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.)
I love seeing others embrace their favorite colors at Christmas. Pastels feel so nostalgic, romantic, and quiet.
For me, nothing says Christmas like pompoms. Candy pinks and cheerful turquoise give this boho pompom wreath a whimsical, fresh, circus holiday vibe.
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:
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.
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.
(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.
Feather Your Holiday Nest
Raise your wing if you want to try this as a Christmas tree topper!
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?
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:
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:
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.
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.)
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.
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
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
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.
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!
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.
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