347: How to Savor Christmas at Home, Alone, Simply Luxuriously
Wednesday December 21, 2022

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The holiday of Christmas is a festive time that arrives a mere one week before the new year begins.

The arrival of Christmas stirs up nostalgia for some, angst for others, seasonal stress for most of us and a stream of quiet hope for perhaps nearly all of us that a Christmas miracle will occur. And regardless of what we imagine it to be as November arrives and we look ahead to the final two months of the year, it is a holiday capable of being exactly as we most wish it to be when we approach it with a conscious and loving heart and mind.

Discovering and then honoring what brings us joy is a step in the direction for a most enjoyable holiday.

Nigel Slater reminds in his The Christmas Chronicles that “many of the festival’s observances date from pre-Christian times, and those who celebrate it as a purely religious event might be surprised to find out how much of the festivities hails from pagan times.” The celebration of the winter solstice just days before the 25th, the beginning of more light to our days was, again as Slater shares, celebrated long before Christmas was celebrated “Saturnalia was the Roman festival of honor of the God Saturn, with feasting lasting from December 17th to the 23rd”. And so in many ways, while religious or not, spiritual or atheist as Slater shares he is happily, we all borrow from each of the reasons to celebrate during this Christmas time of year, and that too is something to celebrate.

I had planned on posting on an entirely different topic for today’s episode/post, but in the days and weeks leading up to curating this episode, I found myself becoming increasingly excited about my own plans for Christmas. Knowing that how I am choosing to celebrate is a less celebrated approach by the culture, I wanted to share because as I wrote in the December chapter of my book The Road to Le Papillon, it is imperative that we celebrate all holidays that come with traditions in such a way that brings us true joy. I acknowledge that not everyone lives alone by choice as I do, but even in a household of a couple or a family, knowing and voicing and observing what brings true joy to those we love and then honoring this need in some way as you design your day of celebration is a priceless gift to give.

So day, as the final episode of 2022, the holiday episode it will be, and along with the ideas for savoring Christmas home alone simply luxuriously, today’s Petit Plaisir will be holiday inspired as well and ties in quite nicely with the theme of our conversation. While alone typically signifies one person, it can also include you and your significant other/partner/spouse or you and your household – family. Let’s take a look of how to savor Christmas by focusing on quality rather than quantity thereby elevating the entire experience.

~Note to readers: More is discussed in detail in the audio version, so do be sure to tune in. ?

1.Choose to celebrate alone

During the past three years, more than most of us had no choice but to celebrate Christmas alone, so understandably, doing so yet again, may not be enticing or desired. However, I was one of those people during the pandemic who enjoyed spending some of the holidays in my own company, but this is also coming from someone who prior to 2020 chose to spend both Thanksgiving and Christmas in my own company more than a couple of times and had, hands down, some of the best holidays in my adult years I have ever had.

Knowing you have chosen to spend Christmas Day in your own company gives you time to plan, to anticipate, to prepare and thus to then savor the day when it arrives.

Especially if we are changing our plans from previous years of spending this day with family, knowing we have communicated and perhaps shared some holiday time together earlier in December, will make the change into a holiday tradition you desire more enjoyable knowing you have prepared well, so that your conscience can be at peace.

2. Savor other holiday social outings/gatherings/volunteer activities leading up to Christmas

Christmas Day has always been a day I don’t want a grand dinner, nor do I want to dress up and throw a dinner party; however, as many of you know, I love hosting a dinner party, so it is rather how I view what Christmas Day is – cozying-in, getting snuggly and just having a wide-open day to savor the joy that has culminated over the past month or so. With all of that said, we need not wait for the actual date of the 25th to arrive to celebrate Christmas. No, no, no, no!

As I know many TSLL readers do, plan a special lunch or dinner date with your dear friend or friends to exchange gifts. During the past couple of years, my dear friend Veronique and I have done this, and dined at a favorite European-cuisine restaurant here in Bend, enjoying sparkling wine and oodles of conversation as the hours pass by, only remembering at the end to exchange our gifts because we’ve been talking so much! 🙂

3. Do something special on either the 23rd or the 24th

Every year I have done something slightly or significantly different, but these two dates are the special ones for me when it comes to soirées, hosting a dinner, going out to dinner and splurging, seeing something special with family or dear friends.

Every year as a child, Christmas Eve was the BIG dinner at my parents’ house in which we and our guests would dress up for and we kids would do so obediently because we knew soon we would be in bed awaiting Santa’s arrival. Now as an adult, the energy of the season is palpable and spending time with others, more than a handful is something even this introvert enjoys because it only happens once a year.

One year, in fact the last Christmas season I was in my house in eastern Oregon (Pendleton), I threw a soirée and more people came than I imagined, and it turned out to be one of the most beautiful memories of my time living in this home with the people attending from my neighborhood, my colleagues at school and my brother and his wife. It was held on Christmas Eve Eve (the 23rd), and it was perfect timing as then I had time to decompress on the 24th and look forward to a quiet Christmas Day.

This year, I am excited to be able to enjoy a full five course meal and share the meal at my neighbors’, along with my own, respective houses as we will be enjoying a progressive dinner, and since we all live either next to each other or on the same street, we need only walk a couple house-lengths to enjoy the next course. The clean-up is less, the cost for each of us is more affordable, and as the weather looks to be snowy, it will be safer to imbibe and thoroughly just enjoy the evening. I cannot wait!

4. Plan your Christmas meal – brunch, dinner, dessert, etc.

As you will be in your own company and can dine whenever you prefer, decide what meal you want to enjoy and then do so at your leisure. Brunch is always a must-have on Christmas with pastries, eggs, a meat of choice – sausage or bacon, perhaps a Bellini and paired with The New York Times annual Puzzle section, I will be enjoying a good long meal in my pajamas, of which doesn’t take that long to cook. Speaking of pajamas . . .

5. Select your favorite pajamas and have them ready to be worn

As it is quite cold in Bend, I enjoy wearing linen pajamas, and make sure they are freshly laundered and pressed. Just knowing you are wearing something comfortable and warm that you will likely be wearing part, if not all of the day, eliminates the guilt of doing something that is quite foreign to most of us, but something to savor on this special day.

6. Stuff the stockings for your four-legged companions

My pups each have their own stocking, and while Nelle doesn’t know the fun that is in store for her just yet, both Norman and Oscar loves/d their stockings, and as you can see below, waited patiently to explore the contents each year.

7. Don’t forget to give yourself a gift

While no doubt you have already shopped and wrapped and delivered your gifts for loved ones, even filling out holiday cards to send to personal and professional contacts and acquaintances you are grateful to have in your life, be sure to remember to include yourself on Santa’s list to shop for.

Whether the gift to yourself is tangible (a nice Trudon candle) or not (purchase those tickets for your trip next year, or put the deposit on the vacation rental), give yourself something you’ve been dreaming about and maybe wouldn’t purchase freely any other time of the year.

8. Make plans to do something unique/special on Christmas Day

Whether you stay home and take part, attend an event locally or pop up to the mountain to go skiing if snow is in your backyard as it is mine, have a plan to do something special on this day. This will get you up and give you an opportunity to move and perhaps exercise and just looking forward to enjoying this special something is a joy in and of itself.

9. Plan a special evening ritual to savor

As shared above in #4 if you have already planned on either a brunch, a lunch or a dinner, I would encourage to also include a delicious evening-into-the-night treat. What I will be up to after having a good brunch, then a jaunt to the mountain or a long walk in the snow somewhere nearby, is enjoying a slice of homemade Bu1che de Noël that I will be making a few days earlier, paired with hot cuppa or maybe a sip or two of cognac and enjoying whilst sitting by the fire, reading a bit from a book that is calling my name to suit whatever mood I am in, and then watching a bit of the new series that is this week’s Petit Plaisir (see below).

A preview of what I hope I can recreate in my own kitchen. This was my mother’s Bûche de Noël made, and we all enjoyed, last Christmas Eve.


Wishing you a wonderful, happy and merry Christmas this coming Sunday (and a Happy Hanukkah as well). Thank you for stopping by and look for a new episode on Wednesday January 4th, 2023.


Petit Plaisir

~A Storm for Christmas, Netflix limited series


~The Simple Sophisticate, episode #347

~Subscribe to The Simple Sophisticate:  iTunes | Stitcher | iHeartRadio | YouTube | Spotify | Amazon Music

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30 thoughts on “347: How to Savor Christmas at Home, Alone, Simply Luxuriously

  1. Sounds absolutely delightful. I wish you all the best and await with anticipation how you will celebrate the new year.

    1. Welcome to TSLL Dawn! 🙂 You I think are inquiring about the Memberships? Simply click here on this link – https://thesimplyluxuriouslife.com/subscribe – there are two TIERS – Basic and Top – and different price plans for each to fit your schedule and budget. Let me know if you have any questions and thank you for stopping by!
      I also welcome you to begin on this page, the Introductions page, to get to know all that you can find here on TSLL (there is an abundance ;:)). https://thesimplyluxuriouslife.com/starthere/

    2. Dawn, I just remembered, you are a TOP Tier member already! Can you share specifically what you were looking for on the Show Notes for today’s episode, and I will make sure you find it. I believe I have already included everything, but I must have missed something and am happy to help. 🙂

  2. Shannon, thank you for this post, lots to think about and include. For 3rd year in a row, I am choosing to spend Christmas at home with Scout, Quattro and Amato. I usually spent it with family prior to 2020 but the thought of chaotic travel etc has made me rethink. I am working Christmas Eve, have already planned my Xmas meal and am looking forward to a hike with Scout on Christmas Day.
    I got COVID two weeks ago, mild case and am already testing negative. But it made me slow down, isolate and with it came a tremendous sense of calm.
    I may include a movie outing but really not making any firm plans, it is so stress less. Have a wonderful Christmas to you and your readers and looking forward to the new year with all of its potential.

    1. Josanne, I think you have a wonderful Christmas in store, and your pup and cats will enjoy it as well. 🙂 Glad to hear you now have tested negative – no matter how severe, getting Covid is not fun and quite limiting as we all know, but it sounds like you turned it into a positive. 🙂 I will be thinking of you all on Christmas and thank you for the love for my pups. xo

    2. Dear Josanne, I am happy you are recovering from Covid. If nothing else, the isolation of the last couple of years has taught us patience and given us some insight as to how we want to live a more intuitive life. The calm and reduced stress that normally surrounds our Holidays now can be our new normal. May your Christmas be the bright light of the season.

      1. Lucy, thank you so much for your comment. I was explaining to my nephew that I don’t remember ever feeling such calm and contentment in my life You are correct the past few years have made many of us slow down and as Shannon always tells us, live in the present. Have a wonderful Christmas, sounds from your post that you have great plans that you get to savor. Happy New Year.

    3. Josanne sorry to hear you had the dreaded C but glad you’ve tested negative. Hope you have a lovely Xmas. A hike is a great way to work up an appetite or work off the Xmas meal ?. Kameela?

  3. Wonderful suggestions whether Christmas is spent alone or with others.

    Have you watched the new series Three Pines on Amazon Prime? It’s based on the novels by Louise Penny featuring Inspector Gamache. We’re enjoying it so far. If you’ve mentioned here on the blog, I missed it.

    1. Mary, thank you for reminding me about this new series! No, I haven’t shared it yet on the weekly This & That, but it continues to pop up for my attention. Thank you for sharing that you are enjoying it!

    2. Oh Mary, Three Pines is a great series, I am looking forward to the next season. The problem for me is that I forget about some of my favorites after waiting for months, sometimes years for the follow-up! I have neglected to keep my To-Do journal lately. I list books, cookbooks, movies I want to watch, and television series, many of my listings I gather from Shannon’s This and That’s.

      I hope you have a wonderful holiday and just absorb the joy of the season and the gratitude for a life we constantly groom to be the best one possible for us.

  4. Thank you for such a great post. As my family has dwindled to just a handful, my Christmas Day Dinner is still the sentinel event of our celebrations. However, I now have time to be able to savor the fine points of decorating, cooking, and just being. I plan special brunch celebrations for us (and Lola of course) and a special trip to our local conservatory to view the outstanding flowers and animated figures. We bundle up, jump in the car, and cruise about the neighborhoods to see the lights and honor those families who use the displays to support charity causes.
    May your progressive dinner be a joyful one, may the pups be thrilled with the contents of their stockings, and may you enjoy a well-earned rest to recharge and just Be.

    1. Lucy I’m pleased to see that your Xmas meal is the sentinel of the day. Same here. Like you our numbers have dwindled over the years but I still prepare lots of goodies which I also give as gifts. I appreciate home made gifts as such thought and effort have been put into them .Our celebrations start on Xmas Eve and continue well on to the day itself. I love the run up to the day itself and this year after the last two years we have one of our sons here with us which is just wonderful . I love helping out our local charity preparing the Xmas boxes to cheer up people in our community. Our Xmas illuminations are second only to Paris so that’s a highlight of the holidays Wishing you and yours a lovely Xmas. Kameela??

  5. A movie I like to watch at Christmas, along with You’ve Got Mail & The Holiday, is While You Were Sleeping w Sandra Bullock & Bill Pullman. All Lucy (Sandra Bullock) wants for Christmas is a family. Since I’m a Bill Pullman fan, it’s not hard to see why she falls for him.

    1. Cathy, another great one! Bill Pullman is a favorite of mine as well. 🙂 In fact, I have a Petit Plaisir I will be sharing next month that he stars in, a film I didn’t know about from quite a few years ago. I think you will enjoy it. Stay tuned! 🙂

  6. Shannon your Christmas plans sounds wonderful unique to you I’m a Xmas impostor.
    I shouldn’t be celebrating at all as I was brought up a Muslim and grew up in a multicultural community where all religious festivals were enjoyed regardless. I LOVE Xmas I used to dream of Father Xmas coming down the chimney with presents. Only thing was we lived in the tropics and our house did not have a chimney! Whether we’re celebrating alone or in numbers it should be a pleasurable celebration . Circumstances change and we adjust accordingly Our large gatherings have dwindled over the years and this year we are thrilled to have one of our adult sons with us. For me it’s about the season not just the day. I love the run up to.Xmas preparing all the favourite traditional foods Making home made cards, candles and other decorations. In France Xmas is a family celebration so we enjoy seeing our friends for soirées in the two weeks before the 25th. I spend time with our local charity preparing Xmas boxes for those people who need some cheering up. I also enjoy the beautiful illuminations which last well into January.
    I hope that Father Xmas is very generous to you Norman and Nelle. ( they are so gorgeous together ) Wishing you all and the TSLL community a peaceful Xmas. Kameela ? ?

    1. Kameela,

      I hope Father Christmas is very generous to you especially this holiday season. 🙂 I always enjoy hearing about your rituals in France. Thank you for all that you have shared. xo

    2. Dear Kameela, Christmas imposter, I love it! I see no problem in celebrating traditions specific to other cultures and faiths. We also honor other faiths in my area because this is a multicultural city originally settled by European immigrants. Each settled into “neighborhoods” and didn’t really cross their boundaries much except at Christmas or Hanukkah. However, since the 1960s our universities have broadened our world, our hospitals, and our neighborhoods. We look for any reason to celebrate and honor each other’s heritage.
      I hope you have a beautiful celebration and I am sure your gift boxes will be a great treat.

  7. Thank you for this well-timed writing. I am struggling a bit this year, and don’t really know the reason. We have been going with out two daughters and their families to a cabin, where we have our Christmas, hike, and eat too much. The grandbabies are ages 6, 8 & 10 and tons of fun…but coming home and realize no one is coming to our house Christmas Day I just can’t put my finger on it. I realize how many of the old family members are no longer here, my mom’s health continues to deteriorate and…I just don’t know. I also retired this year, and have yet to really find my footing, having been running like a madwoman for 20 years ;). I appreciate the thought put into this, and since you initially were going to post on something else, maybe it is exactly what I need to hear! Merry Christmas~~~

    1. Sending you much love during the holidays this year. Be kind to yourself and savor doing what brings you joy. I know you will find it. Thank you for your comment as I know each of us go through transition periods during our lives, while unique to each of us, similar feelings that take time to understand. Bonne sant. ??

    2. You speak to many who have lived this stage of life as well as those who are just discovering the stress of the evolution of our families. Often we are at a loss to define how these changes evolved and how we are to cope with the emotions associated with dwindling families, children off to live their own lives, and dealing with aging and infirm parents. A friend and I spent the afternoon delving into a similar situation. While I have moved past this chapter in my life, she is just entering this unknown and untested area of stress. We reached no firm conclusion as if we really would, but just sharing and exploring the feelings we have makes us a little more confident in how to approach our lives.
      May you enjoy what is presented to you and may you find your new niche in retirement, be patient, it is out there and might just be around the corner.

  8. Shannon, thank you for providing this space; you and others have been so kind and generous! It’s good to share reflections with those who have come thru it. I sincerely appreciate everyone’s time and consideration~~~~

  9. Shannon, the plan for the progressive dinner sound fantastic! 🙂 Which course are you doing?

    This year we are also celebrating alone – a deux, that is – after a prior visit to my parents-in-law. After the hardest years of the pandemic, we all found that, after experienced this change in our usual modus operandis by external imposition, actually this new way of doing things works much better for everyone involved and it is way way less stressful, hence way way more enjoyable…

    We are about to start – by listen to Bach’s Weihnachtsoratorium-, so this is probably the shortest comment that I wrote in 2022. 😉

    Happy Christmas, Shannon, and everyone! See you in 2023 – back in a jiffy! 🙂

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