Sense and Sentiment

December 3, 2012

As Christmas approaches I say to myself… There is no need to fuss… take it easy… The children are all grown up… The decorating can step back a notch… Enjoy the festivities, live in the moment and relish the Christmas spirit… and cut down on the work… there is no need to go overboard… Wise… right? Does anyone ever listen to themselves? Not me.

In Paris I forgot all that wisdom… and struggled back to London with bags full of pretty decorations… baubles, I could not resist.. They were fragile, of course and had to be nursed and coddled like a baby… It is not as if I need decorations… but there was something about the decorations in Paris that tempted me… and besides, my eldest daughter was putting up her first Christmas tree in her first home… so that was the perfect excuse… the only one I needed… My emotional side got the better of me.

That is another thing… I also promised myself, because I travel every other week, that I would stop the transporting between London and France… no more carrying and schlepping through airports and train stations… Did I listen to my well thought out logic this week in Paris … No… Could I have found beautiful decorations for my daughter in London… Yes… The decorations made it back to London… so here they are… in London, bought from Paris and a couple will even travel back to Provence… Sense and sentimentality were never made to work hand in hand.

But it was worth it… We went out to London’s Covent Garden market and found her the prettiest tree… tall enough, wide enough… just right… A first Christmas tree is an important right of passage especially when she has more than a few of her mother’s sentimental feelings about Christmas… We decorated the tree together… around and around we went with the fairy lights and then the best part… we found exactly the right place for each and every ornament… Not too high, not too low… where they could be seen, where they could grab the light and sparkle as they should… We were covered in glitter… in our hair, on our faces… all over our clothes… all over her apartment… but that didn’t matter… I was so happy to share this ‘first’ moment with her.

Sense and sentiment… Sentiment will always be the winner with me…  xv


The Eiffel Tower… here 

Arc de Triomphe… here

 Bon Voyage… here… and here

Covered in Glitter… here

Winter Frost… here

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  • Sentiment all the way Vicki. What fun you had with your daughter and you are creating this important memory for her.


  • Anita Rivera says:

    Bonjour mon amie!

    I hear ya. For the first time ever, I told myself that this year would be more subtle, maybe not even a tree, but some branches on my mantle and that is it. But then on Friday, I visited a dear friend who has the best FRENCH SENSIBILITIES in her home decorating and my sensibilities went out the window. She has gray walls in her living and dining room with French furniture with golden trim. She simply had large pink baubles hanging from her chandelier that made such a statement that I ran home and started to bring out my baubles. I am going to clean my chandies and hand those baubles and enjoy because Christmas really is a time to bring out your very best.


    • Vicki says:

      Sounds stunning Anita… and I too would be inspired by that decor… I can’t wait to get home to France now and get mine sparkling…:)

  • Mystica says:

    Thank you for a post which makes me feel warm and fuzzy.

  • My daughter helped me decorate the tree while she was home for Thanksgiving. We had such a nice quiet time together doing that. She talked about how ridiculous she will be with her first tree…getting everything placed ‘just so’. It must be wonderful to see your daughter’s tastes and style burgeon. I look forward to all of these moments. Happy shopping!

  • Sounds like you and your daughter had the best of both cities! Holidays are meant to be special, so we can allow ourselves a little indulgence!

  • Gosh the Eiffel tower ornament is lovely. I can’t possible though, the tree will topple from the weight of all the hand-blown, vintage glass ornaments I already own!

  • mary says:

    Hi Vicki, Oh, yes! the sharing of “Firsts” with our wonderful children. Each moment is precious, and when they were babies, we thought that those moments were the most precious. I’m learning that each moment given can be the best ever.
    Enjoy the week with your “DD”.

  • Jacqueline says:

    What a lovely moment for you and your daughter Vicki. We have had a real Christmas tree every year since I was born ( and that’s a lot of years !!) We don’t normally get our tree until mid-December but, as they would all be cut by now, we decided to beat the rush and bought ours yesterday. It was a very calm experience as we got to the garden centre as they opened…… and, they had people getting them out and holding them up for us to see…..usually I make my husband drag a thousand trees out ( 7 footers as well !!) so that I can get the best one !! Our tree is out in the garden until such time as we bring it in to decorate.
    Enjoy all of your preparations and most of all, have fun ! Sending seasonal love to you and your family. XXXX

    • Vicki says:

      And to you Jackie… I can’t wait to get down to the farm and get ours up and decorated… I am in the mood now… but for the moment I am enjoying the magic of London at Christmas time… What a city… and the lights… everywhere looks like fairyland… I am going to do a late night drive around soon and make sure not to miss any…:)

  • KATHYSUE says:

    Vicki I so agree!! This time of year is the best time to make special memories and you did just that. You both will always remember this special trip and day. I no longer call my tree a Christmas tree, it is a Memory Tree, full of sweet, precious memories represented by all the ornaments, first shoes, first glasses, ornaments made by little hands, pictures on soccer buttons and baseball buttons, all precious and beautiful to my sentimental eyes.
    happy Sunday,

    • Vicki says:

      Such a perfect name … because this time of year and all that goes with it are so full of memories… I shall call ours that too…

  • KATHYSUE says:

    PS….. Vicki here is the post I wrote about our Memory Tree last year….Good Life of Design: My Merry Christmas To All Of YOU!

  • déjà pseu says:

    I’m sure you’ve created another treasured memory for your daughter…her first Christmas tree and you being there to help her decorate it. I’ll bet it’s splendid to behold!

  • How wonderful Vicki and what is carrying a couple shop bags compared to that kind of memory…..right? I am sure it looks beautiful and I bet she left the lights on all night. xx

  • Karena says:


  • Cynthia says:

    I can’t wait to see it finished.


    • Vicki says:

      It does look pretty… red and silver… with little touches of white… I think I will do the same at home… when I finally get to do ours…;)

  • So your life these days is traveling from Provence (where you live,) to Paris, then London, then back to Provence, eh? Vicki, I have to tell you: You are living my dream. :-) I would gladly swap with you even if I had to carry tons of Christmas baubles in my suitcase back and forth. Thank you for a heartwarming post! Veronique (French Girl in Seattle)

  • You are making memories that will never be forgotten…
    what else other than loving them can we do for our children?

  • Must get the tree next week-usually get it on the 15th but this year will be different. As children, we use to lay under the branches and make wishes to the tree fairies that lived there..I must do that this year! Thanks for the great post.

  • Vicki-
    This is such a sweet and touching story. It is amazing how much our children’s happiness and experiences move us. I am happy that you were able to help her decorate her first tree.
    Happy Sunday.

  • Rosalie Carmichael says:

    Vicki a woman after my own heart. Even though we will be joining our daughters and their families at Parry’s Beach this year for an Australian Christmas I put up our tree on Sat 1 Dec. A lovely trip down memory lane as I decorated the tree and placed other grouping throughout the house. Have a wonderful Christmas with God’s blessings, Rosalie

    • Vicki says:

      Enjoy your Christmas in Australia, Rosalie… I am a little homesick for Oz… so I shall be thinking of you all there in the sunshine…:)

  • I love this post! I began with the same thoughts….no tree…very few decorations….I did tone it down immensely but the designer in me doesn’t know when to quit!

  • Rena says:

    Because of the hot climate where I live,(not the only reason) I stopped to get into the X-mas mood. I had it every year many decades before and enjoyed it as you and many others do. But unfortunately now…I really miss it every year when Christmas is ahead. I know it’s up to me, but celebrate this feast means having snow, no plastic tree, cozy fireplace atmosphere and much more. So, please, retain your sense and sentiment.

    • Vicki says:

      I have had many hot Christmas celebrations… and loved those too… We ate differently and decorated differently but it was beautiful, just in a different way…

  • Cathi says:

    Sense definitely goes out the window when sentiment is involved and rightly so! Sounds like a wonderful time with your daughter! xxoo

  • That is such a precious memory. And it’s so easy to make these lovely memories at Christmas isn’t it. My little boys are still writing to a rosy cheeked man each year, asking for their hearts desire. We put their letters on the fire place where Santa removes them and leaves a gift in their stocking. I have kept all these letters, which trace so much of their changing tastes.
    All the best schlepping those irresistable ornaments … and having fun decorating several trees!! Jennifer. x

    • Vicki says:

      I am still making Santa stockings… my eldest is 27!! And the rule in our home is, ‘those who don’t believe’ don’t receive’… ;)

  • susana kerekgyarto says:

    I wish you a very Happy Christmas and around you your beloved family crew.Thank you for brightening up my life with your colours and exqusite taste in everything.I do agree with anyone who believes that Christmas is the best day of the year!
    Love from Susana

  • RAEWYN MAHER says:

    Oh MY!!
    This makes me miss my ʻbabiesʻ so much! – and the memories of 2 years ago! I am here in NZ but went to London for Christmas 2 years ago ( between earthquakes) and did just what you did – bought decorations that I loved in Paris, Rome and while I was travelling around England. We had a ball having my first winter Christmas I miss them so much. I skyped the other day to see if the tree had been put up with my beautiful decorations and gave the order that they bring them home when they come back (some hope!)
    I had bought a special decoration each year for each of the from when they were born so they could have a start of a collection when they left home but both disappeared to the other side of the world!! I am home alone with 2 sonsʻ decorations – probably their partners wonʻt want the mother-in-law contributions anyway but at least I still have a bit of them here.

    • Vicki says:

      I know the feeling… I wait for mine to disappear… because I am sure one or two of the three will… so I enjoy the Christmas times that we are together… I am sure your contributions will be the best… and they will love them… :)

  • miss b says:

    I too can never resist a few new beautiful baubles each year and how true about buying the first Christmas tree – a very special moment. Being covered in glitter – sounds like so much fun!

  • love the hand painted bauble in your photo Vicki, I can imagine that was hard to resist. How lovely to share decorating the tree with your daughter

  • classiq says:

    I can never resist a few more new decorations every Christmas. I never use them all, but buying just a few new ones every year is part of the holidays magic. :) Sentiment is always the winner with me too. :)

  • Some of my greatest joy is decorating for Christmas…as long as I am mobile I will give it my all! It might be over the top, but I love it! Glad to see you are having fun!

  • Penelope says:

    Being blessed to be a Mother holds so many first, doesn’t it? I love moments like this because as it has been said before these beautiful moments make up our lives. Enjoy this wonderful season!

  • Millie says:

    Well of course I’m not envious at all Vickie that you can do exclusive Mother & Daughter things like this. I enjoy the same with the 5 sons. I just love looking around for just the right baubles to decorate the milk crate coffee table & matching ‘trinket’ shelves in their share house aka Chez Wild Party House. This year’s theme is White & Red, with a Touch of Black, which strangely is the same colour scheme as the label of a stubbie of Coopers Sparkling Ale. I’ll make design experts out of those boys if it kills me!!
    Millie xx

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