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Whether you are spending the holidays alone or in a smaller group of company, we have the opportunity for finding new rituals we may want to carry forward well after 2020. And even if we only want to indulge in new ideas temporarily as we weather the pandemic safely, this season is a wonderful time to do things a bit differently, but no less enjoyably.
As my neighbors and I exchanged holiday food gifts this week, each of us shared how our Christmas would be quieter, smaller and safer. And for me, I am quite looking forward to it. My Christmas will be three (not including my boys) as my parents and I each spent Thanksgiving on our own, but planned ahead to be able to be safe so we could spend Christmas together. Oscar just received his holiday bath and is looking quite sharp, Norman is eager to dig through his stocking, so we will be sure to bring those with us as they will be the ‘children’ on Christmas morning which is a delight to watch.
Today in lieu of sharing a list of things that made me smile (I will be sharing something similar in a more celebratory fashion this Saturday the 26th, so be sure to stop by), I wanted to share 10 ideas for how even in lockdown or festive celebratory limitation we can make Christmas and all our winter holidays, including New Years, something quite lovely, inspiring and worth raising our glasses to as we all say Santé (and our grateful for such). Let’s take a look.
1.Start planning your garden and purchase your vegetables seeds for 2021
Initially I had expected on planning and ordering my seeds in January, and while I still will for many flowers and perennial plants, upon reading how inundated seeds companies in America were and will be moving forward, I am taking this week to plan and order items for my vegetable garden.
Far cheaper than purchasing the plants in the spring, you can easily fill a garden and only spend $30. Below are a handful of sites to explore in the states, and be sure to check out your local businesses online.
2. Tune in to podcasts to inspire and uplift your outlook on the new year
I recently listened to Gardeners’ World’s episode with Alan Titchmarch which was all about growing your own vegetables (perhaps that was the actual catalyst for spearheading my vegetable seed shopping :)), and became all the more excited than I already am for the new year. I also learned of this podcast for those of us who enjoy living our single life – A Single Serving Podcast.
3. Sit down and stream a beautiful film
From the distant past – Indiscreet with Ingrid Bergman and Cary Grant set in London or How to Steal A Million with Audrey Hepburn set in Paris; or recent past, Quartet with Maggie Smith, Tom Courtenay, Billy Connolly and directed by Dustin Hoffman or Call Me By Your Name starring Timothée Chalamet and Armie Hammer. These are just a handful of films that not only have lovely plots and storylines, also treat the eyes to interior and exterior beauty.
4. Try cooking or baking something you’ve never made, but are curious to try
As I shared last weekend, Mince Pies are on my list of recipes to try and with the generosity of a TSLL British reader who now lives in the countryside in France sharing with me her recipe, I have even more encouragement to give it a go sooner than I thought. Thank you Kameela! 🙂
5. Travel with your ears back into history or to an imaginative place
Subscribe to Audible (enjoy the first 30 days for free) and listen to that book which you want to read, but doubt you will be able to stick with due to its length (not its content). Turn it on while you putter around the house, sit and relax and just be. I will be beginning the 50 hours of listening of Churchill: Walking with Destiny, and when I want a break from history, listening to Writers & Lovers.
6. Spruce up your stationery game
Receiving holiday cards this year feels more special than before as it is a connection to people I have not been able to see, and to know someone out there is thinking of you, just warms the heart. Even without the excuse of holiday card writing, shop around and find your signature stationery, a lovely pen, design your own return labels and organize a place in your home office for these supplies, situated in such a way to beckon you to write more often just because.
I just came across Erisha Rubingh’s stationery which remind me of Inslee, and as Inslee no longer sells cards (I used to love her Merci cards for my go-to Thank You), I have a feeling I will be welcoming this design into my office for regular correspondence (but this one caught my eye as well – bien sûr!). (check out her phone cases as well)
7. Gift yourself with the best planner for your way of living
Our lives change, our responsibilities change, we grow more comfortably into who we are, and so how we plan and live our days needs to dance with the lives we love living. I have vascillated back and forth and sideways to different styles of planners over the years. My most recent planner of choice for business and life has been Poketo’s Project planner; however, after two years of carrying around two planners – one for my personal life and another for my business, I want nothing more than to simplify. When I came across Appointed‘s planners, I had found what I needed to do both in one yearly weekly planner. (you can also find them at Nordstrom)
8. Gift yourself with a Masterclass subscription (and share one with someone else)
Recently a TSLL reader shared with me her enthusiastic recommendation of subscribing to Masterclass and taking a class taught by Poilâne’s owner Apollonia Poilâne as well as sharing the second subscription (for a limited time, you can buy two for the price of one) with her daughter. After scrolling through all of the courses, I think I may be gifting myself with this one too.
9. Begin a home project to improve the comfort and peace in your sanctuary
While I had hoped to be doing just this during my Thanksgiving holiday, I am crossing my fingers I am able to begin wallpapering my primary bedroom by the end of the year. But perhaps the unexpected wait time was a good occurrence as it solidified my decision and made me all the more excited to lighten up my sleeping space, create a bit more of a cozy welcome and make it my own.
Choose a project – large or small – which has been speaking to you as a change which will draw a sigh of pleasure and a smile of delight upon viewing it and living amongst it.
10. Turn on a cooking video series you have been wanting to enjoy
Whether luxuriating in Nigella’s new series Cook, Eat, Repeat on BBC or exploring the archives of The French Chef with Julia Child, whether to learn or simply to enjoy in the ambiance, sounds of the sizzle and discussions about food, such viewing is one of my favorite ways to savor just being in my home. Below are a few more series to explore (and of course, I can’t help but mention – The Simply Luxurious Kitchen – all three seasons are available here on the blog as well as on YouTube). Please do share a series you enjoy and would recommend.
- Nadiya’s Time to Eat (Netflix)
- Chef’s Table (Netflix)
- Lidia’s Kitchen (Amazon Prime)
- New Scandinavian Cooking (Amazon Prime)
- Nigella Bites (2001) – Amazon Prime
- Grow, Cook, Eat (Amazon Prime)
- Julia & Jacques Cooking at Home (PBS, Amazon Prime)
- Anthony Bourdain A Cook’s Tour (his first series) (Amazon Prime)
- Classic w/Mary Berry (Amazon Prime)
- The Vegan Corner (Amazon Prime)
- Alice in Paris (Amazon Prime)
Wishing you a wonderful week and a half of holiday celebration and cozying in. Stop by this Friday for the final This & That of 2020, (the free monthly newsletter will arrive in subscribers’ inboxes this Friday as well) and look for a week of round-up posts sharing the top posts and podcast episodes of the year beginning on Monday December 28th.