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The November Calendar… The Beginning Of The Holidays…

In my world this is the week that starts it all off… the holidays, the end of the year… the celebrating… Thanksgiving and the olive harvest usually coincide…and even though we, as a family, don’t celebrate Thanksgiving… I feel simpatico… My November markers on the calendar are important and meaningful times of the year… Next week is my wedding anniversary… and before I can fully savour all that has passed in this eleventh month, it is December and Christmas all the way…

So about now I take notice of holiday ideas… the lights are going up in London, the decorations are appearing in the shop windows and the magazines are full of gift ideas… France is a little slower but it’s happening… and next week when I am in Paris for our anniversary I hope that the ‘city of love’ is fully festive and twinkling her pretty lights… I love to savour the holidays, the Christmas spirit… I don’t want to greedily devour all the thought, creativity and preparations… I want the feelings of thankfulness, of reflection, of wonder… of joy and happiness to last…

To kick of the holiday spirit… a couple of fabulous videos that are scooting around… Barneys in New York and Selfridges in London… so different and in a way quite representative of these two major and equally wonderful cities…

This one, directed by fashion photographer Bruce Weber, has a quaint mix of the old fashioned and the contemporary… with a tag line, ‘Not Your Usual Christmas’… Very British, very London… and very festive… I am a fan of Weber’s work so this one really appeals… and besides if you aren’t humming, ‘ I saw three ships come sailing by…’ just a little… I will be surprised… View’Not Your Usual Christmas’  here

And this one… ‘Electric Holiday’ a collaboration between Barneys and Disney… New York fashion Minnie… cool and chic representing the ‘who is who’ of fashion… it is clever, it is fun and despite some negative press… I love it… View ‘Electric Holiday’ here

So tell me… which one for you… the classic with a twist or the Disney with an edge? xv


My first gift ideas this season… I never tire of giving or receiving books… they are more often than not my hostess gift of choice and they are always way up on my Christmas lists… These Bruce Weber books are visual treats and creatively so inspirational… These two are my very favourites of his…

 Bruce Weber… A House Is Not A Home… here

(an old edition and often only available second hand… but well worth searching for)

Bruce Weber… Blood, Sweat and Tears… here

To read more from French Essence click here

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31 Responses to The November Calendar… The Beginning Of The Holidays…

  1. Rosalie Carmichael says:

    Loved the Minnie Mouse clip. How we all like to see ourselves beautifully dressed and loved by our bloke, fellow, chap, main man, beau, husband, partner. Looking forward to spending time with my bloke, daughters, son in law and grandchildren at Christmas. My Denmark, Australia daughter will be hosting Christmas this year. Rosalie

  2. Pamela says:

    Dear Vicki
    The US cartoon is very clever and sophisticated but it doesn’t really celebrate Christmas. It seems to be more about spotting the fashion celebrity.

    The UK cartoon does capture a feeling of Christmas. Wonderful that it’s in black and white so it’s more subtle and also very clever. Quite evocative with the London bus and taxi and the falling snow flakes, the ballerina (reminding us of The Nutcracker), the messages of peace and happiness, the racial mix, and the dear little girl, even the puppies. The commerce is stil there in the presents and grande luxe but the cartoon is also a celebration of love and happiness for many different people.
    Very often now there is a kind of political correctness in the avoidance of the real message of Christmas, the celebration of the birth of the Christ child. So it’s encouraging that the message is there, even though discreetly, in the play of stars (evoking the Star of Bethlehem) and the beautiful Christmas carol. With best wishes, Pamela

  3. Paul says:

    Love the Bruce Weber video Vicki, the John Lewis ad is also great this year. I’m off to look at your book selection.

  4. Karen in CT says:

    Hi Vicki … another great post to spark the start of my day. Thank you as always. I liked them both but love the Selfridges clip, it’s just magical and the Three Ships tune is going on my Christmas iPod quickly.

    I also liked the Disney, and don’t understand the negative press. I think having dreams of another world is healthy, as long as we are happy with who we are. Don’t we all wish sometimes we could split outselves and go down another path for just a day or two?

    Hooray to the start of the season … the tree is being decorated in Rockefeller Center this week.

    Happy Anniversary,

    Karen in CT

  5. Rena says:

    To sustain the spirit of Christmas is so important and I can feel your anticipation. You are adorable Vicki. I wish you also an unforgettable wedding anniversary in Paris.

  6. Excellent Vicki. I enjoyed both clips, but leaning towards the first one: It is magical, and puts me in celebrating mood… Who would not love that darling little girl? As for the second one, oui, it is clever, but a bit of a private joke… Not everyone will get the references in it. I did enjoy seeing Carrie Bradshaw – twice, I believe – and Minnie was cute, but… The first clip, definitely. It has more of a holiday vibe… As for gifts, too early to think about it, even though… i found my Christmas gift in Soho yesterday… I should have never stopped shooting these beautiful cast iron façades to set a foot inside the gorgeous Longchamp concept boutique… Sigh… :-) Veronique (French Girl in Seattle – exceptionally French Girl in New York city for a few days :-) PS: Was at Anthropologie in the Chelsea Market yesterday and a book titled “French Essence” was all over the place!

  7. Amy Kortuem says:

    I think the holidays start now, too. Late November when the light is changing and the landscape is becoming bare and beautiful. It’s why I choose to have my holiday harp concert in late November – to start the season in a beautiful, contemplative and joyful way!

    Looking forward to the inspiration you’ll share this season. You always find such beauty.

  8. mary says:

    Hi Vicki, Happy Anniversary. I can only imagine the adventures that the two of you have shared. Can’t wait to see photos of the Mas decorated for this season. Sending tons of love!

  9. Karen in CT says:

    Vicki … a couple random things … saw this on another blog Perfume Shrine, a re-do of what they are calling Chanel’s “catastrophic Brad Pitt No.5 campaign”

    and … I stopped into the bookstore yesterday and looked at the new Charlotte Moss book … A Visual Life, Scrapbooks, Collages and Inspirations … it’s going on my Christmas list.


  10. Karena says:

    Vicki I love both videos for different reasons! The wondrous traditions of the first and the fun of the fashion world in the second. I have just started getting in the mood!

    What can be better than a book to gift for the holidays!

    Giveaway from Scalamandre!

  11. Both video’s were divine! + Happy annivsary. xxpeggybraswelldesign.c

  12. Anita Rivera says:

    Good morning Vicki dear! I am taking it easy this year on the decorations and celebrations, and taking a back seat observation of it all. I am tired, I am a bit down, and need to find myself again. But it is OK. To step back and reevaluate oneself is the right step forward. Lovely photos! Anita

  13. Marielle says:

    You’ve certainly brightened my day. Had to share Selfridges video with my granddaughters. Thank you.

  14. Gina says:

    I love books as a gift idea also

  15. Cathy says:

    Loved them both. Happy Anniversary. Have a wonderful time in Paris. I hope you have a lovely place chosen to celebrate your day.

  16. Isn’t this a magical time of year? We were in Spain in November last year and it was so much fun to watch the lights go up in Barcelona. I’m going to thoroughly savor Thanksgiving before turning my attention to Christmas, but a few decorations have already been finding their way home with me and are ready to brighten our home. Enjoy the magic, Vicki, and happy anniversary! XO

  17. Lorrie says:

    The Selfridges video is my favourite, hands down. I love the falling snow, the stars and lights, and the evocation of love and joy throughout. The other video is fun, but as another commentator mentioned, not all (including me) would get the references. And it had nothing to do with Christmas. Now I’m going to watch the first one again.

    Have a wonderful anniversary celebration in the city of light!

  18. Love the first clip Vicki. I’ll be in England for Christmas this year and am looking forward to a few trips into crazy London, but mostly looking forward to my sleepy little village, the Xmas village pantomime (Beauty and the Beast), midnight mass in out 14C church, walks along the Thames and Oxford in all its Christmas glory.

  19. Sandy says:

    The videos are delightful!!! Lucky you to be celebrating your anniversary in Paris!! xoxoxox

  20. Hi Vicki, I love the photo of the ballerina. The last few years I have had best intentions and ended up doing the tree etc way too late which only gave us about a week to enjoy it. I like to really clean my house first (its still spring here in Australia) as I hate putting up decorations on top of dust or exisiting cobwebs, and I love to wash all my curtains and windows so everything really sparkles. It also means summer is relatively housework free as I only need to do “normal cleaning/tiding). The trouble with all this is you are doing huge cleaning in the middle of shopping for gifts, school performances etc. This year I have gotten in early and started the spring clean a month ago. Bit by bit each room gets an overhaul, and we get rid of any clothes or toys that are past their use-by date, ready for anything new we may get at xmas. I am hoping to have it all ship shape by the first of December so I can get up my tree which is huge and all the lights and other special bits. That way by new years we will be ready to dismantle it all again! I love xmas time for reflection, thanksgiving and to see the joy on my childrens faces, of course it is summer for us which makes it a real holiday time of year. Looking forward to see what you come up with this year in decorating your house xxCorrina.

  21. Jennifer says:

    The Bruce Weber was my favourite…and I am humming ‘I saw three ships come sailing by’.
    Thanks for starting off my holiday spirit.
    Have a wonderful anniversary.

  22. Wishing you very Happy Anniversary and many, many more.

    I love the first video and it makes me yearn to be in Europe for Christmas.

    Wishing you a week of joy

    Helen xx

  23. pve says:

    Loved both videos for very different reasons, the first one seemed more a vision of sugar plums…and the gathering of love at Christmas. The second seemed to poke a bit of fun at the commercial side…of fashion.
    We are preparing for Thanksgiving and I am looking forward to my sons homecoming this evening. One will be home now until the New Year. He was so incredibly helpful last year setting up our tree and helping me to find the true spirit of the holidays.
    We plan to try to keep the gifts simple and practical. A book is always welcome or a warm sweater or slippers. After a week of de-cluttering and clearing out space in my home for a full house, I am reminded to take moments to just enjoy an empty drawer, closet and know the things I have passed along create joy. Sharing the holidays is what it is all about.
    Thank you for all you share.

  24. trish Murphy says:

    Vicki I love the Not Your Usual Christmas it is fabulous and I have not heard the Saw Three Ships for years.Minnie is great but the favourite is the first clip.Looking forward to seeing your home decked out for Xmas.Happy Anniversary and have a lovely time in Paris.What me jealous! X Trish

  25. Wow. That first video is spectacular and the music…LOVE IT! Really does capture the magic and beauty of the season. The second one is just fun….and reminds us to not take ourselves too seriously:)

    Thanks for sharing..they are both worth passing along.

  26. Vicki,
    Have a lovely anniversary celebration. Fun clips, I like the first. Get ready, it’s that busy, fun time of the year! :-)

  27. Vicki says:

    It looks like we are all getting in the mood for Christmas… I can’t wait… :)

  28. Elizabeth says:

    Hello Vicki,

    I love the first video! I think that with the strange weather this year, the economy, the war, and state of the world that so many are looking for a little cheer. I have seen more Christmas trees up and people making so many more preparations for the holidays than other years. Not necessarily to go over the top for gifts but to enjoy the lights, the traditions and family and friends which is what it is all about.

    I wanted to take a minute to thank you, for your wonderful books which I love, your blog and your daily click which give me a daily dose of beauty, thought provoking text and put a smile on my face.

    Enjoy your family and friends and your time in France, Elizabeth

  29. mimi taylor says:

    I’ve seen that video. The creators did a wonderful job of making the characters so like their real life image. I could identify most of them. Happy Thanksgiving!

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