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At Home With Jim Moxham and Ellen Golka Moxham

The couple welcomes Ranch & Coast to their Bankers Hill home, where they are ready for the return of friends, family, and beloved traditions

Two trees flanking the fireplace are decorated in a woodland theme with ornaments the Moxhams have collected over 45 years
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Two years ago, Jim Moxham and Ellen Golka Moxham decorated their Bankers Hill home for the holidays in anticipation of welcoming Ellen’s family from Alberta, Canada, where she was born, and Jim’s family from the East Coast and Los Angeles. They were also preparing for Ellen’s upcoming April 2020 recognition as a Woman of Dedication by The Salvation Army’s Women’s Auxiliary. But the pandemic postponed that event several times, as well as the Moxhams’ plans to celebrate Ellen’s achievements, Easter, and Christmas with family. So, instead of taking their Christmas trees down, the Moxhams kept them up — for two years — as symbols of hope for brighter days, and festivities, to come.

Jim Moxham and Ellen Golka Moxham at the entrance of their Bankers Hill home
Jim Moxham and Ellen Golka Moxham at the entrance of their Bankers Hill home

This year, the Moxhams look forward to once again hosting family and friends for intimate suppers in their festive dining room, and small gatherings in the courtyard of their 1906 Craftsman-style redwood bungalow. When the couple relocated to San Diego in 1981, they fell in love with their “treehouse,” a hilltop home with a wraparound deck overlooking a canyon landscaped with rows of jade plants and a grove of towering eucalyptus trees. The grounds are also home to birds, owls, and other wildlife.

To get ready for the holidays, Ellen enlisted the help of a cadre of talented artistic friends with whom she has collaborated on such philanthropic events as The Charity Ball, which she co-chaired in 2016 in honor of fellow Canadians Ernest and Evelyn Rady, The Wednesday Club fundraisers, and parties for the San Diego Yacht Club, where Jim once served as commodore. The team had plenty to work with, drawing from the Moxhams’ extensive holiday décor, “a blend of family treasures that have been gifts, handmade, or purchased over the past 45 years,” says Ellen, who is a big fan of after-Christmas sales.

Travis Rogers of Floral Palette trimmed a pair of “winter wonderland” Christmas trees flanking the fireplace with French blue, silver, and gold ornaments, gilded birds and owls, netting, and ribbons in a woodland theme. Jewelry designer Pamela Pogue and Ellen’s artistic friend Dionne Carlson created Santa and reindeer vignettes topping the antique high boy in the living room and dining room buffet. A festive holiday table sparkles with crystal and vintage, hand-painted china centered with an arrangement of red and green hydrangeas and burgundy dahlias from Floral Palette. Ellen added English Christmas crackers, or “poppers,” filled with tiny prizes.

Two trees flanking the fireplace are decorated in a woodland theme with ornaments the Moxhams have collected over 45 years
Two trees flanking the fireplace are decorated in a woodland theme with ornaments the Moxhams have collected over 45 years

Her “recipe” for a holiday party begins with Champagne by the fireplace with rosemary walnuts (rosemary, for “remembrance”) and smoked salmon bruschetta with dill followed by an easy, make-ahead Christmas Eve supper. The menu includes consommé, a salad with mandarin oranges, pomegranate, and slivered almonds, and a tourtiere, a French-Canadian meat-and-potato pie with rhubarb and onion relish. For dessert, she serves “snowballs,” scoops of vanilla ice cream topped with shredded coconut, hot fudge, or a sauce of chilled raspberry Chambord accompanied by shortbread, gingerbread cookies, and Nanaimo bars, a no-bake, three-layered Canadian confection. “Everyone came home for the holidays,” Ellen says, reflecting on Christmases past. “Our beloved family recipes and traditions have mingled and continue to bring joy.”

The Moxhams decorated a festive dining room buffet, bar cart, and table for holiday gatherings. The table is set with vintage, hand-painted china, sparkling glassware, and flowers from Floral Palette
The Moxhams decorated a festive dining room buffet, bar cart, and table for holiday gatherings. The table is set with vintage, hand-painted china, sparkling glassware, and flowers from Floral Palette

A clinical psychologist, Ellen advocates for the most vulnerable through her work in the areas of homelessness, mental health, and children’s causes. She was finally honored in September as a Woman of Dedication for her volunteerism with Rady Children’s Hospital, ARCS (Achievement Rewards for College Scientists) Foundation, The Wednesday Club, and the YMCA, which gave her its highest tribute, the Golden Triangle Award. Jim, CEO of Cameron Brothers, a property development and asset management company, has had a successful career in commercial real estate development. He has held leadership roles in his industry and has served on the board of the Mission Valley YMCA. An avid sailor, Jim sailed the world as a young man and became the fourth generation of Moxhams to serve as a yacht club commodore. He and Ellen are 40-year members of the San Diego Yacht Club.

As the couple prepares for the holidays, they are filled with anticipation. “We yearn to rekindle that spark of happiness and pure joy that comes from sharing the holidays with those we cherish,” Ellen says. “We hope the festive spirit of our home warms hearts and inspires others to celebrate family and friendships, too. For us, absence makes the heart grow fonder.”

Featured Photo Two trees flanking the fireplace are decorated in a woodland theme with ornaments the Moxhams have collected over 45 years
Image Credits Photography by Vincent Knakal

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