Gifts of Whimsy + How to Capture Sensual Christmas Wonder!

I’m gonna warn you straight away. There are all sorts of smiles and woozy wonder ahead. But I’m also getting very quiet and honest at the end. Because sometimes Christmas finds you before the sun rises on Halloween. Gifts of Whimsy + How to Capture Sensual Christmas Wonder is sweetly brimming with lighthearted gift ideas for the holidays along with glimpses of cheerful decorating ideas.

I independently selected products in this post—if you buy from one of my links, I may earn a commission.

Gifts of Whimsy + How to Capture Sensual Christmas Wonder!

If you’re partial to sweet little kittens, pom poms, pink everything, and even Coco Chanel, there may be a winner for you on this board. (And don’t make your family guess – direct them to this post if they ask for a gift suggestion!)

About the Coco kokeshi wood doll from Lucie Kaas above…oh my word. What a cute collection for adults who enjoy these playful figures as art! Make sure to click through and see the other possibilities. (I have an Elton John that I will show you soon, and it brings a smile to my face everyday.)

Christmas quote from The Grinch Who Stole Christmas movie. #holidayquotes #moviequotes #christmasquotes

I love seeing others embrace their favorite colors at Christmas. Pastels feel so nostalgic, romantic, and quiet.

Enchanting pastel Christmas gingerbread cookie village tower on a pedestal in a lovely kitchen @freshlyfuji.
@freshlyfuji – Gifts of Whimsy as well as How to Capture Sensual Christmas Wonder!

For me, nothing says Christmas like pompoms. Candy pinks and cheerful turquoise give this boho pompom wreath a whimsical, fresh, circus holiday vibe.

Colorful boho pompom wreath on pink door of blue brick house with striped falala doormat. #christmaswreath #pompomwreath #pinkchristmas
@diyinpdx

Psst. Would you, could you, ever paint your brick house teal blue? Pretty sure I’d do it in a heartbeat if the brick was painted a nasty hue.

I still love me a simple pale pink poplin bow on my fuzzy wuzzy handmade wreath…this was many moons ago:

Wooly pom pom wreath on a wee pink chair in the snow by Hello Lovely Studio.
Hello Lovely Studio – Gifts of Whimsy as well as How to Capture Sensual Christmas Wonder!

I also love me a Caprese salad wreath in any season.

Sweet Ideas for Gifts This Year

Have an aspiring writer on your gift list? A dog lover? Bet you’ll discover a treasure or two from this collection of assorted lovely things, a few of which I own and highly recommend.

The dog can’t hold its licker! I love that so much. This cedar candle from Jenni Kayne may strike you as too luxe or un-whimsical for the collection, but I curate from a very very personal place.

Cedar is one of those scents that brings many of us back to childhood summers at camp. It always eases me into a relaxed state of mind and reminds me of our former home with its wonderful cedar screen porch.

Elf movie quote for Christmas. #christmasquotes #elfquotes #christmashumor

Old Dogs is a book I own and is full of the sweetest illustrations you may want to frame. Even dollar store black frames! You could mass them on a gallery wall in a bedroom or hall, and I bet it will look so chic.

Anne of Green Gables Writing Gloves  Fingerless Gloves Arm
Storiarts on Etsy – Gifts of Whimsy as well as How to Capture Sensual Christmas Wonder!

(Lighting the candle can both turn back time and be a stand-in for a cedar porch if you’re one cedar porch short.)

Hang a Wreath in the Bath

Why didn’t I think of that!?! If you have a glass shower enclosure like the one below, maybe it could use a little holiday greenery. And don’t forget that simply wrapping a few boxes and tying them with pretty bows counts as Christmas decorating.

This image has an empty alt attribute; its file name is design-indulgence-atlanta-holiday-showhouse-005.jpg
See more of this Home for the Holidays Showhouse HERE

Feather Your Holiday Nest

Raise your wing if you want to try this as a Christmas tree topper!

This image has an empty alt attribute; its file name is design-indulgence-atlanta-holiday-showhouse-0021.jpg
Atlanta’s Home for the Holidays Showhouse – Photo: Sherry Hart

Groovy Gifts With Timeless Charm

Remember how special it felt when you were young to wear an ID bracelet? This one below is special and is sure to be cherished forever. I am not sure how I will live without the Ziggy Stardust figure, and I wonder if you have someone in mind for the Maileg guardian angel in a book gift?

Love quote for pet lovers on Hello Lovely Studio. #doglovers #dogquotes #petlovers #petquotes

Maileg toys are not strictly for children…I love my little collection and want to add to it. I have even decorated a tabletop Christmas tree with them in the past. Can you even get over the avocado bed for a sweet cat or small dog?

Honeydew’s travel pillow is whimsical in its unusual shape. But that curve isn’t there for looks. It is an innovative design for neck and shoulders! The pillow will be a hit for soooooo many reasons. It is luxurious, thoughtfully designed to stay fluffy, and the pouch means the pillow remains hygienic on any plane rides or…

sleigh rides! In my whimsical imagination, goodness from Santa is delivered thanks to pale pink reindeer with glittery gold spots like this beauty:

Pale pink retro reindeer from Target's Wondershop! #pinkchristmas #retroreindeer #holidaydecor
Pale Pink Retro Reindeer – Gifts of Whimsy as well as How to Capture Sensual Christmas Wonder!

Target’s whimsical gold and white botanical wreath can hang or function as an advent wreath on a tabletop. Can you picture it with candlelight?

I’m looking forward to dusting off my Joy wreath, and it comes in this smaller size (mine is huge!) too:

24in Pre-Lit JOY Flocked LED Wreath - Wondershop™ - image 1 of 7
Joy Pre-Lit Wreath – Gifts of Whimsy as well as How to Capture Sensual Christmas Wonder!

What is Trending This Holiday Anyway?

Get a clue from this recent tour of IKEA’s Christmas decor:

How Do YOU Capture the Wonder of Christmas?

If you don’t have small children or grandchildren around, the wonder of Christmas may take a little more intention. For me, the best place to start is to consider all of the senses.

Decorating with twinkly lights and winter pretty things addresses sight, Christmas music sets a mood, and there’s just nothing like baking Christmas cookies to be transported to another time and place at Christmas.

Scandinavian Christmas white kitchen with vintage book page wreath and winter tree on counter - Hello Lovely Studio. #holidaydecor #christmaskitchen #scandinavianchristmas
Hello Lovely – Gifts of Whimsy as well as How to Capture Sensual Christmas Wonder!

New Traditions Are Always an Option

Just a reminder that it is never too late to begin a new holiday tradition. No matter your age, religion, or circumstance, you can try something new. If it agrees with you and yours, keep the tradition going.

And if it doesn’t seem worth the fuss, tweak it or leave it in the past. There are no rules!

(There’s this awful downside to social media where we are forever comparing or judging the outward showy part of gatherings that used to be so personal. Sometimes when things look too good to be true online, it is because they’re not.)

Swedish wood ornaments and white felt stars on my Belgian Fir Christmas tree - Hello Lovely Studio. #nearlynatural #belgianfir #christmastrees
Hello Lovely – Gifts of Whimsy as well as How to Capture Sensual Christmas Wonder!

If you make my cookie recipe, please write and let me know if your kitchen was filled with a heavenly buttery scent and if nibbling them left you feeling like a child again.

hello-lovely-studio-christmas-cookie-recipe-swedish-buttercream

New to the blog? You may not know my Christmas cookies inspired me to blog. Wait, what? Yep. After they won a cookie contest for Country Home magazine, I decided to begin submitting my essays and articles for publication. As I got established as a writer in 2008, I thought blogging would be excellent writing practice. It truly is.

Swedish Christmas Cookies (Luke’s Christmas Love Cookies)

I have baked these with my sons their entire lives. It’s just not Christmas without them.

Prep: 50 minutes – Chill: 2 hours – Bake: 7 minutes/batch –  Preheat oven: 375°

2 sticks butter, softened

1 1/2 cups powdered sugar

1/2 tsp. almond extract, 1 tsp. vanilla

1 tsp. cream of tartar, 1 tsp. baking soda

1 egg

2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour

1 7-oz. jar marshmallow cream

3/4 cup butter, cut up and softened

1/2 cup powdered sugar

3/4 tsp. vanilla

Colored sprinkles

Instructions

1. In a large mixing bowl, with an electric mixer on medium to high speed, beat 1 cup butter for 30 seconds. Add 1 1/2 cups powdered sugar, baking soda, and cream of tartar. Beat until combined, scraping sides of bowl occasionally. Then beat in egg, 1 teaspoon vanilla, and almond extract. Beat in as much of the flour as you can with the mixer. Stir in any remaining flour. Divide in half. Cover and chill for 2 to 3 hours or until easy to handle.

2. On a lightly floured surface roll half of dough at a time until slightly less than 1/4 inch thick. Cut dough using a 2 1/2-inch star-shape cutter. Place 1 inch apart on ungreased cookie sheets.

3. Bake in 375° oven 7 to 8 minutes or until edges begin to brown. Transfer to wire racks; cool.

4. In large mixing bowl beat marshmallow cream, gradually adding 3/4 cup softened butter. Beat in 3/4 teaspoon vanilla and 1/2 cup powdered sugar. Spread or pipe atop cookies. Sprinkle with colored sprinkles.

Makes 6 1/2 dozen cookies.

TO STORE : Store in a single layer in refrigerator until frosting sets, about 1 hour. Store in a single layer in an airtight container in refrigerator for up to 3 days. For longer storage, freeze uniced cookies.

Per cookie: 73 cal., 4 g fat (3 g sat. fat), 14 mg chol., 49 mg sodium, 8 g carbo., 0 g dietary fiber, 1 g protein.

Funny Christmas humor and holiday quote. #quotes #funnyquote #christmas #humor

Sweet Finds to Bring Holiday Smiles

I hope you click through to learn more about all the whimsical gift ideas in this post because my mood boards don’t always do them justice! For example, the watercolor pet portraits from Minted!!!

The minute I saw these I thought, this is going to be THE easiest year to Christmas shop because I can’t think of a more thoughtful gift I know my loved ones will cherish!

Funny Christmas humor and holiday quote. #quotes #funnyquote #christmas #humor

And if you have a pet you would love to honor in a watercolor print, go ahead and give this gift idea to your family members who have no idea what to buy. I honestly can’t think of anyone who wouldn’t be touched!

The Spiritual Wonder of Christmas

Whimsy is wonderful and keeps spirits buoyantly bright, but I hope we will not miss any of the spiritual wonder. The Mystery and magic and light when we turn our hearts toward the Christ child. I wonder if there will be many live Nativities this year and whether the pews may be less crowded for a number of reasons.

No matter what December brings, I encourage you to find little pockets of time to be fully present and heartful. I had such a morning just this morning (yes, Halloweeen morning!). Here’s what happened, and it wasn’t pretty…

At around 4 a.m., I was awakened by a painful episode that is a newer symptom on my health journey. It is foot dystonia and one of the most painful symptoms I currently manage. I shriek, freeze, panic, hold my heart, allow tears to flood, and ride the wave of pain and spasms as my toes separate and move in opposing directions. (I told you. Life is not glamorous ’round here.)

Since I couldn’t fall back asleep because of anxiety that another episode would come, I took a warm shower to calm myself and put on a new mind. As I relaxed, I arrived at a sunnier perspective: even this excruciating episode and painful morning cannot undo the good days I enjoyed in the past week. In fact, nothing can ever erase the good.

And I can live into the future with courage despite what I know: there will be more suffering. But no hurt or bad day can ever erase the flowering of the good.

Please Don’t Ever Pity Me…I’m Very Strong in My Weakness

I know this is not the most profound revelation. And I know if I wasn’t so sleep-deprived, I could express more eloquently what it means to keep re-setting. Keep embracing reality with newfound acceptance and emotional sobriety. But I share it just the same, right where I am: recovering, tender, hopeful, awed, and ever focused on what is everlasting.

After my shower, I lit all the candles in the kitchen and slowly prepared a comforting breakfast in the darkness as I waited for the sun to rise. And I gave myself to the flickering flames; rededicated my spirit to the Love which someday I will join.

Sometimes it is as simple and wondrous and holy as lighting a candle and inwardly declaring “let it be done to me,” friends.

Thank You for Reading With Tenderness

I’m thankful for your prayers and friendship–there are moments in the day where I swear I can feel the prayers reaching me, lifting me. I don’t understand any of it at all. What a blessing.

I recorded this Adele cover during a challenging chapter about 8 years ago. You’ll notice my emotion at the very end because…ummmm, I cry all the time and was thinking about how dear my family is. While it’s not a Christmas carol, I tweaked the lyrics a little, and for me it’s the Gospel story (you’ll have to unmute the audio on bottom right of screen if you can’t hear it).

Peace to you right where you are.

-michele

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White Slipcovered Sofa
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Antique Chinese Wood Rustic Round Stool
French Country Bed
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Round Farmhouse Table
Myla Slipcover Sofa
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Milagro Heart
Slipcoverd Dining Chair
Rustic Farmhouse Stool
Edgecombe End Table
Parisian Style Iron Table Lamp  33.5″
Black or Bronze Accent Table
French Stripe Basket Set
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Vintage Collapsible French Laundry Basket
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Schumacher Wild Things Wallpaper
Wide Pine Sideboard
Linen Napkin Set
French Country Lamp Set
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Oval Back Counter Stool, Set of 2
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Kinston Wood Bench
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Warner Upholstered Bench
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French Country 6-Light Chandelier
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Wicker Trunk Set
French Ticking Stripe Pillow
Jute Area Rug
Mohair Throw
Rustic Industrial Farmhouse Shelves
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Rustic Wood Candlestick Set
French Market Basket
Linen Modern Wing Chair
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Boheme Madera Bench
Belgian Style Lamp
Kendall Skirted Dining Chair
White Charleston Sofa
Scrubbed Wood 5-Light Chandelier
Arched Champagne Wall Mirror
Moravian Star 1-Light Pendant
Highback Armchair
Mini Pendant Light
White Vase Set
Round Woven Placemat Set
Cashmere Throw With Fringe
Black Bergamot Soy Candle
Fireclay Farm Sink (Reinhard, 30″)
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Boheme Madera Bench
Belgian Linen Duvet Set
Round Marble Side Table
Rustic Pedestal Farm Table
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8 Comments

  1. Teresa C
    November 1, 2021 / 9:43 am

    Dearest Friend,
    You are very special to me. I have read your blogs for a number of years and am always touched by your simplicity in sharing. God bless you.
    In peace & hope,
    T

    • Michele
      Author
      November 1, 2021 / 8:25 pm

      Thank you so much for the peace and hope. xox

  2. Chrissy
    November 1, 2021 / 12:36 pm

    Thank you Michele, I had no idea you possessed so much talent…..Truly a blessing

    • Michele
      Author
      November 1, 2021 / 8:24 pm

      Thanks for the kindness and for listening, friend. 🙂

  3. Amy
    November 2, 2021 / 3:39 pm

    Just purchased the Jenni Kayne Cedar candle after reading all 36 very convincing reviews…Ha! So much great stuff included here from 1)watercolor pet portraits (I must get for pet lovin’ loved ones) to 2)striking the nostalgic cord w/: ID bracelets (still have one from childhood) & Coco Chanel (did project/paper on her in college as my major was fashion merchandising…did you know she made having a suntan fashionable?! Ha!) to 3)your heartfelt singing! Tried feathers (peacock) as topper for Xmas tree once, but never tried wreath on shower door…love it! Must try THAT festive caprese wreath salad!! Would love to gift you that colorful pompon wreath…it’s so you! Lastly, love me some Buddy the Elf…my entire fam says I ask as many questions as he does…so I go by Budette!😂Praying you won’t have anymore 4am episodes, but appreciate your example of choosing to put on a new mind in the midst of the challenges and remind us that the good cannot be erased by the challenges! Great stuff❤️

    • Michele
      Author
      November 2, 2021 / 11:17 pm

      I hope you love the candle – it’s such a subjective thing, these scented candles. I know folks who hate the Diptyque candles we love! Thank you for trying on all these ideas, Budette – it is always fun to curate these gift guides, never really knowing if the stuff that resonates with me will appeal. Thank you for thinking of me – there will be more episodes, but I’m hoping to have more answers with time and neurology workups and ???? I’m on an adventure, and you just never know what God has in store. Keeping my sticky fingers off the controls is no small task, but Grace. Ahhhhhhhh – i can always seek it! 🙂

  4. November 3, 2021 / 6:01 pm

    Michele, I am so sorry for your pain. You have been through so much over these last few years. You are always in my prayers and I am blessed to have you in my life, it is hard to believer we started blogging so long ago, I guess we are part of the old guard. Your peace, love, joy and spirit is a bright light on darks days for us all.

    Thank you for sharing this whimsical post.

    • Michele
      Author
      November 4, 2021 / 9:12 am

      Thank you for reading and for your prayers. I covet them. You and I go back so many years. And blogging/internet years are more like dog years, yes? Thank you for the blessing of your words and spirit. This place where I live and blog – if you were here, you would say HOLY PINECONES AND ACORNS! They are everywhere. Oh, Elizabeth, if there is bright light shining, I owe every ray to Grace. My health has been fragile for so long I’m sure folks wonder: wait, that Crohn’s blogger with the ballet slippers and the mastectomy for the genetic mutation who developed a pancreatic illness has something new now? Hahahaha. I’m rich with love and creativity, but never far from poverty as I fight disease. Thank you for joining me in friendship on the journey. Burdens become lighter when we can be present for each other as we carry them. xox

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White Slipcovered Sofa
French Country Wicker Trunk Storage
29″ Whitewashed Table Lamp Set of 2
Antique Chinese Wood Rustic Round Stool
French Country Bed
Tuscan Terracotta Urn Vase
Round Farmhouse Table
Myla Slipcover Sofa
Deconstructed Wingback Bed
French Farmhouse Dining Table
Milagro Heart
Slipcoverd Dining Chair
Rustic Farmhouse Stool
Edgecombe End Table
Parisian Style Iron Table Lamp  33.5″
Black or Bronze Accent Table
French Stripe Basket Set
Chevron White Quilt Set
French Country Rattan Basket Set
Marble Subway Mosaic Tile
Vintage Collapsible French Laundry Basket
White Ruffle Bedding
White Linen Club Chair
Schumacher Wild Things Wallpaper
Wide Pine Sideboard
Linen Napkin Set
French Country Lamp Set
White Matelasse Quilt
French Country Mirror
Faux Potted French Lavender
Shaw Daybed
Distressed White French Country Chandelier
White Artichoke Lamp
French Country Headboard
Oval Back Counter Stool, Set of 2
Antique Brass Pharmacy Floor Lamp
Round French Tufted Ottoman
Kinston Wood Bench
Italian Candelabra Chandelier
Slope Arm Linen Chair Set
Warner Upholstered Bench
Rustic Country French Dresser
Rustic French Confit Pot
Round Farmhouse Dining Table
Reclaimed Wood Dresser
Louis Upholstered Bench
Pardon My French Doormat
Stripe Turkish Towel Throw
Pamela Arm Chair
Sweater Weave Basket
French Carved Wood Chandelier
Terracotta Pots & Basket
French Country Wood Chandelier
French Linen Dining Chair
Gustavian Cabinet
French Farmhouse Dining Table
Bar Stool
Beachy White Slipcovered Sofa
Rattan Armchair
Diptyque Oyedo Candle
Cross Back Dining Chair
French Country Candle Holder
French Industrial Metal Chairs (4)
Designer Favorite Wall Mirror
Holborn Lantern Pendant
French Country 6-Light Chandelier
Rustic End Table
French Country Upholstered Arm Chair
Wicker Trunk Set
French Ticking Stripe Pillow
Jute Area Rug
Mohair Throw
Rustic Industrial Farmhouse Shelves
Belgian Linen Sofa
White Duvet & Bedding
Rustic Wood Candlestick Set
French Market Basket
Linen Modern Wing Chair
French Country Farmhouse Baskets
Concrete Pillar Table Lamp
Boheme Madera Bench
Belgian Style Lamp
Kendall Skirted Dining Chair
White Charleston Sofa
Scrubbed Wood 5-Light Chandelier
Arched Champagne Wall Mirror
Moravian Star 1-Light Pendant
Highback Armchair
Mini Pendant Light
White Vase Set
Round Woven Placemat Set
Cashmere Throw With Fringe
Black Bergamot Soy Candle
Fireclay Farm Sink (Reinhard, 30″)
White Waffle Coverlet
Light Grey Vienna Quilt
Boheme Madera Bench
Belgian Linen Duvet Set
Round Marble Side Table
Rustic Pedestal Farm Table
Rattan Hanging Chair Swing