beautiful holders. The Flame- worked Glass Menorah designed as a multicolored “Rainbow Tree of Life,” is available in Sedona at Scherer Gallery (www. scherergallery.com; 800-957-2673). Crafted by Bandhu Scott Dunham, Salusa Glassworks Inc. of Prescott, it’s made of heat-resistant borosilicate, and stands 14 inches tall by 9 inches wide by 10 inches deep.
Five Tips for Tree Trimmers
• Southwestern weather tends to dry out live trees quickly, so consider an artificial one. Good ones are very lifelike, and they are often discounted at post-holiday sales.
• Add life to your tree by decorating with natural elements such as poinsettias and berries.
• Collect ornaments on your family vacations and hang them to bring back shared memories from fun trips.
• Pick out a special ornament for your child each year so they can begin their own collection.
• Decorate with a theme. Stephanie’s mother-in-law has a Santa Claus tree she adds to each year with ornaments from all over the world. Lynne fondly recalls a “nature tree” with bird ornaments and related elements.
Whether you’re preparing a table for Thanksgiving, Christmas, Hanukkah, or New Year’s, a festive centerpiece provides a warm visual cue for a wonderful meal. A few ideas are pictured at right. Try small groupings of candles, or even one large candle (possibly with multiple wicks); colorful glass stones provide a touch of whimsy and sparkle; for a modern approach – a.k.a., “rustic bling” (see below) – fill a large bowl with bright ornaments of different sizes, shapes and textures. Bowls of fruit add color and call to mind seasonal harvests – try bright green Oak Creek apples.