Some of my favorite winter flowers to create holiday arrangements are: Amaryllis, protea, snow balls, poppies, evergreen, holly berry, and the lovely Star of Bethlehem. Note, if you are on a budget, buy one or two beautiful buds, and then fill in with lots of greenery which will make the colorful buds pop in your arrangement.
The Feast of the Seven Fishes is a popular Italian tradition, celebrated on Christmas Eve. This feast originated in Southern Italy, and the idea is to serve seven different seafood dishes. Two of the stars on this menu are often smoked eel and fried baccala. You can get very creative with variations of your dishes or even make seven different fish-based appetizers and supplement your table with antipasto and pasta.
My friend Melanie's family annually celebrates this tradition. I found this cute little hostess gift for her of copper measuring spoons. (www.anthropologie.com)
Why seven? There are many theories, one ties to the seven sacraments of the Catholic Church, others say it symbolizes the church's seven virtues: faith, hope, charity, temperance, prudence, fortitude and justice.
If you have any great recipes for this traditional feast, send them my way!