Happy December and welcome to today’s December Sunday Letter! I’m so glad you are here.
If we were sitting together having coffee this morning, I would ask about your Thanksgiving. Who did you spend time with? What did you eat?
Thanksgiving is fabulous in its simplicity, and I hope yours exceeded all expectations, beyond a super-moist turkey and your favorite dessert. Whether you traveled or stayed at home, I hope you ended the holiday with a list of brand new things to be thankful for.
I sure did.
Now, I am looking toward Christmas and hoping to savor every magical moment between now and year-end. I believe December truly is the most wonderful time of the year.
Felix the Thanksgiving Cactus
If you’ve been a regular follower of Grace Grits and Gardening, you might recall meeting Felix in the fall of 2022. I adopted him when he was a tiny thing, taking him home from a gardening event where I was the speaker. (And yes, I name my plants. Don’t you?)
He was a cute guy from the get-go.
All throughout the past year, Felix has been living on the kitchen windowsill where the sunshine is bright and his view of the bird feeder is unobstructed. What a perfect plant he has been, so easy going and content with just a dribble of water now and then.
It’s true, the saying—what a difference a year makes! Since Halloween, I’ve been watching him put on fuchsia buds. I mean seriously, he has perfect timing, knowing exactly when Thanksgiving would come without any reminders from me.
John and I spent Thanksgiving with our son & bonus daughter in Colorado. Honestly, I felt a little sad leaving Felix behind during his favorite holiday, but since the TSA frowns on traveling with plants, he celebrated at home in his own quiet way. When we returned, he was waiting for us, full of stunning bright blooms with more buds soon to open.
Yep, proud cactus momma here.
It can be difficult to tell the difference between Easter, Thanksgiving, and Christmas cacti, but this article from Farmer’s Almanac makes it pretty clear.
I highly recommend adopting a cactus this year for Christmas.
It’s a fun thing having adult children who love hosting Thanksgiving.
I don’t mind being a guest at all. In fact, I think I prefer it.
Merry & Bright Christmas Cocktails
Need a festive cocktail to serve this holiday? Ho-Ho-How about a Mistletoe Margarita or a Christmas Cookie with sprinkles?
My daughter-in-law, Laura, made both of these drinks last week, and they were big hits!
- 1.5 oz tequila
- 3/4 oz Cointreau or triple sec
- 3/4 oz lime juice
- 1/2 oz simple syrup or agave
- 2 oz cranberry juice
Shake and pour into a glass rimmed with sugar. Garnish with rosemary and fresh cranberries. (Recipe from @thespritzeffect)
Prefer a non-alcoholic version? Substitute a little orange juice and sparkling water instead.
- 1.5 oz vanilla vodka
- 1 oz amaretto
- 1.5 oz Irish cream
- 1 oz milk
Shake and pour over ice in a glass rimmed in vanilla frosting and rainbow sprinkles.
Serve either of these drinks on Christmas Eve and Santa will be his jolliest self.
Favorite Reads of 2023 (so far)
I’ve read 54 books so far this year, and I’ve enjoyed most all of them very much. (FYI—If I’m not enjoying a book, I usually don’t finish it unless it’s for book club.) Today I’m sharing a few of my favorite reads of 2023.
These sixteen books topped my list for different reasons. Some were brilliantly written or wholly immersed me into another time. Others provided a fabulous story or a quirky escape. All included characters that unpacked a suitcase and stayed with me. I suppose it’s obvious my preferences lean toward fiction (historical, mainstream, and literary) and stories rooted in nature. And it’s interesting to me, my favorites in 2023 included a variety of ‘unlikely’ animals—penguins, a horse, giraffes, and wolves (sort of).
If I had to choose, my top two favorites were West With Giraffes and Tom Lake.
For ALL of my book reviews, visit my Goodreads page.
- Have you read any of my 2023 favorites?
- Do you give books as holiday gifts?
This would be a good time to say, there’s still time to gift a signed copy of one of my books to yourself or a friend for Christmas. Order HERE.
Things Momma Says:
I outgrew my coat over the summer.
As another year (and another Sunday Letter) comes to a close, again I thank you for joining me here. Your comments, page likes, and shares, AND the reviews you’ve written and posted for my three books are a gift to me every day.
I wish you a very merry month full of Christmas cheer, and hope you share a bit of your good fortune with those suffering from loss, illness, and unfortunate circumstance.
Grace Grits and Gardening
Farm. Food. Garden. Life.