Monday, December 23, 2019

An Early Christmas

The day after Thanksgiving Hubby and I hosted the annual Christmas get-together for Hubby’s clan. 

With the theme Smoky Mountain Christmas we all gathered outside, surrounded by our trees and neighboring wooded properties. 

The adults congregated around the fire with camping fare of hamburgers, hot dogs, baked beans and chili. (Photos by Hubby) 
 Weather was perfect Smoky Mountain cool. I'm the ever cold granny wrapped up in the red and white blanket.

There is something about camping and eating outdoors that heightens appetites and togetherness. Even though we weren’t actually camping, there were still second and third helpings, lively conversation, laughter, roasting marshmallows over the fire and building S’mores.

The younger set staked out dining space on the nearby porch. 

Afterwards everyone pitched in to bring leftovers inside, (to thwart forays by the always lurking raccoons).

We all settled inside, ready for our clan’s traditional Dirty Santa gift exchange. The next hour was filled with laughter, groans and glee.

Afterwards sweet treats reigned. My sisters-in-law and nieces are excellent cooks, bakers and candy-makers. 

Niece Stephanie with her Lumberjack Cake. 

Steph created her tasty masterpiece with the help of Pinterest and her mom, our sister-in-law, Lila.

Yes, I indulged in a taste of that Lumberjack Cake and all the other sweet treats and salty eats assembled by talented relatives. 

I also snagged a slice of Daughter-in-law Sarah’s homemade apple pie before it all disappeared. Yum!

A shout-out to Hubby who created the Smoky Mountain atmosphere, prepared food and prepped our home for the gathering. Our two sons helped grill, and all our extended family brought sides and pitched in to make the evening fun.

Hubby topped off the evening with Smoky Mountain mugs for everyone. 

The image on the cups was one of many he has taken through the years in Cades Cove. A drive or bike ride through the Cove is a must when any of our clan visits the Smokies. 

The John Muir quote “The mountains are calling” captures
our extended family’s love of Smoky Mountain environments, history and experiences.


I am so thankful for the blessings  of family, food and fellowship that graced our home and ushered in our Christmas season.

 Now I am savoring those good memories while back on the dietary straight and narrow. . . mostly. 



  1. What a wonderful celebration. I'd love to try that fabulous lumberjack cake. Kudos to the baker. Wishing you and your family a bright and blessed Christmas.

  2. Looks and sounds like you all had a great time.Merry Christmas to you.

  3. this looks like so much fun. I love sitting around a fire and love trees.. the cup is perfect...the perfect family dinner to me. my favorite food and I rather have burgers and hotdogs than any other food, unless you call out for pizza. Merry Christmas..

  4. That was quite a gang you had. And yes, fresh air is the best condiment for food. That cake is amazing looking and it looks like you all had a great celebration.
    Merry Christmas and enjoy a blessed New Year.

  5. That looks like so much fun! It is so good to have good memories to savor in the winter months. Or any time for that matter.

  6. p.s. I was raised in East Tennessee....about an hour from the Smoky Mountains. I was raised near Cumberland Gap, TN...right where KY, TN and VA all meet.

  7. Oh Linda, Your early Christmas sounds like a Hallmark Movie.
    I love everything about your Smokey Mountain Christmas.
    Fun, Family, Food and Fellowship.
    Making memories...
    I am very envious of your mugs too. What a fantastic idea. Such a treasure for everyone.
    I totally blew my diet but now its onward to recovery of all the lost pounds. It's just such a struggle!!
    May your New Year be wonderful and full of all that's good.


  8. Sounds like a very blessed and fun event. The best kind.