This is Christmas

Each of us has our own style and way of celebrating this holiday season. It is a beautiful and magical time. Christmastime.

Being closer to this wonderful day, I wish to stop and think. To embrace all senses… sight, taste, smell, hearing, touch… of this season again.

This is a check-in for ourselves. It can be overwhelming with the hustle and bustle. It can also be humbling and being grateful with the simple-ness of just enjoying one’s self.


Sylvia Vartan with Sylvia’s Simple Life lives in Toronto, Canada, and writes a beautiful blog about life’s simple pleasures. She shares stories and embraces the season of December and Christmastime. Sylvia provides a list to connect (or re-connect) to the season and Christmas activity.


“Cold, but cozy. Festive and delicious. Full of simple living and celebrations. My December…


“The jazzy Christmas melodies of Chris Botti’s trumpet come to life while the pleasant smell of ginger, oranges and cinnamon travels from the kitchen to the dining room only to settle into my nose and slowly let my mind drift back to good memories… I am glad, perhaps even happy, at this very moment… Life seems full – sticky and flavourful as the chocolate cookie dough in my hands. Life seems to be the most involved factory right now, assembling a tiny army of small joys and anticipations. My mind is incubating ideas while my hands are arranging bundles of evergreens on a grapevine wreath frame. I feel wise (O. Henry’s The Gift of the Maggi kind of wise) and my heart is overflowing with passion – a happy worker in the factory. Two very special helpers, one – tall, handsome and smart, the other – hungry, also handsome and excited make everything easy, and meaningful, and bright and awesome… The cookies are little burnt and the wreath is a little unrefined. But regardless, they sure make the spirit high and sure smell a lot like Christmas. And that smells a lot like….well, LIFE. The one that resides in the beauty of imperfection and shines in the shimmering little moments of blissfulness.”


“There is joy, heart lifted in kindness, humility and wonder. There is beauty, love and generosity. There’s a tingly Christmassy feeling in the air. And there will be more – December is not even at its end.”

“And if you haven’t brought some of the old-fashioned holiday spirit into your life, my simple list of how to be full of it goes pretty much like this…”


* Return your holiday books to the shelves and read the classic Christmas stories and poems.
* Listen to Christmas music and sing out loud the lyrics. 
* Send out Holiday cards with handwritten messages. 
* Join up with family and friends (call relatives long-distance, host a dinner)
* Make a wreath and hang it somewhere in your house (find a holiday workshop and take part).
* Cut down your own Christmas tree and decorate it with handmade or vintage ornaments. Breathe in the smell of real evergreen. 
* Decorate your home if you feel like doing it; if not- the simple prettiness of a single pine branch in a vintage bottle would be enough.  
* Watch some great Christmas movies while sipping hot chocolate or mulled wine. 
* Stare into a cracking fire so it warms your eyes and heart. 
* Prepare and give homemade/edible gifts. 
* Donate some of your time to those in need.
* Simmer potpourri of orange, cinnamon, cloves and vanilla to make your home smell warm and cozy.
* Bake cookies, scones, pies, shtolen, bread, fruit cakes and all sort of holiday recipes, old & new. 
* If there is snowfall, take a walk into the woods, make snow angels.
* Watch your dog enjoy the mounds of snow. 
* Go family skating.  
* Visit Christmas Markets – those European type of markets where Christmas renews itself by reaching into forgotten childhood memories. 
* Do a tradition that you might have. If you do not have a tradition, this year is the time to make one.
* Be a great example of enthusiasm and love to your children. 
* Be present and pay attention to miracles.
* Create your own miracle. 
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Photography: Sylvia Vartan

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