christmas, chez nous…
Posted in christmas ideas, interiors, nature December 23rd, 2015 by pia

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While others might revel in this time of year, I have felt a growing resistance to it over the years, especially the last decade. On reflection I can see there are many personal reasons for this, but I can also feel it connects with a collective consciousness as the world opens to change…

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As I’m not religious (in that I don’t follow any particular faith), I’ve always felt conflicted with celebrating Christmas in what it traditionally symbolizes. In past years we’ve just pulled back from it and done our own thing. And that was okay until we had a child… how to make this time of year retain the magic and joy for a child but also give it deep meaning that is in alignment with our family without following the hype and conformity?

I have been able to take some wonderful and small steps toward reinventing this time for my family. This year I have the emotional and physical space to create what we want and need as a family without family pressure, social or religious conformity, hype, excessive-consumption, drama or stress. For us that means rather than focus on “Christmas” as the destination, we choose to focus on the journey we’ve had together and as individuals this year. So it becomes about gentle reflection and slowing down toward the end of year rather than speeding up. And instead of just showing up and receiving, the emphasis is on the giving which also and most importantly for me includes giving care to self. For us, this time of year in our home is about creating tranquility and peace, along with strengthening the connection to earth by spending as much time in nature as possible, bringing it in and expressing gratitude for it daily…

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A few changes that I’ve been able to put in place this year include:

…being ‘just the three of us’ for the whole day of Christmas – it will be completely free of plans and be inspired by nature and the weather. Beach, mud puddles, playing with puzzles, who knows, but it will be about being together.
…Romain and I haven’t given gifts to each other for Christmas since we’ve been together and we don’t want to but I didn’t want the tree to have gifts just for Laly so – as suggested by wonderful Meg who runs the playgroup that Laly and I attend – Laly has made a gift with her Papa to give to me and her and I will make a gift for her Papa to give to him. I have also made a gift for her so each of us will receive a handmade gift. This for me has been one of the loveliest experiences and I’m thrilled to make it a new tradition.
…not visiting a single department store or mall in the lead up to Christmas. I’ve done without this for years as I only shop locally or online for handmade items, but this year I decided to make it an essential part of the preparation.
…this year I introduced an advent wreath on our table to acknowledge and express gratitude toward the mineral, plant, animal and human kingdoms on earth. Traditionally this is religious but I choose to focus on nature as the divine, and each week we light a candle for each kingdom while adding a found piece of nature that represents that realm…


…And I made a wreath from foraged flora for the front door in the first week to express gratitude for the plants we have around us…


There is much more I’d love to add and rather than strive to get it all together now, I’ll implement the shifts slowly over the years and see how they evolve as Laly grows… and I have no doubt she will want input on it all as she gets older.  I can’t wait to share all these ideas with you. Along with this I’ve been creating some beautiful projects & I look forward to sharing all of it with you later in the new year.

Processed with VSCOcam with f1 presetmaking little trees

Processed with VSCOcam with f2 presetcollecting fallen pine branches

Processed with VSCOcam with f2 presetLaly’s frangipani sculptural piece hangs in the hallway and smells delicious

In the new year I’ll be transforming my creative online space and evolving it into the next phase of my creative work. In the meantime, I’ve been having fun in my growing online store by adding some new book packages and a special digital download of the how-to projects from Little Treasures


Click here to find out more.

So this year for the first time in a very long time, I am feeling joy and gratitude and contentment about the coming few days. And although it will be the first Christmas without my Mum in my life, incredibly I feel her presence stronger than ever. I know she is here with us, I feel her love everyday and it feels amazing – like the warmest blanket on the coldest night, or the sweetest ocean breeze on a hot summer’s evening.

Last but not least, with all that I’ve learned from this year’s journey of self discovery and healing, stars have become my central theme for the holiday season because we are all made from stars…


Eternal Love,

Pia xx

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  1. Lou masters says

    So beautiful Pia, looking forward to connecting more in the new year xx

    December 23rd, 2015 | #

  2. Nicole says

    I think your idea of xmas sounds just lovely. I’ve also shied away from xmas for years now. We don’t give gifts but make an effort to have some very nice wine and a great meal with family. There is way too much focus on “presents” at xmas time. The whole “santa clause” thing sits really uncomfortably with me. I remember feeling duped as a child when I discovered he wasn’t real. I never got the point of the deception. Parents who buy into that whole scenario are doing themselves and their children a disservice. Children find joy in a great many things, they don’t need the santa myth.

    December 23rd, 2015 | #

  3. Julie @ Country Living by the Sea says

    I love what you’re doing Pia. Gradually over the years my husband and I have made changes to what we do as a family over this Christmas period. It is important to honor how you feel and to make it meaningful for you and your family. For us it’s about being together, having a relaxed and peaceful day, nice healthy food, being thankful for what we have and just a few small meaningful gifts. Wishing you and your family a happy and peaceful time and a wonderful 2016. xxxooo

    December 23rd, 2015 | #

  4. Tara says

    Such beautiful thoughts and reflections Pia. I love the idea of slowing down, embracing self care and care for others and taking some time to look back over the year, and also your ideas for keeping the magic and joy alive for little ones without the hype. I hope you have a magical time over the next few days.

    December 23rd, 2015 | #

  5. Barb McMahon says

    So beautiful!

    I told Alan about your reworking of the Advent wreath – we’re planning to make one of our own for next year. xo

    December 23rd, 2015 | #

  6. Julie @ Country Living by the Sea says

    Lovely words and photos Pia. I think it’s important to listen to your heart and celebrate this season in a way that is meaningful for you. Over the years we have gradually pulled away from family traditions and created our own. A quiet, relaxing time with just a few small presents, simple food and surrounded by nature. Wishing you a happy, peaceful Christmas. xxxooo

    December 23rd, 2015 | #

  7. Itsasne says

    Merry Xmas Pia!

    I love your take on Christmas and it’s wonderful to read this post. You’ve been on my mind as I know it’ll be your first without your mum. I’m glad that she’s still present and that you can feel her so well.

    We’ve had an advent calendar for the first time this year. Every window opens up to a description of a different way to give each other kisses! My kids have loved it!! And so have I 🙂

    Other than that, a colouring book and a reading book for each, and as little fuss as possible otherwise. I enjoy the tree, seeing lights in everyone’s homes, walks in nature, and time together more than anything.

    Much peace and warmth for the three of you xxxo

    December 25th, 2015 | #

  8. eliane says

    i have been a very still follower of your blog since house boat times and i never commented do far. now i want to thank you for those honest and inspiring lines. i am so glad that somebody can admit that she is not joining in into this christmassy hype of consumerism, indulging way too much food and spirits and exchanging mostly meaningless stuff. i think the way you do and we too managed to have a few very very silent nights and many lazy and refreshingly lonesome days. no department store, hardly any money for presents, but a few donations, just minimalistic decoration ( for the sake of our two sons, 17 & 22). how about a book from you to inspire similar minded persons and especially parents? thanks!

    January 2nd, 2016 | #

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