It’s Beginning To Look A Little Like Christmas-ish

Well, we have a Christmas tree.


We actually have a live tree this year – our first one in about 12 years – and I am a little fascinated by it. The trunk is very straight, but one section of it is just flat-out unwieldly: branches going in all directions, one wayward branch that’s about a foot and a half longer than anything else on the tree – and I love it. It’s a quirky little tree, full of personality, and I hope that I find it half as charming in about ten days when it will no doubt be dry as a bone.

David put lights on the tree last night, so tonight we focused on the ornaments. Alex helped me get all the boxes out of the closet and unpack everything, and he even jumped in and helped me put the ornaments on the tree because I’m not super confident on my tiptoes and/or step ladders right now. I felt good about what I was able to do on the bottom two-thirds of the tree, though, and our productivity tempered a little of the resentment I’m feeling right now about this big ole boot. I really am grateful for the boot because NO CAST, but I am so sick of the shoe that I’ve been wearing on my healthy foot that it’s almost comical.

All I know is that whenever my ankle is completely healed, I don’t ever want to see the healthy foot shoe again. I may have to set it on fire. Or maybe I’ll run over it. Or maybe I’ll just go drop it in the center of the intersection about 1/2 mile from our house because last year there was a gray tennis shoe that stayed in the middle of that intersection for AT LEAST four months, and every morning Alex and I would look to see if it was still there. I don’t even know why I just told you that, but the bottom line is that healthy foot shoe may have to find another purpose outside of our home after I’m out of the boot. I am grateful for its service, but I don’t ever need to see it again.

My, my, my. I am FULL of Christmas cheer, aren’t I?


Other than the tree and my resentment towards healthy foot shoe, we’re good. I had a phone call this afternoon with Tyndale because the new book comes out in less than two months (the official date is February 2nd, I think), and I can’t even believe it’s almost time. I thought maybe I wouldn’t be as nervous the second time around but NOPE. JUST AS NERVOUS. Maybe even more nervous since this book is more personal. But I keep reminding myself of a couple of months ago when a friend of mine pretty much stuck her finger in my face and said, “You trust Him with it. YOU TRUST HIM WITH IT.” So I am trying to trust Him with it and not get a weird and introspective about the whole thing.


Finally comma I am starting to think about my menu for Christmas day. We don’t normally have turkey or ham on Christmas because, I don’t know, we just don’t, so I usually like to do a pork tenderloin or steaks or some similar form of identifiable meat, as David calls it. Today, however, I had a salad for lunch that made me re-think all of my typical salad goals for a holiday meal, so now I’m thinking about changing my salad and my sides. Just for kicks and fun, you understand. Do any of you have some new (or new-to-me) salad or side ideas that you’d be willing to share? I’m trying to think of things that are a little different from my usual sweet potato casserole / squash casserole / seven layer salad / baby lima beans (well, I have to have baby lima beans or my people will revolt – but I’m all ears for other suggestions).

Hope y’all are having a great week!

  • Twitter
  • Facebook
  • email


  1. We live in S. California and love our Mexican food. Years ago a friend said they have “Meximas”-Mexican food on Christmas. It’s easy, crowd pleasing and there is plenty to feed the crowd. Best decision ever! Green chile burritos, enchiladas, homemade beans & rice, fresh pico de gallo & guacamole are on the menu (and fresh tamales). Can’t wait! Talk about “changing things up”. Merry Christmas!

  2. One Christmas my sisters and other family members and I got tired of the “same ole same ole” and decided to have an International Christmas. We did Mexican (Mexican Fiesta casserole) that is topped with the traditional toppings like sour cream, black olives, guac, etc.; then we had Italian dishes liked Baked ziti and Lasagna; another sister had a Swedish exchange student staying with her that year and he helped her make homemade noodles and his Mama’s Swedish meatballs. My hubby’s made his Dad’s Scottish “mince and taties pie”. It was delish and no one missed the sweet potatoes and green bean casserole!!

  3. I just had to write and tell you I made Uncle Wayne’s (?) white chili tonight and it was delish! My daughter is a high school cheerleader, so we “adopted” as a host family two cheerleaders at our local college whose family lives out of state. All of the churches in our town recruit folks to serve as these local families. Well, my girls are all just precious and tonite, we decorated the tree and then had the chili with cornbread and homemade sea salt caramels for dessert. I’m sitting here now alone, just admiring the tree. And thinking about getting some more chili!!!

  4. I always do old school shrimp cocktails as an appetizer/salad. This year I changed it up by using disposable shot glasses and putting a dab of cocktail sauce in the bottom, a tiny lemon wedge in the middle, and hanging the shrimps tail out over the rim of the glass.

  5. If you have or can get hold of Mark Bittman’s How to Cook Everything, one Christmas I made Mixed Vegetables with Peanut Sauce as a salad option (think I made a few tweaks, but can’t remember – nothing life-altering). It felt like just the right kind of different.

  6. We never do turkey or ham either.  We are a prime rib family–have been for YEARS……and a delicious side are horseradish carrots.  I am not a fan of cooked carrots AT all, but these are devine!

  7. The shoe in the middle of the intersection made my day. Maybe the healthy foot shoe could go out to the curb worn by the tree.

  8. We are GaGa over this salad lately! Super delightful!

  9. We made a picnic lunch and went swimming on Christmas Day, to a pool at one of the Dorms. (this was in Manila, PI…when Barry taught at Faith Academy.). On Christmas Day, the stores pretty much shut down until Jan 6…. So all employees can go out to their Provincial homes….and it gets really quiet. The schools are closed. The Dorm kids go home to where the parents are ministering….the Dorm parents take a long break from Dorm duties. So we would go to the pool and have it all to ourselves. I enjoyed my time there, so far away from home…8 Christmasses in a row! Memories can be made anywhere and with any kind of food, even Tuna Fish Sandwiches!
    Love your regular shoe Sophie. It is keeping you grounded!
    Your friend,
    Bonnie Walker

  10. Christy Jones says:

    Apple casserole with velvetta cheese…..sounds crazy.but it is really good. Message back and I’ll find the recipe….

  11. Sue In FLA says:

    My favorite salad right now is Broccoli Everything. Slice broccoli across the head for small pieces. Use red onion, sliced thin (about half a medium onion), raisins, sunflower seeds, almonds, bacon, and shredded cheddar cheese. I dress it with a half cup of mayonnaise mixed with 2 T. Vinegar and a tablespoon of sugar. I made it yesterday to take with me today for a girls weekend at the beach.

  12. I would help you out with that side dish thing, but I have never had to plan a holiday meal and I don’t do side dishes here at home. I’m a one hit wonder.

    But eeeekkkkk! Not even two more months, I’m so excited!

  13. Pear Cranberry Salad takes lettuce to a whole new level.
    I don’t measure exactly because who has time for that. So just go ahead and throw these things in a big salad bowl.
    Big bag of lettuce
    A couple or 3 pears cut into good size chunks
    A good handful or 2 of dried cranberries
    A good handful of raw or roasted cashews
    Shredded Swiss cheese (as much as you like. I usually uses couple good handfuls as well)
    Creamy Poppyseed dressing – As much as your heart desires. We use about 3/4 of a bottle.
    Toss and serve!

  14. Don’t know how you feel about fruit and jello — seem to remember you once said you didn’t care for jello — or maybe I’m thinking of someone else. Anyway, if the idea of fresh cranberries, apples and oranges chopped and mixed with a little jello sounds interesting just message me and I’ll be glad to share the recipe.

  15. I never comment but I just have to share this copycat Wendy’s salad I’ve been making a lot lately. Sounds a little like the Pear Cranberry Salad above – yum! But you CANNOT leave out the nuts. I don’t even like nuts much, but they are so delicious in this salad.
    Hearts of romaine, shredded or chopped
    Sliced, peeled apples
    Crumbled bacon
    Crumbled bleu cheese
    Dried cranberries
    Sliced chicken breast (optional)
    HONEY-ROASTED PECANS – they must be pecans and they must be honey roasted!
    Raspberry vinegarette

  16. Well your healthy shoe can join mine too! Ugh! Anyhoo- I decided a few years ago to shake up Christmas Dinner and make either standing rib roast or a beef tenderloin. YUM but the best is the roasted red potatoes with parsley! Easy- peasy and so delicious. Publix has my family’s favorite ever salad- the True Blue- it is yum! Hope this helps. Take care!

  17. I hope your foot is soon back to being good as new. No fun limping at Christmas time. How do you’all make your baby lima beans? Merry Christmas to you and yours.

  18. A few years ago we left the traditional turkey/ham/casseroles/sweet potatoes and settled on shrimp cocktail, filet mignon, jumbo stuffed crab Cakes (order online from New England:) The best part – momma doesn’t stay in the kitchen all day and gets to play with Santa toys!!!

  19. I don’t know how this would go over in your neck of the woods, but here in Texas our family’s traditional Christmas meal consists of chili and tamales as the main course. We then fill in with queso and chips, fruit, a veggie tray and whatever else decides to show up on the table! A bonus is that the chili can be made ahead of time…makes Christmas day just a little bit easier!

  20. We trade off every year – sandwich bar with chips and dip, Mexican theme, Italian theme, and this year….DIP themed. Yes, you read that right….dip theme! I’m so excited! :D

  21. Pretzel Salad is a must because it is pretty and so very yummy.
    Or you can borrow my family secret the “Expensive Salad” which it is not but has a long story to go with it. This whipped cream, fruit cocktail etc, but unlike any wc/fc recipe you have ever heard of! Please let us know what you end-up serving.

  22. I made this kale salad for Thanksgiving, and everyone raved over it. it has a lot of great texture with the kale chips, pepitas, pomegranate seeds, and butternut squash. I would definitely recommend it!

  23. This year I’m changing things up and making a Christmas brunch. We travel around for a few days after Christmas Day, and I don’t want to have leftovers sitting around going bad in my refrigerator. I’m going to fry some country ham, make homemade buttermilk biscuits, then add in a hashbrown casserole, scrambled eggs, and maybe some sausage balls or bacon or something.

  24. Spinach salad with craisins, feta, toasted almonds, and balsamic…mmmm :)

  25. Allison Burleson says:

    I am obsessed with joy the baker’s tangerine, kale and avocado salad. I know…it sounds strange, but it is unbelievable. It’s like a second cousin, twice removed to a spinach salad. Seriously good.

  26. After my sweet Me-maw passed away, the family decided to do something different on Christmas Eve rather than the usual “Christmas Dinner”. I mean, nobody could cook as good as Me-maw anyway, so why not??? The first year we had Mexican food (including fried ice cream for dessert!!), then the next year was Italian food. Last year was Kentucky food (country ham & biscuits, grit casserole, Hot Brown… was yummy!) and this year is going to be colors!! Weird, right? At Thanksgiving, we wrote down a bunch of colors on scraps of paper then we all drew a color. That family is responsible for bringing a food that is that color!! My husband and I have pink and yellow. It should be lots of fun to see what kind of smorgasbord we end up with. Thankfully, my uncle is bringing a ham lest we have all sides & desserts and no meat!! :-)

    • A church we used to attend had a winter white dinner one year in January – it was fun to see how many different dishes people came up with that was white. we had quite a variety such as white chili, chicken and pasta dishes, potatoes – a lot of people thought it was weird, but it turned out great. We used to do a different theme every month for Wednesday night dinners. That was one of my favorites.

  27. By Christmas day my sister and I are more than ready to opt for easy. We order a good deli meat and cheese tray, a condiment tray (lettuce, sliced tomatoes,olives, pickles), and a variety of rolls and buns and breads. We each add a salad or two (broccoli, fruit, pasta) and we are good to go. If it’s cold, we might make a soup. Dessert is cookies. We each have a bit more formal Christmas Eve dinner with our respective families so we do not feel badly going casual on the actual day. And really, how formal can we be since our tradition is to watch Christmas Vacation after lunch?

    Now Sophie, as an accompaniment for your tenderloin or steak, let me offer you Hot Corn:

    Heat together:
    1/4 cup milk
    8 oz cream cheese
    1/2 stick butter

    2 jalapenos, seeded and chopped
    3 cans shoe peg corn, drained

    Mix well. Pour into greased 2 qt casserole dish. Top with 1 cup grated cheddar cheese.

    Bake at 350 degrees, uncovered, for 30 minutes.

    To. Die. For.

  28. Sophie,
    I brought this to a work potluck a few weeks ago and every person wanted the recipe! It was wonderful and different without being… weird.

  29. Layered mexican cornbread salad is a hit at my house.

    Layer as much as you want of the following:
    Mexican cornbread crumbled
    lettuce (romaine or red tipped)
    red onion
    black beans (drained)
    whole kernal corn (drained)
    fiesta ranch dressing

    Repeat until all ingredients used up!

  30. Jeannette says:

    I know this is different from everyone else’s suggestions. But we are into lentils this year. Red lentils, green lentils. And fifteen bean soup.

  31. This is my very favorite salad! Afriend shared it with me a few years ago and I’ve been making it ever since. The flavor combo is unusual, but every time I serve it, people ask for the recipe. (If you don’t like blue chesse, omit it. Feta is a good substitute, or you can skip the cheese–but why?! Definitely toss it with dressing before serving.)

  32. I read this post yesterday, and today I saw a shoe in the middle of the street. I immediately thought to myself, “I wonder if that’s someone’s healthy foot shoe.” And then I giggled. =)

  33. I’m really loving autumn salads that have a kale base with some kind of roasted goodness like sweet potatoes or winter squashes. So, so good with a mustardy vinaigrette dressing.

    What I really wanted to comment on is the fact that my favorite part of this whole post was the part where you and Alex looked everyday for that shoe in the intersection. It made me want to write down some sweet memories about my everyday life in this season.

  34. My family ditches turkey/ham for some type of beef on Christmas.
    One of our favorite side dishes is Mushroom Rice.
    1 stick melted butter
    1 cup rice
    2 cans French Onion soup
    1 8 oz. box fresh, sliced mushrooms

    Melt butter in a heavy skillet on medium heat and add rice, stir until butter becomes frothy and rice slightly browns. Add mushrooms and continue stirring until mushrooms have softened. Add soup and mix well. Pour into 2 quart greased casserole and cover with foil. Bake at 400 degrees for 30-40 minutes. Enjoy!

  35. We will probably do soup and mini sandwiches and maybe salad for Christmas with desserts of course – probably one of those Plush Pippin Apple pies you made me buy last year… I made a pretty good cheeseburger soup tonight that might be a contender for the soup. I’m thinking of a salad that I had a few years ago that you might like – it had a nice green lettuce mix with strawberries,mandiarn oranges, raisins walnut pieces ( I think they were glazed) and goat (or feta) cheese in a vinagrette dressing – the suggestion was Strawberry, or you could use Italian. I’m also thinking a balsamic would be good too. This seems like a Christmasy salad. Also, not that you asked, but CRACKERS – have you seen the Fig and Olive Crisps from Trader Joe’s? They are yummy. They look like little slices of bread toasted. They are a little savory and sweet at the same time – would pair well with a cream cheese type dip, or I had them with pepper jelly which was quite yummy and also a garlic / onion jelly. I think they would pair well with the salad too. Hmmm I may have just talked myself into making this salad for Christmas. I am looking forward to your new book!

  36. You need to do Ree’s bourbon glazed carrots as a side. I did that a couple of years ago and now it is tradition at every big family meal. You can’t go wrong with bourbon and butter!! I mix mine half carrots and half parsnips, and everyone loves it.

  37. Wanted to chime in with 2 winning salads. The first comes from Rhoda’s Southern Hospitality blog. It is a wedge salad: iceberg lettuce wedges, ranch dressing, blue cheese crumbles, bacon, and purple onion. So delicious! I have made it several times. Second, the dressing is homemade poppyseed on the Betty Crocker website. Romaine lettuce, feta or blue cheese, dried cranberries, the aforementioned dressing.

  38. No food suggestions…I just wanted to say how happy I am that your new book is coming out (I can’t wait!), and that I agree with your friend: “YOU TRUST HIM WITH IT!”