30 Days of Christmas Cheer Feed

30 Days of Christmas Cheer ~ The Grande Dessert Table, a sweet twist on a Holiday Cocktail Party!



A cocktail party can easily be transformed into the best holiday gathering (in my mind) of all, a grand dessert buffet that usually starts at around 10:00 pm. I love to meet my guests at the door with a champagne cocktail and I always serve just a few canapés, like a cheese puff or mushroom toast just in case that my guests haven’t had much dinner.

The fun of a party like this is in the dramatic way that you present it! Have all of the candles lit in the room, but keep your guests as far away from the table as possible so that they can see the flickering flames of the candles but not the food. I'd pick a fabulous piece of music to be playing (Tchaikovsky’s Dance of the Sugarplum Fairy or something wonderful like that!) and at about 11:00 I'd throw open the doors and invite everyone to gather at the dessert table.



There are very few things as delightful to the child in all of us, as a heavily laden table just groaning under the weight of an abundance of gorgeous desserts! What follows here is just a
partial list of things that I love, because I am sure that all of you have several specialties that would be just perfect for such an evening!
Make sure that you have a bowl of fresh fruit and lots of whipped cream or zabaglione to go with it!

I always like to have one yummy jam trifle, or maybe two! Trifles are the dessert versions of a layered salad! They look simply beautiful in a cut glass bowl, or better yet, if you’re lucky enough to own a trifle bowl, use it. There’s nothing prettier than layers of ladyfingers and glistening jams, and a trifle in spite of its fancy name is among the easiest of all desserts to create.

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For a wonderful gathering such as this, a Bouche de' Noel is a very traditional, delicious chocolate and chestnut and praline dessert. It is a fantastic creation, shaped like a Yule log and fancifully decorated with mushrooms and greens made from marzipan and meringue!

Displayed on your grandmother’s tea service tray and surrounded by holly and fresh greens, this is one of the most beautiful desserts of the season! There are lots of easy recipes for a Bouche de’ Noel, and I think that they are so much fun to make, but if time is short, you can usually purchase a very good one from a specialty baker!

Next, pile those wonderful little cream puffs that you can buy frozen onto any gorgeous platter and have them drizzled with chocolate syrup, raspberry or caramel, and garnished with some sugared mint leaves. You can also simply serve them dusted with
confectioners’ sugar for a snowy effect and serve the sauces on the side in a gravy boat!


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You’ll need a rich chocolate mousse, which is guaranteed to disappear immediately as well as the platter of chocolate covered strawberries served alongside of it and if you can find them, the jewel tones of glaceed fruit are so pretty on a holiday table.
The exquisitely buttery French apple tart known as the Tarte Tatin is a fine addition to your buffet and of course, you’ll need one really grand chafing dish dessert like a Bananas Foster served with a simple vanilla bean ice cream!


I would also mound some chocolate truffles into lovely compote, a piece which is traditionally used to serve a spiced fruit or chutney. I might even consider filling those champagne glasses that I spoke of before with a creamy rice pudding, fragrantly dusted with cinnamon, and placed for effect on my silver pedestal cake plate! In fact, make use of all of the things that you own that have pedestals or feet. Along with a liberal use of candlesticks in all materials, shapes and sizes, as well as sparkling pieces of cut and smooth crystal, these pieces will provide height and interest to your table!
The last thing that you’ll need to round out the dessert offering is a cheese platter, with wedges of Brie, Camembert, and some really good cheddar! A Stilton cheese is very traditional cheese to serve right now, and comes directly from England, cloaked in wonderful drama and ritual. I always feature my cheeses on the sideboard with several different bottles of port and Madeira wine.

I have many cordial and small wine glasses that were my grandmothers, and this is what I use them for. Just some assorted good bread, crackers, cheese and fruit and you're all set to shine!

For beverages, a coffee bar provides a very festive end to the evening, with an assortment of liqueurs, as well as the traditional offerings of cream and sugar. You could even provide more champagne but with several wonderful choices of liqueur. Don’t forget a nice assortment of non-alcoholic sparklers, or you might want to serve a special non-alcoholic cocktail! My absolute favorite is called “A Partridge in a Pear Tree” and it’s made from sparkling water, pear nectar, a splash of lime juice and then poured into a martini glass filled with crushed ice, then garnished with a piece of candied ginger and a sprinkling of edible gold leaf if you can find it!



The last thing that I would create for the table is a wassail bowl, a gorgeous arrangement all by itself! For this I usually use my silver punch bowl, although a old cast iron cauldron or copper kettle is so pleasing to look at and historically appropriate. If you use copper, please make sure that it has a tin or steel lining so that the flavours don’t react with the metal to cause a bitter taste. I own a large copper soup kettle, and when my punch bowl is filled with eggnog, I use it for the wassail.

My wassail recipe is pretty simple, blending cinnamon stick, clove, allspice, cranberry juice, apple cider, sugar syrup, Calvados and brandy, mixed together and heated through, then served with a slice of sugared apple!

A bowl of steaming wassail is a wonderful aromatic welcome into your home, and if you’ve got a wonderful foyer, put the bowl there surrounded by masses of fresh greenery and berries “to drive the cold winter away” as the front door opens!
You may be wondering what to serve all of this on, and I’ll bet that we can find some holiday china right now in your cupboards!

You're wondering how?



Many of us have inherited stacks of Royal Copenhagen or Bing and Grondahl collectible Christmas plates. However, because traditionally they are hanging on the wall, no one ever knows what else to do with them, so they sit year after year gathering dust, when really they are the best holiday appetizer/ salad/dessert plates ever made! They are just the right size, and they can go into the dishwasher without any problem at all. I see stacks of them all of the time at my neighborhood Goodwill stores if you don't have any and they're always really affordable. 

Handcrafted in such lovely wintry shades of cobalt blue and soft white, they are just begging to be given the honour that they deserve! I know of no better way to make them happy then to heap them full of delicious food.
Just an aside here, one of the most commonly asked questions about fine china is “Can I put my formal dishes in the dishwasher?” The answer is a resounding yes, and as a matter of fact, almost any plate made within the last 25 years is dishwasher safe.

It’s not the dishwasher that ruins your good dishes; believe it or not it’s the soap! Use about half of the amount of soap
recommended, and make sure that you let everything, especially the gold trim cool down, before you remove your dishes. That’s all that’s needed, and what this means is that there’s no excuse to not use the lovely things that you own. Beautiful food presentation is a feast for your eyes and uplifting to your spirit, and it’s so easy to make anything look wonderful when you put it on a silver tray or a beautiful service plate.

I’ve always gotten such pleasure from bringing out lovely old things, and inventing new uses for them. Old silver with monograms, glasses with initials, linens with fancy embroidery... all of these things make up your shared personal history. Old silver that has a beautiful hand engraved monogram is a treasure. I practically cried every time someone would bring a set of it into the store to have the engraving removed. You can’t get monograms like that anymore; very rarely do you find an engraver with that skill.

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Once it’s gone, it’s gone for good, and bringing this bit of history into the party atmosphere connects the past with the yet unknown future, and lets your guests feel like they’ve been welcomed into a home that’s emotionally rich and very special!
Having said all of this, I realize that I’ve left out the three most magical ingredients that I know of to create a wonderful holiday party.
First, make sure that you have a gingerbread house, lots of undecorated cookies and bowls of frosting, candy and plenty of children around to decorate and eat them!

 A gift for each woman and child is a lovely reminder of your friendship and a continuation of such a special evening, how about several narcissus bulbs for fragrant midwinter blooms or a votive candle to light the New Year?

And last but not least, my personal favorite, LOTS OF MISTLETOE FOR KISSING UNDER!"

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30 Days of Christmas Cheer ~ Oh Christmas Tree....



I love Christmas trees...Well actually I love everything about Christmas and the holiday season as a rule. When I was a kid growing up, until I was about 6, we didn't have a tree. We really didn't celebrate much of anything because my parents were very reformed Jews, so I never grew up having much connection to Hanukkah either. We lived in Pepper Pike, Ohio, and we were one of only a few Jewish families living there at the time. I still remember the day my older brother and sister came home and told my parents that it was time to get a Christmas Tree..."for Beth so she didn't feel like she didn't belong", but I still remember their smiles as we strung the popcorn, oranges and cranberries to decorate it.

I think that it was easy for my mother to embrace because she grew up in Champaign Urbana, Illinois, and everyone celebrated Christmas and Hanukkah there for the sake of celebrating, which in my mind is simply the most extraordinary reason to do any of this. Mom became as my sister put it, "The Auntie Mame of Celebrations!" From that moment on, Christmas became something to really look forward to in our house because from that moment on, she celebrated it with abandon. She brought back her own mothers Christmas pudding recipe and made it on occasion (it takes a month!) and one year she taught me to make fruitcake when I was too broke to buy Christmas presents. Her first cousin began sending beautiful marzipan fruits and vegetables and exquisite bourbon balls from the her old family recipes. Christmas was wonderful in my mothers house. 

The year she decided I was too old for one of her Christmas stockings, I wept. Even though we are spread all over the country we all still eat her Christmas breakfast...a perfect mix of chicken ala king, stewed fruit, perfectly scrambled eggs, cinnamon rolls and Champagne. I light bayberry candles for love and luck. I keep the table set as she would have...I even have a red dining room...hers was Christmas green. 


For my dad  Christmas wasn't always quite so easy. His father was a first generation Russian Jewish man and Orthodox traditions back then were the same as they are now...for the most part dogmatic and unyielding so my father became about as agnostic as you could get without being an atheist. I found out after my fathers death that I should have been named Elizabeth, but they just made it Beth Ann because Elizabeth would have been far too gentile. My mothers family does have some Catholic blood going WAY WAY back in her ancestry, but she refused to speak of it. I stumbled upon it accidentally one day when I found a rosary that had been in her family dated from 1887 and when I asked her about it you would have thought that I'd opened the darkest can of worms ever. All she said was that the rosary was older than that and we never shared another word about it although I did go digging way into the background of her fathers family and discovered hymn writers and alchemists from the 1600's although she wouldn't talk about them either, except to acknowledge that she'd known that they existed.  I realized sadly much later after her death that it was probably because my grandfather would have tried to force my father to end to their relationship. It was an interesting way to grow up...Never quite Jewish enough for the Jews and not really any sort of Christian. Fortunately due to my extremely emotionally liberal upbringing (thanks Mom!) I didn't really care and if I'm being honest, I still don't. It's probably why I most closely identify with being Wiccan...We are generally accepting of all....Harm none is our creed. 

Luckily, what saved Christmas for all of us was that Christmas day was also our parents anniversary. Married during the war, Christmas Day was the only day that a Rabbi could be found, so from the moment we got that first tree,  Christmas was intertwined with the joy of their marriage. Double cause for celebrating so my father begrudgingly allowed Christmas to happen!  

So, growing up I had somewhat of a conflicted relationship with Christmas or rather, much of my fathers family had a conflicted relationship with my  mothers and my relationship with Christmas.  I adored it and grew up with a store full of the most glorious Christmas merchandise ever. Carolers, bells and Christmas ornaments...every year the day after Thanksgiving, Christmas would magically appear at Schreibman Jewelers. We'd have presents everywhere, gorgeous wrappings and ribbons and mulled cider and hot cocoa for our customers.  Everyday I'd play Christmas carols and find my father trying to turn them off. He'd always grouse, but we always prevailed!  We'd have cookie decorating parties every weekend for the children with Mrs. Claus. We had holiday teas. I spent years chairing Christmas Tree festivals all over the city which delighted me to no end. Being in retail gave me the chance to have the kind of Christmas I'd always wanted, colorful and joyful, full of magic and the sheer pleasure of making everyones holiday dreams come true including my employees. Every year I'd find out what was their hearts desire, I'd get reports starting in September....we had so many beautiful things in our store that it was easy to give each of them a truly beautiful gift that they wanted. I think that those were the gifts that I enjoyed wrapping and giving most of all.  Every season we'd close early a couple of nights before Christmas and have an amazing holiday party, full of wonderful food, laughter and champagne.  We had the very best staff, I can't even call them that because they were more like family and we loved thanking them that way.  

When I married Jim, he was a "recovering Catholic" with fond memories of his own fathers Christmas Tree farm and ice skating on the lake at his grandpas farms. Jim loves Christmas like an 8 year old, and that was all I needed to really go for it. Every year we decorate our home together and we have outdoor lights and wreaths everywhere. We decorate our home with carolers and hang stockings.  We listen to carols from Thanksgiving through Epiphany and eggnog and bourbon milk punch literally flow through the faucets...(not really but you get my point!) We also celebrate the Winter Solstice every year which is, I like to say, what happens when Jew-Witchy girls long to celebrate Christmas without angst! We decorate EVERYTHING and throw a huge party in my sister and brother in laws lovely cabin, complete with a fire, Yule log and plenty of delicious food and libation. 



As for my father? He eventually learned to love Christmas in his later years, for the togetherness of it. He stopped pretending that anything mattered to him but love. The year that my mother had a very dangerous bypass surgery it was coincidentally the day before Christmas..their anniversary. To him, I think that it was a miracle that she survived it and he really never groused about the holidays after that. Every Thanksgiving in our home we have a ritual...we gather around the table and say what we are thankful for. For my father, every year it was the same..." I am thankful for my family". That is who he was.  After my mother was gone, he spent about three years in a nursing home in Cleveland that was primarily Jewish and we brought him home those first years for all of our holiday parties.  One year he lamented to me that because he had no money, that he couldn't buy any of us presents. Daddy had been a painter, and a very fine one at that, so I went to Michael's  craft store and bought about 6 unfinished nutcrackers. I took them to his nursing home with paints and a cd player and we spent several wonderful afternoons listening to Tchaikovsky and painting them in bright colors.  I have many of my fathers paintings, but I love these nutcrackers most of all , painted after his stroke.  They are imperfect, messy and colorful like he was. On Christmas morning he gave them proudly to all of us and we listened to the Nutcracker Suite as we had so many times before. 

So the truth is,  like my mother I celebrate simply for the pure and unadulterated joy of it. It doesn't matter to me which holiday it is. I should probably be more religious, but I simply can't... I can belt out Rock of Ages from memory as beautifully as I can sing every stanza of the Hallelujah Chorus. I go to Mass with my daughter in law every Christmas Eve and sing all of the carols and watch my son laugh at me. I make Latkes and Mashed potatoes, Roast Goose and Brisket. I learned over the years that I am a sum of all of my parts...but that to be just one thing will never work for me. To me, we are all one tribe and my religion is love.

For me these celebrations are the glue and the glitter. 

For me, my family is my house of worship and that will have to be good enough and if you come knocking on my door at  anytime, there will always be a place for you at my table. 



I leave you with the simplest of holiday wishes from Tiny Tim..."God Bless us, Every One. "  and a bit of the Nutcracker Suite....


30 Days of Christmas Cheer ~ Caron's Nuit de Noel!

I adore the Christmas season and for so many reasons it is so magical to me. There are always several constants like the annual reading of Clement C. Moore’s “The Night before Christmas”, white truffles, lots of chocolate, roasted chestnuts, smoked salmon, New York City and gallons of bourbon milk punch and Champagne.  Of course my perfume of choice is Caron’s lovely Nuit de Noel, a fragrance that is completely saturated with the soul and scent of the holiday season. 




For the last 8 years, on Christmas Eve I make a beautiful candlelit dinner and then we go to church with our son and daughter in law and sing carols until our hearts just burst.  Often we drive into the country to see the lights and sometimes we get home well past midnight.  That's when we light the bayberry candles for love and abundance, crack a bottle of champagne, wrap ourselves in each others arms, gorge on cookies, exchange our presents, hang the stockings and watch our daughter in laws favorite Christmas movie, The Muppet Christmas Carol .  





If you’ve never experienced Nuit de Noel, trust me and if you can find some (sadly it seems to have been discontinued) try it right away   because it is truly gorgeous, a voluptuous and elegant chypre perfume filled with rose, jasmine and ylang ylang and a delicious saxon moss that’s as primitive and warm as the embers of a smoldering Yule log on Solstice eve. Ernest Daltroff created it for his lover who was completely enchanted by the sounds and scents of Christmas.  


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Nuit de Noel is the fragrance that I’ve tucked into my engraved medieval style  pomanders, a beautiful ornaments of sterling that I can wear as  necklaces. These I fill with cinnamon and cloves and sugared rose petals that I’ve scented with a bit of perfume soaked leather and I love to wear them hanging low between my breasts. These pomanders are my favorite pieces of jewelry art and when I’m not wearing one of them, you’ll find them hanging in their places of honor on my Christmas tree.


Because Christmas comes but once a year I keep my precious bottle of Nuit de Noel tucked away for the rest of the time in an embroidered Christmas pouch. 



Getting back to Christmas evening though, the most magical moment always comes on the drive home from the country. Nestled at the bottom of the River Road in a small town called Hunting Valley there sits a beautiful old fir tree that is practically a hundred years old. We love to visit her early Christmas morning after midnight when the world is silent except for the beautiful carols ever present on the radio. 


This tree is magnificent, at least 75 feet tall and covered from head to toe with beautiful colored lights. 


I visit her late at night on the evenings from Thanksgiving to New Years Day because she is usually surrounded by families of deer and I love to park my car across the street to sit quietly for awhile with a steaming mug of cocoa and the Nutcracker Suite for company. She has an alluring fragrance all her own, of freshly falling snow and sweet pine, smoky wood resins, windfall apples and moonlight. When the snow is falling softly all around I promise you have never seen such a beautiful tree. 


She is forever the true essence of the season for me as she casts her warm glow on the cold December nights. I have always wanted to wear her scent and the first time that I experienced Caron’s Nuit de Noel I realized that I had found it, all of the Christmas magic that I would ever need in perfumed form, a divine gift from the angels of Yule.

Speaking of angels....


I only wear Nuit de Noel  from Thanksgiving until New Years Day because I love to keep it special and putting it away isn’t the end of my Christmas dreams, only the beginning.  But I hope that you’ll remember that Christmas Eve is a great time to be making wishes and I hope that this is the year that all of yours will come true whether they be truly simple or ever so bold. 


You already know that I wish you all gallons of the perfumes you love, all of the truffles (chocolate or otherwise!) that you’d care to eat and all of the passion that you can possibly stand. Last but not least   may there finally be peace on earth, abundance for all and true and lasting goodwill for everyone.


Sending you all of my love and lots of fabulous scents during this most magical of seasons. Please know that in this season of blessings that I count all of you among my biggest. 


Thank you always for your readership, love and support. 


From my home to yours...Happiest of Holidays!



Beth (aka The Windesphere Witch)

30 Days of Christmas Cheer ~ A simple Chocolat Chaud!


I've always said that if I weren't living in Cleveland and I had my choice of cities to live in, that besides New York,  Montreal would be at the top of my list. It's close enough to the border and I could get home to see all my loves easily, but at the same time live someplace where English wasn't the first language. I'm personally of the opinion that every American needs a crash course in living internationally, because nothing expands your worldview like travel and that's a good thing. Right now with the borders closed, I have to dream of the day that I can get back to Montreal and simply recreate the flavors and fragrances here at home. It's not that difficult, because the entire city smells of four of the most delicious things in life...Chocolate, freshly baked bread, garlic and white wine. 


With Montreal in mind, and dreaming of the chocolate I drank one wintry afternoon at the  Suite 88 Chocolatier,  this morning I created a chocolat chaud with heavy cream, port , vanilla, French cocoa, honey and cinnamon ...so delicious and warming, both for the tummy and the soul.


So incredibly easy to do...Just set a cup of heavy whipping cream on the stove to simmer and whisk in a tablespoon of fine cocoa, a sprinkle of cinnamon, two tablespoons of honey, a dash of vanilla and about three tablespoons of port. You'll need to whisk it consistently until it thickens, but it basically turns into a ganache that you can drink. Pour it into a demitasse cup and add some whipped cream. I added it to my morning coffee which was quite delicious and made me feel just a touch spoiled..I don't usually drink Port in the morning! Try this..it's really very easy to do. If you change it around, let me know what you did...I'm already thinking about white chocolate and lavender or dark chocolate with chili and triple sec....Just make sure that the chocolate you use is of good quality, because it's true flavor will shine through and so will any additives and it goes without saying that you can of course do this with non dairy milks...I'd recommend full fat coconut.



#30daysofholidaycheer #30daysofchristmascheer #thechristmaschronicles #chocolate #chocolatchaud #coffee #coffeecreamer #kitchenwitch #kitchenwitchery #kitchenwitching #kitchenwitchesofinstagram Roro Mangino,  you could make these for your fam... just ask your dad to show you how to whisk ingredients into simmering cream so it thickens😘🎅🏼

30 Days of Christmas Cheer ~ Waes Hael (Wassail)


"Here's a toast to the roast that good fellowship lends,
with the sparkle of beer and wine;
May its sentiment always be deeper, my friends, than the foam at the top of the stein.
Then here's to the heartening wassail, wherever good fellows are found;
Be its master instead of its vassal, and order the glasses around."
Ogden Nash


It is once again hot boozy drink season and Wassail is one of my favorites hot mulled punches of the Yule Season. Often drunk from a wassailing bowl, the earliest versions of Wassail were made from warmed mead, ale or hard cider. One of my favorite versions of this punch hails from the time of Shakespeare and  is aptly named Lambswool, because roasted crab apples were dropped into the bubbling cider where they heated and burst open to create a delightfully foamy drink that resembled very fuzzy lamb.  Later, the drink evolved to become a mulled cider made with sugar, cinnamon, ginger and nutmeg, and then topped with slices of toast. It was then drunk from a large communal bowl which is why you see so many antique wassail bowls with handles.


Modern recipes begin with a base of wine, fruit juice or mulled ale, sometimes with brandy or sherry added. Apples or oranges are often added to the mix, and some recipes also call for beaten eggs to be tempered into the drink. I always add butter because I like the softness of flavor it adds. 

The traditional Apple Orchard Wassailing is held on the old Twelfth Night (17 January) as a ritual to ask the good spirits for an abundant apple harvest. The villagers would form a circle around the largest apple tree, hang pieces of toast soaked in cider in the branches for the robins, who represent the 'good spirits' of the tree. I love to drink Wassail all season long, but Solstice eve is generally when I Waes Hael my apple trees. I use toasted pieces of cinnamon raisin bread for a bit ofextra fine magic! 

Before you begin...This wonderful version of the Gloucestershire Wassail will put you in just the right mood!

You will need:

A large pot

1 gallon of fresh apple cider

1 large bottle of red wine, beer, sherry or several cups of brandy

Small lady apples that you have studded with cloves

A sliced orange

A muslin bag or large tea ball filled with the spices of your choice- I like Rosemary, Coriander, Cloves, star anise, allspice berries and orange peel.

½ a stick of salted butter

1 cup of maple syrup or brown sugar

Several cinnamon sticks

The rest is easy. Heat the cider and put in the apples, butter, sugar and spices. Let it simmer for about 45 minutes. Then add the wine, sherry or brandy. Let it simmer for another 20 minutes and serve! If you have grandchildren they will love watching the apples burst! It makes the punch sort a fuzzy gray color but it's absolutely delicious and such a fun part of history!



Pictures from Williamsburg Yorktown Daily and The Museum of Wales

30 Days of Christmas Cheer ~ Holiday Coffee Mix-ins!

I love the pre-made holiday coffee creamers that you can find in the store this time of year, but unfortunately they come with so many added ingredients, even the natural ones. After discovering more than a few added into my favorite blends, I decided to just make my own. It so easy, fun and you can create so many different flavors. Until this morning I was using maple syrup and pumpkin pie spice to flavor mine but it must officially have become the start of the Yule season because this morning I woke up with a taste for chocolate and peppermint! I've even made cherry chocolate using some juice from the cocktail cherries and some really good cocoa or salted chocolate and caramel. really the skies the limit!  The only common denominators are heat and heavy cream. You can even use half and half, but I like the thickness of the heated cream. You don't have to use maple syrup..you can easily substitute stevia or honey. If you're a sugar lover go right ahead and use it, actually brown sugar is pretty great and lends a holiday richness...We don't use a lot of sugar, so these alternatives work just fine for me. 



This is so simple to make. I begin with a cup of heavy whipping cream, or you could use an alternative milk if you like, it just wont get as thick as the whipping cream. I put it on a saucepan on the stove and begin to slowly bring it to a simmer. Then I add about 2 tablespoons of sweetener, more if you want and whisk it in. 



Lastly I add the flavorings. If it's just spices or extracts, whisk them in , if you use cocoa powder it will take longer because it will need to melt. I like to use chocolate chips or a few squares of my favorite chocolate because it melts more easily. For this I used my favorite Icelandic Chocolate that is already flavored with mint! 


Keep whisking until it is heated all the way through and thickening just a bit (if you've used whipping cream) and then pour it into the bottom of a mug. Top with hot coffee and stir and then sip. I promise you'll love this more than anything you buy from a coffee house... keep some fresh whipped cream around and top your coffee with whipped cream, peppermint chip, chocolate shavings, sprinkles....you name it, you can use it. Have fun and let me know what you create!


Heres a little bit of Polar Express Hot Chocolate Holiday Cheer for you!



30 Days of Christmas Cheer- Planning your holiday table



Christmas is one of my truly favorite holidays because it’s so abundant, elegant and lush. It can also be contemporary, primitive country, hunting lodge rustic or childlike because it is a holiday that  can be expressed in a million wonderful and unique ways. It’s a fabulous opportunity to bring  fresh creativity to your table and have quite a lot of fun in the process. Just go on a shopping trip through your cupboards!  Many people have dishes, glasses and silver serving pieces that have been left to them; why don’t you bring them out and use them? It doesn’t matter if some of them are broken and the glasses don’t match. Spread everything that you could use out onto the table and take a look. Find a couple of unifying colors, in other words colors that can work with all of the bits and pieces that you’ve got and then choose a tablecloth, napkins and charger plates in those colors. A charger plate is what used to be called a service plate and it adds a bit of color underneath of the dinner plate .  It’s so easy these days to find charger plates in many solid colors and they’re very inexpensive. Choose a metallic color such as copper or gold if you want to dress up your tablesetting yet keep it feeling warm. Choose them in red and green if you want your table to be traditionally festive and remember; it’s a bit like layering an outfit one piece at a time all the way to the necklace and scarf.  

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Don’t worry if you have glasses that don’t match. You can go to any store these days and find wine and water goblets in lovely jewel tone colors.  Why not set your table with every other goblet being a colored one. Alternate colored napkins and have a great time playing with color and texture on your holiday table.  Whatever you do, when someone mentions how beautiful everything looks, don’t ever say, “ Oh, thank you but it would have looked so much better if I hadn’t broken my wine glasses and had to replace them this way”. Remember that this is your style and you like it this way because matching everything is simply not as unique or as personal as you want your tables to be. 

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You can be very creative with napkin rings. Some of the best are the little hard plastic or glass ones that you can put a bit of water into and a little arrangement. Go outside or to the local market and pick whatever is left of the fall herbs and flowers to arrange in them or go all out with some holly and ivy! Then pull the napkins through  the rings and set them onto your table. This is a beautiful way to bring some greenery to your place setting. You can also use elegant antique silver ones or you can get some pretty fabulous napkin rings adorned with Swarovski crystal. If you're  really creative you can go to the craft store and make your own out of ribbon, bits of crystal or pre made tassels. 


If you like a bit of sparkle, this is the place to use it on your table; napkins generally being very flat colors, can take a bit of glitter. Don’t forget candlesticks as they really add so much ambiance, especially when you mix the shapes and sizes.  Why don’t you dress those same candlesticks with herbs, flowers, fresh greenery or pretty silk ribbons? When it comes to candlesticks you should always use an odd number because it looks so much more balanced. Candles that are metallic are often used this time of year but I'm going to go on record as saying that I don't like them. They're rarely drip free and they  do tend to make a nasty mess. They also don't look nearly as pretty once they start to burn. Choose candles in complimentary tones and save the lovely  metallic colors  for chargers, placemats and candlesticks.


Although the cornucopia is traditionally a symbol of the Thanksgiving celebration,  I love to use them well into the December holidays because they make creating an abundant and gorgeous arrangement absolutely effortless. 


You can use a cornucopia at Christmas time in many ways. The traditional Thanksgiving use is to fill it with fruit, vegetables and flowers, but I like to use a cornucopia on my sideboard as the centerpiece for a wonderful cheese and fresh bread display. This is easy to do. Fill the cornucopia with kale leaves, slices of French bread and an assortment of crackers so that they are spilling out of the mouth of the horn. Then arrange several wheels of cheese very close to the bread along with several cheese knives. Add apples, pomegranates, pears and several pitchers of varying sizes filled with Christmas flowers and votive candles to the display and it will look sensational. You can do the same thing with freshly sliced vegetables, pate's and dips. 

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I love to use tableware pieces in many different ways. Do you have an old fashioned three tiered tea tray that's just gathering dust in your cupboard? Pretend that you're in Williamsburg for the holidays and display it with  crystal glasses of differing sizes filled with holiday flowers and little bowls with holiday candy.  Why don't you take your grandmothers old teacups or demitasse cups and filled them with potted ivy, holly berries and festoon them with ribbons and little ornaments? This way everyone has a pretty little individual arrangement  of their own and the larger centerpiece can be low enough for everyone to converse across the table. Do you have dozens of mismatched silver teaspoons? Why don't you use them to serve a luscious bit of crab or lobster salad. Remember, there are no rules to be broken here, only a meal to be enjoyed together with family and friends.  


This year I hope that you’ll have fun with your holiday tables by looking at them with fresh eyes and allowing your inspirations to flourish! Do something just a little bit different and I promise that you’ll have just as much fun as your guests. Relax and enjoy being the star of your own party. When it comes to your creativity, the sky’s the limit! 


I hope that your holidays are filled with  peace, laughter & oh so much love!




Does anyone want to join me for an old fashioned 30 Days of Christmas Cheer Blog Party?

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I'll never forget when in May of 2004, after closing my business, in a fit of loneliness and desire I started my first blog called Stirring the Senses. I loved writing on it...I shared recipes and stories and made so many new friends. In 2009 this blog, The Windesphere Witch was conceived, as an attempt  to enjoy the Halloween season all month long. Back then, there were lovely events called blog parties and every day many of us posted something that inspired us about the season. It was so much fun! Sadly with the advent of smaller bytes of social media like Instagram , Facebook and Twitter, blogging has taken a back seat for many of us. 

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However,  forward to now,  this crazy year of 2020 where an unknown virus has completely changed our lives in less than a year. We're at home now..our lives are slower.  Non of us have been untouched by this strange and dangerous contagion. As a result our holidays have changed. I found myself longing for the warmth of my blog, the slower and more intimate world that I created with it. I long to share my holidays with my friends and family near and far...recipes for everything from marmalades and fancy jams, mincemeat, gingerbread,  egg nog, to mulled wine  and bourbon milk punch....It's time to share some old fashioned blogging fun and fellowship!


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Winter Solstice rituals and wreath making....silly and sappy Hallmark Christmas movies....present wrapping and silver polishing. Building the perfect holiday playlist...Creating an intimate and festive Zoom holiday...All of the things that can make our lives magical at this time of year.

Guess what? We can still have them! 

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Please join me everyday from Thanksgiving until Christmas Day as we have an old fashioned Countdown to Christmas Cheer                                                on the Windesphere Witch Blog! Each day I'm going to write about something I'm doing...some aspect of the holidays that I love. This will be the story of my love for winter, for the Solstice, for the Yule log, the figgy pudding and the mistletoe. I'll probably have a couple of door prizes too...If you've got a blog or an instagram and you want to play along with me, just let me know and I'll share your links on this page! I'll be using the hashtag #30daysofChristmasCheer and #countdownofchristmascheer on Instagram and Facebook if you want to share there  as well.

Wishing you a Holiday Season filled with Blessings and Magic...