A Simpler, Frugal Christmas Brunch

Every year for 15 years I have hosted a Christmas brunch for any family members who would like to come. When we lived in the city, all my husband’s family would come and there were years we had 15 people. Now we’re a smaller group, but I hold to the tradition.

I have to confess that I’ve really overdone this in the past, cooking three different hot items, two sweet breads and two fruits. And I liked the idea of having a little gift on each person’s plate (finding, buying and beautifully wrapping 8 to 15 little gifts = major headache).

Here’s another confession: I was enjoying it less and less each year, stressing over the cooking, preparation, and execution.

So this picture shows what it looked like this year: simple centerpiece, regular dishes, one egg dish, one sweet and one fruit plate.

And NO little gifts, nameplates, or fancy napkin rings.

You know what? I’ve not heard one thing that anyone missed. The kids never even mentioned the little gifts.

And I really enjoyed it. I think we’ve got a new tradition.

It doesn’t have to be hard or expensive to set a pretty table.

At our table here, the large plates were our wedding set (we registered for a less expensive set that went on half-price sale the month before we got married, so we received a lot!), the floral plates were bought one year at an after-Christmas sale for dirt-cheap, the goblets and pink depression glass platter were inherited from my grandmothers, and the creamer and sugar bowl were a gift.

One year I helped a friend paint and decorate her master bedroom, and she paid me with $100 cash. I took it to an antique store and bought the silver plate flatware set pictured. I love it, and it was probably a 1/3 of the price of new ones, and much better quality.

The centerpiece was simply a long plate with three candles, greens and some small vintage Christmas balls from my grandmother. I set in on a runner I had which I topped with a snowflake fabric that my friend used on the cookie plate we got a few days before (yum…).

The sweet bread was a simple raspberry crumb cake that I dressed up by putting on a cake plate and drizzling with a glaze.

Gone are the days of the individual candy cane braids…

I even went simple on the fruit, making no cranberry compote or sauce to decorate. Just sliced it up and put it on a platter.

And that’s OK.

The hot egg dish was a fairly easy recipe. I assembled them the afternoon before, stuck them in the fridge, and cooked them before the brunch.

They were yummy and satisfying.

Oh yeah, we’ve definitely started a new tradition.

One where mom doesn’t go crazy is always good.






  1. What a beautiful and elegant table! I think you are definitely on to something…Happy New Year!

  2. That does look beautiful and the egg dish looks yummy! Will you be posting the recipe?

  3. Simple is simply stunning in my book. I feel that overdoing it makes so much stress. So I too will be keeping things sweet next year. Well done you – change for the better I think.

  4. Jami@ An Oregon Cottage says:

    Thanks, all for your comments! I was thinking about putting up the recipe for the egg dish, so look for it soon.

  5. What a beautiful table and simple but delicious brunch! Christmas is coming and I am SO inspired by your brunch… will you be posting recipes for the egg dish and the raspberry crumble?

  6. Jami @An Oregon Cottage says:

    Oops, I guess I plumb forgot I said I’d post the recipe! I’ve got it on my calendar, now, though- look for it the first week of December.

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