Here’s a fun party twist: This festive Clarkston gathering begins with an invigorating run
LOOK BOOK | christmas eve tradition
RUNNING HERE & THERE The Diver family is ready to welcome friends for their annual run-and-brunch festivities.
BACKSTORY: For 10 years, the Diver family of Clarkston has been hosting a Christmas Eve morning run-and-brunch at their modern Farmhouse-style home (and, yes, there’s a barn out back with horses, cats, goats, and more). Gretchen Diver, wife of Britt and mother of Mac, 18; Luke, 16; and Copeland, 13; owns Gingham Girl Designs, which does everything from interior design work to restoring and selling vintage pieces to making accent pillows. Every year, the creative homeowner decks her renovated home, which was purchased in 2013, with fresh swags of greenery from the Boy Scouts, family heirloom pieces, hints of plaid and burlap, and her own handmade pillows and placemats. About 30 kids and adults are invited to the Divers’ run-and-brunch for camaraderie, holiday cheer, and a kick-off to Christmas. “It started as a way to do something healthy before the indulgences of the season,” Gretchen says with a laugh. The group starts the morning with a three-mile run that begins at Depot Park in Clarkston. “Everyone brings a dish or beverage and we cook together. The kids sit in the eating area in the kitchen and the adults gather in the dining room,” Gretchen says. “We’re blessed to have amazing friends like this.”
SPECIAL MEALS: “Our dining room was originally going to be a screened-in porch, but we wanted a room that felt special for parties and dinners,” Gretchen says. “We have a huge antique table that we purchased from an elderly couple in northern Michigan. It seats 22.” All of the chairs are flea market finds that Gretchen restored.
CLASSIC BOXWOOD: Gretchen picks up fresh boxwood wreaths at the Oakland County Farmers Market in Waterford, and also puts boxwood branches in galvanized tin buckets for dining room-table accents.
CHALK ONE UP: Son Luke is the artist behind the Bloody Mary bar sign, which features chalk art of the drink of choice.
PERSONAL PLACEMATS: Gretchen makes the adult placemats, which this year feature a guest’s printed name amid holiday imagery on cotton jute material.
(NOT) TOO MANY COOKS: “Everybody cooks,” Gretchen says, explaining that fare includes pancakes, bagels, bacon, Bloody Marys (with everything from pickles and asparagus to hot sauce and hardboiled eggs), egg casseroles, cookies, and pull-apart bread.
RSVP: Friends and Clarkston residents Lisa and Paul DePillo and their family are some of the lucky invitees. “This gathering celebrates longstanding friendships and is a break from all the craziness,” Lisa says. “It’s calm, yummy, fun — a warm, comfortable, happy tradition!”
— By Megan Swoyer