Easy recipes and decorating put the focus on fun and family at Christmastime.

Casual Celebration (menu)

My family, the McNeils, celebrates every Christmas at our Double Mac Ranch in Weimar, Texas. It's casual, mostly spent on the screened porch that wraps around the house and shelters our Christmas tree and dinner table. Lights are hung above the table with fishing wire to allow more room on the table.

We love great food, but we also try to keep it simple. Dad cooks quail and rib eyes on a large grill billowing with mesquite smoke. The appetizers and sides are easy to make and incorporate the flavors of the region. Dessert always includes pecan pie, but my favorite sweet ending comes when we gather around the burning pit and roast marshmallows for s'mores.

As I sit by the fire, I close my eyes and feel the breeze on my face. The air has turned cool, but my heart is warm, because our family is together for Christmas.

Texas-Style Menu: