1 My Christmas Eve started with an early appearance on NBC's "Today Show" with all the hosts learning last minute entertaining ideas. Everyone really loved my eggnog recipe. Please note the lovely scenes of my Bedford farm that were blown up for the backdrop!
2 I made appointments for myself at Mario Badescu—leg waxing, facial, manicure—to ready myself for a week in Palm Beach and spent the evening at Alexis' apartment. Alexis, Jude, Truman, Kevin Sharkey and I had a wonderful dinner and exchanged presents. This is Alexis' beautiful tree for the children.
3 I received this beautiful card from Truman. He's 2 3/4 and he already knows his letters, and he knows how to spell some words in English and Spanish. Both kids are fluent in Spanish.
4 Alexis wrapped all her presents so wonderfully this year—in red and gold and silver to mimic the tree—she used different alphabet letters to stick names on the gifts.
5 The polka dot paper was especially effective.
6 Alexis used red seam binding for some of the bows—she learned that from an early story in our magazine.
7 Alexis even found giant glittered initials for one present for Jude and Truman.
8 Uncle "Tio" Kevin received an entire Sonos sound system for his apartment. He was thrilled.
9 The children's playroom was where the tree was set up. Educational wall clings of the solar system, maps and all sorts of learning tools are everywhere one looks—great for early learning! Notice the orrery of the sun and earth on the cupboard.
10 All the kids gifts were learning toys, like this toy for learning fractions. Jude immediately learned up to the twelfths.
11 This was another really great toy: a box cleverly fitted with all sorts of latches and locks that are commonly found in homes and outbuildings. Truman mastered all of them and was very happy to spend time doing so.
12 I loved my presents wrapped in gold and tied with lavish satin ribbons.
13 Alexis saves all the ribbons and recycles them for use in the future.
14 I couldn't wait to open this very large gift wrapped in polka dots. What could it be??? Actually it was a beautiful map of Mount Desert Island constructed from thin layers of wood and layered as if it were a topographic map.
15 Kevin's gifts to me so wonderfully wrapped and beribboned.
16 I received a fabulous white truffle for Christmas from a friend—in comparison to a penny it was huge!
17 Alexis used it on top of delectable fettucine for Christmas Eve dinner.
18 On Christmas Day, Alexis, Kevin and the kids came to Bedofrd for brunch, a hike and more presents. Kevin and Truman walked down to the donkeys to give them Christmas apples.
19 Jude ran down to the pasture to give sugar cubes to the horses and to see her new pony, Ben Chunch.
20 On the way, she stopped to see the peacocks who have grown so much.
21 I put down the old fur-coat blankets on the floor in front of a warm fire—Alexis and the kids enjoyed the warmth while I cooked lunch.
22 Jude was so beautiful after a morning outdoors.
23 Truman, too, was so happy counting fireplaces in Spanish and playing with Mommy.
24 I cut all the blooming cymbidium orchids in the greenhouse and gave them to Kevin for his apartment—he was staying in NYC for the holidays.
25 I set the lunch table in the kitchen. I found a trove of pink camellias blooming in the greenhouse and used them on the table.
26 I served big Idaho potatoes, roasted in the oven, and topped them with butter, sour cream and lots of caviar.
27 I also baked two big gruyere and parmesan cheese souffles. The paper collars help the souffles rise without toppling over.
28 This is a good closeup of the big souffle. It was perfection!!!!!
29 And obviously, everyone loved it.
30 I also broiled some baby Colorado lamb chops (with rosemary, olive oil, salt and cracked black pepper) from Pat La Freida. They were so good.
31 Alexis took the kids on another walk to see the livestock. Ben and Sasa were happy with more attention.
32 Kevin stepped in some deep mud and the kids loved scrubbing his boots clean in the stable.
33 They were very thorough—Kevin is fastidious, you know. And so is Jude by the way!