To Grandma’s House We Go … Memories of Christmases Past

Over the river, and through the wood, to Grandmother’s house we go …

Christmas table runner and candle

I’m 59 years old today.

How do you like them apples?

The countdown to 60 is on.

Bring it.

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Woman standing in Dutch doorway

In other news, my holiday doormat arrived.


Many of you have already decked the halls.

I enjoy watching it all unfold on your blogs, Pinterest, and Instagram’s.

A couple of weeks ago I shared my holiday prep to-do list.

I’m pleased to report … mission accomplished.

It’s done.


Christmas Stocking and Shelf Decorations

And an even bigger thrill … everything on the grand-nieces and nephews gift lists was procured without delay.

Wow, I’m feeling lucky.

It’s all over but the wrapping.

And the decorating.

I still need to decorate.

But that won’t happen until after Thanksgiving.

And, because we’re not hosting, we’re guesting … I have a little lull in the action.

So, let’s take a walk down memory lane.

Old fashioned stocking

No matter how old I get memories of my childhood Christmases at my grandmother’s never fade.

(Although I have no idea what I did yesterday.)

After Thanksgiving, I counted the days until Christmas vacation.

The first day of school break, my parents loaded up the Country Squire.

Me, my sister, our dog, and sometimes our cat.

A big Coleman thermos filled with water, a bucket of Kentucky Fried Chicken and a ton of suitcases and gifts.

And we were off for the 12-hour drive to Grandma’s house.

A drive that easily stretched to 14-hours with pit stops.

Much to my father’s chagrin.

Are we there yet?

Layered Door Mat for Christmas

By early evening, we pulled up to Grandma’s house.

Her Christmas lights were up, tree decorated and a sea of presents spilled out underneath.

A pot of chili bubbling away on the stove.

And a buffet covered with a beautifully presented assortment of Christmas cookies.

Baked by Grandma and her friends awaited us.

We were happily ensconced in Grandma’s house once again.

Ready to begin two fun filled weeks with everything Christmas can and should be.

Shelf Decor

We were a Christmas Eve family.

Christmas Eve was our main event.

We piled into cars packed with gifts and headed across town to my aunt’s house.

After depositing the gifts under my aunt’s chicly decorated tree,

the grown-ups went across the street to a neighbor’s Christmas Eve cocktail party.

My sister and I waited, impatiently, for their return.

Speaking of cocktail parties, how about a couple of holiday cocktail ideas …

Cranberry Tequila Punch is fun and festive for a group.

Cranberry Tequila Punch

Cranberry-Tequila Punch

And the always elegant Raspberry Kir Royale.

Kir Royale and Christmas Tree

Raspberry Kir Royale

When the adults returned, we sat down for dinner and then … the gifts.

They took hours to open.

One at a time.

We finished in the early hours of the morning and headed back to Grandma’s.

Sugar plumb fairies danced in our heads as we slept waited for Santa.

On Christmas morning we were up at the crack of dawn sneaking downstairs to see if Santa had come

… and if he and his reindeer ate Grandma’s cookies.

Then we sat down to a breakfast of Swedish pancakes and little pigs (link sausages).

Last year I set our Christmas morning breakfast table with my mother’s Waechterbach dishes.

Gifted to her over the years by my grandmother and handed down to me.

Christmas Table Setting

Later in the day, my aunt and her family arrived and a traditional turkey dinner, made by Grandma, was served promptly at 4:00pm.

Last year was our first Christmas at Snowberry and I look forward to making many Christmas memories here.

Although nothing can touch those magical Christmases at Grandma’s house.

So, there you have it, a walk down memory lane

and Snowberry’s first Christmas wrapped up in one neat package post.

I’ll be back after Thanksgiving with my second annual list of great gift ideas aka Snowberry Essentials

… and a quick tour of Snowberry’s minimalist holiday décor.

I just peeked at last year’s gift ideas and I’m not sure how I can improve on it.

But I like a challenge.

And, my simple holiday porch decor … and more!

In the meantime, I wish you a very happy Thanksgiving with your family and friends.

I’m so grateful to you for taking the time to be here and supporting my little blog.

It means the world to me.

And I appreciate you.

As always, I appreciate your visit and welcome your thoughts in the comments below.

Cheers from Snowberry!

All photos in this post are taken by Monica Vargas Photography.


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  • Happy Birthday my Friend. Hope its a wonderful day a d an adv coasting all the way into 60!
    I could just vision the trip to Grandmas house. Such lovely me.

  • A very happy birthday to you. I loved this post. You brought back so many memories of christmases past at my grandmother’s house. Can’t wait to see how you decorate this year. Happy thanksgiving.

  • I enjoyed your Christmas memories. I change my everyday dishes to my Waechterbach on December 1st and enjoy them all month long. My mother started gifting them to me and now I have service for 12!

  • Christmas at your grandma’s house sounds so lovely. What nice memories to carry throughout the years. <3 Your cranberry tequila recipe looks wonderful!

  • WE TOO were a DEC 24th FAMILY!
    THE BEST………….as the day got closer I would COUNT how many for me Dad and MOM!Maybe on the 23rd I could open JUST ONE!Then SANTA came over night and it was ALWAYS A BIGGY.
    A BICYCLE, or make believe cooking set……….which came in a BIG RED PLASTIC BAG which I STILL HAVE TODAY!!!!
    59……….ENJOY IT!
    I just lost half an eyebrow!!!!!!!!!!!!

  • Happy birthday my sweet friend!!!! i was a lucky kid because we got gifts twice, on the 25th and three kings day. I loved getting the grass and water ready and under the bed for the camels! it felt good to help out. maybe that is why i want a farm so badly now! lol!

  • Happy Birthday Juliet! I hope you’re having a fun birthday weekend. I loved this little story of your traditions. Did you grow up in California? Where was your grandma at? We also went to my grandma’s for Christmas and my memories are of her beautiful flocked white tree, Nat King Cole playing on her record player and some cool lights that bubbled on her tree. She also made cookies with us, which I loved so much. I loved seeing your red tree plates whiich my grandma had too! I don’t have too much done yet, but I’m slowly chipping away at things. I am trying to enjoy this Thanksgiving week a little before the holiday muzak hits us full-on! Always ,love your ideas and may do a little shopping here. x Kim

  • Hi Kim,
    I loved reading about your holidays at Grandma’s. It sounds so lovely! How fun to have a big family to celebrate with. We were just the five of us, every year. Opened gifts from godparents and friends Christmas eve, and from Santa on Christmas morning, after we ate breakfast in my parent’s bedroom. I BELIEVE Family traditions have a special place in our hearts and memories!
    I hope you had a lovely birthday, looking forward to CELEBRATING with you soon.
    Xo Heidi

  • Loved reading Your ChRistmas memories. They are so similar to miNe At my grandma’s house…CHRISTMAS eve presents, dinner the next day at noon. My family is very german, immigrated to Calif in 1963. many christmas traditions are So universal, it’s very touching. Enjoy your thanksgiving!

  • JULIET, I AM SO SORRY I MISSED YOUR BIRTHDAY! HAPPY, HAPPY, HAPPY BIRTHDAY!!!! I HOPE it was a wonderful celebration of you! I love this post, it is fun to read peoples gift guids and recipes but the posts that I love the most are when people share their memories, traditions and life. My happiest memories are spent with my grandparents. Thank you for sharing your special times. Have a great week and a happy thanksgiving. Travel safe.

  • Juliet – I love this – thank you so much for sharing! Wow I used to think our four hour drive to Grandma’s house was long enough. Your Grandma sounds amazing and all the festivities you enjoyed. a picture perfect christmas!

  • I forgot to mention one thing…you are 59 years old??? I thought you were in your 40’s. looking gorgeous!

  • Happy belated birthday! The cocktail recipes you shared sure do look refreshing. Your trip down memory lane has me thinking about my own holiday memories…thanks or sharing!

  • Hi, I’m Juliet … welcome to Make Mine a Spritzer where we talk about all things home décor, classic style and more! I’m so happy you’re here!

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