22 Dec 2018

It’s That Time: When All Is Quiet


ANd The end of the year and a break before new beginnings.

It’s that time of year when the world quietens down and we pause. From now until the New Year feels a little like slow-motion;  we have the chance to reflect on our past year, the wins and the not quite wins and focus on our plans for the next. It is a time to renew our energy, refresh our creativity and gather resolutions and excitement for the coming year.


It’s been a bittersweet year for me.

As I grow older I understand more the passage of time is full of contradiction. I celebrate the sweet with great joy and take the bitter with acceptance and stoicism for in general, it is the natural balance of life.



This year with our close family we celebrate the holidays in Venice.

I can’t wait for them to arrive. I’m excited.


All the planning in the world can go wrong.

It doesn’t matter how organised, practical and brilliant we are, life is not always in our control. It is an important lesson to learn when the one suitcase with all my Christmas gifts has been lost. Yes, in all my years of travel I have never lost a bag. Until yesterday, it has vanished, disappeared and without a trace. My weeks of planning and executing “the perfect gifts” are invisible, simply lost in transit. Why did I put all and I mean all the Christmas presents, Santa stockings and paraphernalia in one huge suitcase? I don’t know but I did.


You know what? It doesn’t matter as long as my gang arrive safely and we are together in this beautiful city. It is hardly the end of the world (ok, pretty annoying – I am not quite as stoic as I thought) I will race around like a lunatic today, find some Venetian magic and our day will be even more wonderful. If nothing else, I am resourceful. The Peggy Guggenheim museum will have to wait.



Thank you for your bright company this year. You truly do make my day, every day.

I am forever touched by your loyalty and kindness. We are a team and without your generous commitment, it wouldn’t be the same. Spending your time and engaging with our content is a precious gift and one I am truly grateful for. Knowing you, as I feel I do, makes me all the more inspired to create. Next year I want to really focus on us.



I wish you the most joyous of holidays and the happiest New Year. Enjoy the moment, celebrate big with family and friends and don’t forget to take a little time out for you. xv




image, aman venice by clementine davis

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55 Comments

anitapelayorivera

Darling Vicki, first of all, WHAT A PHOTO. Dramatic, elegant, simple. That’s me.

Life is wonderful, in all it’s bittersweet, fragrant moments. May every second of your time together with loved ones become a string of sentences by which another chapter of your lives turns and enchants. Thank you for 2018, a year full of hardships, challenges, hopes and dreams.

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Vicki

What a beautiful way you have with words, Anita. Thank you and have a wonderful festive season. xx

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Sheri

As frustrating as losing your bag of gifts might be,….., the gift of FAMILY is the best gift of all!
Happy Holidays….

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Linda Boardman Kerr

The loss of the suitcase is something I too would struggle with. “Courage to change the things I can, serenity to accept the things I CANNOT change…” and of course, the wisdom to know the difference. The good ol’ Serenity Prayer, restated. I live by this. “Letting go” of the suitcase and all the well-thought-out gifts is a tough one. But you’re in VENICE, and with FAMILY (I’m capitalizing like the Vintage Contessa…I know.) Those are the greatest gifts of all. And maybe the suitcase will turn up. Let us know.
Thank you for all the pleasure you give me throughout the year. Merry Christmas, Buon Natale.

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Vicki

Exactly… I cannot do any more to locate it and I won’t let it spoil my time here. It’s only “things”… very nice things I might add ;) ;)
The real gifts are arriving tomorrow :)

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Stephanie

Vicki,
I never leave your posts without a smile on my face. Thank you. Today I am savoring every word you have written because quite frankly it is something I need to reflect upon. Merriest of Christmas to you and David. Blessings! ❤️

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Janelle

Vicki-
I read your post and my heart ached for you. I too am a planner and an organizer and the thought of losing all of your gifts just made my heart ache for you. But then I thought, but all of her family is coming to see her! How wonderful is that? Our children as young adults have choices and they’ve chosen you!! I feel the same about mine this holiday season. To heck with the bag- enjoy beautiful Venice, your family, and have a little toast to you. And before you know it- that bag may arrive in time for New Years! Love xo Janelle

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Vicki

That is such a lovely way to look at it. I do feel so fortunate they want to be with us because they are such wonderful company and fun to be around. I always think every second with them is a bonus and I am very grateful for that.

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ALEXIS MCNAUGHTON

Dear Vicki, I agree about the photo! I wish you and your family a wonderful Christmas holiday. Hopefully that suitcase will show up at the last minute. I want to thank you for all the joy you bring to my world so far away ( on many levels ) from yours. Your blog is always a bright spot in my day. Enjoy that magical city! Looking forward to more fabulous photos from Venice. Much love.

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Vicki

Thank you, Lex
It is an incredibly beautiful city and tomorrow I will be photobombing wherever I can :)

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Susan

Wishing you a joyous Christmas and maybe the Christmas elves will deliver the missing suitcase.

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Vicki

I hope those elves have a “mother’s look”.
That’s what I call it when the boys can never find anything… and it usually right there in front of them!

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david terry

Dar Vicki…….Oh, I distinctly remember the Christmas when my grandmother (she lived away from us for a few years) arrived in Tennessee to find that the suitcase containing all of her presents for us had been lost. My brother and I were about 10, and my younger brother was about 4. My grandmother (who was by no means rich at that stage of her life) cried……and then WE ended up crying, etcetera. You’ve raised three children, Vicki, so you’ll know how these group sobfest-meltdowns can go.

Still?……my grandmother stayed up late that Christmas Eve (she’d arrived late that year). I DID know that she was, for some reason or another, a champion paper-plane and paper-kite maker, but I didn’t know that she could fold origami-like paper-stars. On Christmas morning, we woke up, came downstairs to all the other presents (my parents have been chronic over-givers at Christmas), and were ready to begin the madhouse routine. My father told us that, before we began opening our presents, we each had something VERY SPECIAL hanging on that tree……and we had to find it (which meant we had to know how to read our names; my younger brother required some help with this). Turns out that she, having given up on the lost suitcase (which did, eventually, turn up) had stayed up, making intricately folded moravian-star, paper ornaments which, when unfolded, each contained a personalized Christmas “wish” for each of us boys. I wouldn’t say that was “the best Christmasas EVER! (we had many fun Christmases), but I can say that I still have that paper ornament (decades after she died, in 1984…and I honestly can’t recall any of the presents from other years). I see it once per year and, of course, tear up fondly, a little bit, each year when I hang it up. Did I mention that my grandmother had, for 25 years, run a boys’ orphanage during the 1940’s and 50’s? She KNEW how to make something out of supposed nothing….and I miss her for that quality.

Here’s wishing you and yours the happpiest of Christmases,

fondly,
David Terry
Quail Roost Farm
Rougemont, NC
USA

Reply
Vicki

This is a wonderful tale, David… She sounds like an incredible woman and a resourceful one too. Yes, I am familiar with family meltdowns… at what age do they stop ;)
How lovely you still hang her decoration which makes the memories all the more poignant.
Have a wonderful Christmas and very happy New Year.

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Mary

Fingers crossed it WILL show up Vicki – travel and baggage is no longer simple in more ways than one. Have a wonderful Venetian holiday (we actually hoped to get there this year for Christmas but sadly it didn’t pan out) and may celebrating with your family around you be special even without material gifts. The most beautiful gift is always a hug and a kiss from a loved one.
If you do shop today I know you couldn’t be doing it anywhere better😉
Happy Christmas and all the best for 2019

Reply
Vicki

Yes, Mary… shopping is fun here and there are still some beautiful little finds… :)
Some Venetian velvet slippers might have found there way here ;)

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Janie Calvert

Oh Vicki, I so understand your disappointment, but what is really admirable is your response. You show “it’s not what happens, but what you do after that matters.” so well. Christmas will come and your family will have the best time
celebrating. And who knows, maybe the lost bag will return. I hope so. Merry Merry to you and a very Happy 2019 to you and yours.

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Vicki

And to you, Janie.
I try and always look at the positive but I was slightly upset after waiting for all the bags at the airport to arrive and that one didn’t show!
Now I am more relaxed, I’m leaving it to the Venetian Gods and will just love being with my gang :)

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Bonnie

Yes sometimes life reminds us to mindful of what really is important. No gifts but more time and energy to focus on family and love. This may be your best Christmas ever

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Jody M

I know the most importantly thing is everyone being together for the holidays and the experience, but, still, so frustrating & disappointing after your efforts. Enjoy your holiday together all the same!

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Linda B

Dearest Vicki,

Thank you so much for sharing yourself and for all of your positive perspective! And all the inspiration all year long.

My husband and I are on the road right now to visit our daughter and son-in-law for Christmas. We’ve got about 150 miles more to drive (and have come about 1300 since we left home a few days ago.) We have a big sack full of presents that my husband has guarded well, carrying it in from the car to the hotel room each night, fearing it would tempt a theft. Seemed a wee silly! But I suppose he wasn’t foolish making this effort! Things do go awry.

As has happened for you…But you are so right—in the end it’s about BEING TOGETHER as a family. Totally.

Wishing you so much joy,
Linda

Reply
Vicki

I think he is very wise, Linda :)
I decided if the suitcase shows up… it shows… and if it doesn’t, well that’s just that. Someone will have a very jolly Christmas ;)
I can’t wait to be with my chicks.. and that’s my prize :)

Reply
Susie Martin

OhVicki! Your frustration & annoyance are totally understandable- fingers & toes crossed the bag turns up! As you & other readers have said though it’s not what it’s all about – your family & the love you share is what is important! No doubt you will still have the most memorable time together if not more so because of this as I’m sure you will make it so – Happy Happy Christmas!! XX

Reply
Vicki

Thanks Susie,
If and when it does… probably weeks from now… my gang will be happy ;)
Happy Christmas to you and your gorgeous family..

Reply
Alexandra

Dear Vicki, so sorry your presents have gone missing. If you are interested in buying more, try “Jewels of Venice” behind the Rialto Markets. Owned by an English girl who has lived in V for 30 years, it is a treasure trove. Also a lovely antique jewellery store opposite the Post Office. Of course you would know Coin department store, good for perfume etc. Have a joyous time with the family. Best regards from Sydney. Alexandra Lansdown

Reply
Vicki

Thank you Alexandra… I will take a peak… thank you for your best wishes and your tree looks wonderful :)

Reply
Sunflower

Dear Vicki, I’ve loved reading and feeling a part of your posts which has a small family feel to it. What I really like is the positivity and happiness it creates and I never feel negative, cross or frustrated after reading. Thank you for this. As for your suitcase, yes I would be upset over it going missing but family is far more precious and as one of our dear dear friends sadly died this year all the gifts in the world for his wife won’t ever make up for losing him. Share your love and time with family and if the suitcase turns up that’s the star on the Christmas tree!! Merry Christmas Vicki.

Reply
Vicki

So, so true and I am absolutely in the same mood.. the bag is so secondary.
I wish I was as clever as David T’s grandmother… and could origami my way through… but a few Venetian trinkets, delicious food and bubbles will be my solution.
It’s so lovely to be here and have the anticipation of their arrival… I have almost forgotten the poor bag!

Reply
Esther George

Dear Vicki, what a beautiful picture, I can only imagine how lovely the atmosphere would be at this time of the year, enjoy every precious moment. Thank you for sharing beauty, your blog is such a joy. Wishing you and your family A Joyoux Noel and A Wonderful 2019. Till next year, Best Wishes, Esther from Sydney, for two nights this week it looked like it was snowing over here, but it wasn’t gentle snowflakes but hail the size of cricket balls…lol PS hope your suitcase turns up. Love David Terry’s story and Christmas song.

Reply
Vicki

Esther, I hope the hail didn’t damage too much! I saw photographs… What a storm!
The atmosphere is heaven… I wish I could show you… today is snapping day so I will do my best :)

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Teena

So very sorry to hear you lost THE bag. As you said as long as all of your family arrive safely and you are together on Christmas Day gifts don’t matter!
Have a wonderful time and thank you so much for all your wonderful reading throughout the year. It’s truly a wonderful thing to read your blogs nearly every day THANKYOU from New Zealand.

Reply
Debbie

Vicki.
Wishing you and your family a Merry Christmas and all the best for 2019. Cheer up. You are spending Christmas with your family in such a lovely place and you will have lovely memories that will ease the pain of the lost gifts. You may even have a surprise later if the lost gifts turn up. We are all looking forward to seeing your pics of Venice at Christmas.
Debbie

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Trish

Dear Vicki, I have a slightly similar tale to yours but not quite as devastating. I also am staying at an Aman hotel for Christmas with our family, but at Amangalla in beautiful Galle, Sri Lanka. One extra special, one-of-a-kind present was broken in transit from Australia. I have managed to find something here to replace it, something quite different, but lovely too. I wish you a very Happy Christmas with your family and Best Wishes for 2019.

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Kimberley Castle

Have a lovely Christmas in Venice with your family Vicki, even without the gifts you spent so much time choosing. What a magical place it is. Love to read your beautiful blog posts each day and look forward to more in 2019.

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Anna

Vicki,

Your comments about the bittersweetness of your year resonated with me. As we get older, there are the joys but also the losses. Health is so precious; I no longer take it for granted.

Enjoy your family, the real gift of togetherness. As they say, presence not presents! And here’s to a happy and health 2019.

Anna

Reply
Catherine

My heart aches for you for the loss of all the anticipated Christmas joy that you’re gifts were to give to you and others. Thank goodness your family will still be able to be together in a beautiful city. My hope is that you find that joy in their presence alone.

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Denise Burgess

Venice will be the gift of Christmas with memories your family will treasure for ever.
MERRY CHRISTMAS 🎄

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Missi

Merry Christmas to your family!! I know that day will be wonderful and your IG photos show you are having the best of times. I hope the luggage arrives soon but if not, you are together and that is most important.

And thank you, always, for your beautiful blog, inside and out!

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Mary Levy

Merry Christmas to you and your family Vicki,
I’m sorry for the loss of your luggage. I understand exactly how you feel. This was my son’s first Christmas on his own, and I had put weeks into carefully selecting the right gifts for him and his girlfriend. Unfortunately, I put everything in the same package and it was stolen. I don’t know why I put so much emphasis on the gifts, but it really shook me up to think of some stranger opening up the boxes and pulling things out of the stockings that I had had monogrammed with their names. As my son says, however, it was the thought that counts…

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Samille

Thank you dear V for being a friend I have never met and a travel consultant I never pay and a stylst and wise lady to boot! Reading your blog is part of my favourite routine every few dayd where I jersey around the world from my comfy armchair with a green tea in my lap. . I adore your blog and thank you for all you give to us. May Venice be stuffed with love and laughter and perhaps a good excuse to buy some more trinkets! Samille x

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Kaaren Eastwood

Hi there
Just catching up on emails! I hope you had have a wonderful Xmas with your family! A sister in law of mine is one of 8 children ! Her mother died when she was just 17 and her father continued to raise their family. In his later years when they had all grown with families of their own I heard him say “it doesn’t matter what day we celebrate Xmas just as long as we can get together- that is Xmas for me” I have never forgotten those words of wisdom from him! As the world continues to change and families change and grow and live all over the place we have to learn to adapt to changes enjoy your family while you can all be together with 💕Merry Cmas and a Happy New year

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Kayla Davies

Dear Vicki- I am sure your family knows how much love and care you put into finding just the right gifts for them. I am equally sure that the replacement presents will have their own charm and special meaning. It seems that the Venice airport is known for this kind of thing. Carry-on only going thru Venice.

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Michelle à Détroit

Vicki,

I do hope the bag turns up. In the meantime, you have your beautiful family with you in beautiful Venezia! Have a Bellini @ Harry’s. Touristy, yes, but always fun!

Thanks for bringing us all so much joy.

Michelle Faison

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Nora Murray

Dear Vickie,
I am late wishing you a Happy New Year. I hope your time with your family was gloriously restorative. Take good care. Also, I hope you know how much your daily missives are missed and how much your readers look forward to seeing your name in their inbox. I know I do,

Reply

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