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The Best Christmas Past

Let your holiday table channel the celebrations of yore for a memorable gathering.

A Tiered Glass Pedestal Topped with Sugared Cookies
A tiered glass pedestal topped with sugared cookies appear like ice and snow.

A great holiday memory is not typically made from securing hard-to-come-by gifts, being one of the lucky few who elbowed a fellow shopper so they could get this season’s limited gadget that will hold their child’s interest as long as it takes for the leftovers to go bad. The Christmas we like to think of is a Dickensian one, filled with traditions of storytelling, singing and those great movies that teach a valuable lesson.

The table is set not only with the holiday meal but decorated with touches of Christmas. Guests revel under a tinsel-tinted glow. Starry lights, sugar cookies and a silvery white tablecloth conjure up the images of a classic Christmas. Ornaments are not just for the tree; choose your favorites for the table to create visual animation and a lasting impression. “I will use the same ornaments every year no matter what the current fashion happens to be. Christmas is all about creating memories with your family. It’s important to bring out the same ornaments every year,” says contributor Diane Sedo.

Odessa’s Hummingbird Cake
Odessa’s Hummingbird Cake
Makes one 9-inch layer cake.

3 cups all-purpose flour
2 cups sugar
1 tsp. salt
1 tsp. soda
1 tsp. ground cinnamon
3 eggs, beaten
1½ cups salad oil
1½ tsp. vanilla extract
2 cups chopped bananas
1 (8-oz.) can crushed pineapple, undrained
2 cups chopped pecans or walnuts, divided

1. Combine dry ingredients in a large mixing bowl; add eggs and salad oil, stirring until dry ingredients are moistened being careful not to overbeat. Stir in vanilla, pineapple, one cup chopped pecans (or walnuts) and bananas.
2. Spoon the batter into three well-greased and floured 9-inch cake pans. Bake at 350 degrees for 25 to 30 minutes or until cake tests done.
3. Cool in pans 10 minutes, remove from pans and cool completely.
4. Spread frosting (recipe below) between layers and top and sides of cake. Sprinkle with one cup pecans (or walnuts). Store in refrigerator.

Cream Cheese Frosting
2 (8-oz.) packages cream cheese, room temperature
1 cup butter, softened
2 (16-oz.) packages powdered sugar
2 tsp. vanilla

Combine cream cheese and butter, cream until smooth. Add sugar and beat until fluffy. Stir in vanilla.

Produced by Diane Sedo
Written by Jacqueline deMontravel
Photography by Jaimee Itagaki and Jacqueline deMontravel

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