Good afternoon my dears.
Today, my post is a means to preserve our Christmastime memories, and to look back at the highlights of 2016, before moving forward onto 2017.
Christmas Tree Lighting
One sentiment we say every year is "we love where we live." We live in a small town outside of Charlotte, North Carolina and every year they have a hometown holiday Christmas tree lighting. The local radio station plays Christmas songs, Santa greets all the children, and two snow machines (from a movie set) make fake snow. In all my Christmases in the South I have yet to have a white Christmas.
Beforehand, we went to the Matthews United Methodist Church's annual WTB (Walk Through Bethlehem). They transform the church into a journey through Jerusalem to tell the story of the birth of Jesus Christ.
Singing Christmas Tree
We enjoy going on date nights into the city. A few weekends ago we attended the 62nd annual Singing Christmas Tree performed by Carolina Voices and beforehand went for dinner at The Asbury.
The restaurant is located inside the Dunhill Hotel, which is on the register of Historic Hotels in America. They serve up southern classics - like my biscuits and gravy, but in a modern way.
On Christmas Eve we attended the earlier, children's candlelight service at Matthews United Methodist Church. Afterwards, we made our traditional Chicken Gloria and watched two of our favorite Christmas childhood movies: Home Alone and Home Alone II.
3rd Annual Christmas at Biltmore
One of our favorite traditions is celebrating the holidays at Biltmore. It's the largest house in America, and there's always so much to see, and do. We usually dine at the Deerpark on Christmas Day, but this year we decided to try the Bistro (a favorite of ours) for our lunch.
Our starter was potato gnocchi with wild mushrooms, cured egg yolk, brussel sprouts, and sherry vinaigrette.
Our main was roasted duck breast with duck sausage, stewed cannellinis, toasted bread crumbs, grilled endive, and lemon.
I had figgy pudding for dessert, and my hubby had this mascarpone cheesecake with gingerbread crumble, roasted pears, and spiced caramel.
The weather has been unseasonably warm this winter, and Christmas Day was no exception. So we took advantage of the weather, and went for a walk around the village, before heading up to the Inn on Biltmore estate.
Views of the Blue Ridge Mountains from the Inn.
While sipping on complementary warm apple cider and eggnog, we went to sit down on some comfy chairs and met an older man from Chapel Hill, North Carolina. His family had gone for an after dinner walk, so we visited with him for awhile. What I remember most about our talk was his awe, and wanderlust. He complimented everyone from the piano player, to the wait staff and gave us firm handshakes after we got up to go see Santa.
This Santa was the sweetest one we've ever met. We watched children happily sit on Santa's lap as he wished them a Merry Christmas and each one got a present and a hug.
We felt so blessed to share this day with so many others. Seeing the children's eyes light up when they saw Santa, couples playing card and board games, families and friends having conversations by the fire, and inviting everyone else to join them.
Since we exchanged gifts with my mum, and sister during their visit we decided to forgo more presents at Christmas (we have everything we already need) and instead decided to donate to a local charity called Pat's Place, which is a local child advocate agency.
On Boxing Day, we did what we do every year - we went to Baxter Village, to have a British style lunch at the Six Pence Pub. I had the bangers and mash, and my hubby had the cottage pie. Traditionally, we also watch the Queen's Speech, and President's Address also on this day.
Bye Bye 2016
This year for New Years went to Phillip's Place, to have dinner at PFChangs and watch the movie Why Him? At dinner we reflected on 2016.
Highlights of 2016
2nd Annual Valentines at Ballantyne
The Book of Mormon on Broadway
A Daytrip to Newberry, South Carolina
3rd Annual Easter at Biltmore
Richmond, Virginia to see my college friend, Rachel
Washington DC to see my college roommate, Lauren
Queen Elizabeth II's 90th Birthday Tea
Cousin Samantha's Liberty University Graduation
Met Author Susan Branch
Celebrated The Fourth at Lake Lure
3rd Wedding Anniversary at Duke Mansion
Sold Our First House in Richland, Washington
Said Goodbye to my childhood cat, Cara
Labor Day Weekend (6 years since our first date) in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
Celebrated my hubby's 35th Birthday
Carolinas Aviation Museum 'Home of Miracle on The Hudson'
Family-Filled Thanksgiving and Early Christmas. Part One, Part Two (part three and four still to come)
3rd Annual Christmas at Biltmore
2017, you have big shoes to fill!
Blessings to you, and yours in 2017