Friday, December 9, 2011

Moments, things to do.

I am not a big fan of doing things in the very last moment available but for some reason more often than not that tends to be the case. This weekend we will be busy writing and mailing our Christmas cards and finding presents for our exchange. I do not love all the Christmas-marketed consumerism, so this year we decided to "trade" gifts in such a way that every person only has to find one present. Already in the last 3 years the boy and me did not give anything to each other, on mutual agreement, is that weird ? It's just that, it is difficult to do things when you have to. I normally love gathering little things and presents for the ones I love and I am constantly finding things like oh this could be perfect for x or for y and then getting it for them out of the blue. I thing Fiona is on to something when she talks about collecting moments, not things. 
Oh and that picture above... last weekend we found the perfect little tea-shop /cafe in Dordrecht, Het Theewinkeltje. It is a very small place, there are barely 5 or 6 tables, located in the second floor of an ancient house. It is all about homemade scones, beautiful pottery, mugs, teapots, biscuits and of course an assortment of teas. Places like that make me dream. If only it was also a bookshop I would have found heaven.


  1. I like that we were both thinking about the same thing :) Rasmus and I don't exchange gifts either. Instead, we plan moments together: going to the slightly pricey mushroom-themed restaurant one dark night in January, taking a couple of nights before the family Christmas gathering to hide in an isolated hotel in Scotland... or just agreeing to make great burgers and watch The Godfather together (that was my gift to him ;)

    Also, that tea shop looks lovely! I spent an icy cold evening in Dordrecht once when snow prevented me from getting home to Brussels from Utrecht - I went to Rotterdam and den Haag and slipped on the ice twice before finally getting stuck in Dordrecht and calling Rasmus to come pick me up! So I need a new GOOD experience of that pretty town :)

  2. We don't put the accent on presents either. Sometimes we give them,sometimes we don't, it's not important. Last year I gave friends hand-made presents (a basket of baked goods)and this year I plan to do the same and to donate some money to charity (I am planning to donate to a women shelter in Afghanistan). My husband doesn't have a Christian origin so that makes it easier to reinvent/reclaim the holidays and make them our own. For us they are a moment to pause, thank for what we have, share some quiet time together and plan the future.
    That being said, Santa did bring me something very special this year (yes, Santa came early...because there's no Santa! ;)

  3. I don't think it's weird at all. My mother in law loves giving gifts and just gives piles of stuff because she likes doing it (like, I got a lot of soap last year?) but that's not my style. The cowboy and I give one another one gift each for boxing day, but that's it. When we have kids we want to stick to the four gift rule -- one you want, one you need, one to wear and one to read. This means grandparents and all the tios and tias will have to get together and decide on joint gifts because more than four gifts per child seems a little ridiculous to me.

  4. @ Fionalynne, yes definitely moments. I love the idea of a getaway in middle-of-nowhere Scotland. And I am sorry for your adventures with the snow and the trains, I remember a rain storm last year, the whole country was paralysed. Dordrecht is definitely beautiful, old medieval, small but charming, so you definitely should go sometime.

    @ Marcela Hand made presents are the best, though I am not that crafty. However baked goods are the best, I've done that a few years, and making glazed cookies and fruit cake is part of my Christmas rituals. And yeah, charity is really something. Definitely the best part about the holidays is the time spent together with family and friends, and well, all the cooking that for me is also an expression of love and sharing. Nice to hear you already got Santa's visit, now I am curious, is it photography related ? A trip ? Or baking supplies?

    @ Zan, Ohhh I love your four gift rule, it is close to perfection, specially the one to read. Also, a rule that we plan on adopting is , most specially for toys, if you want a new one, then at the same time donate an old one (in good shape) to an orphanage, and of course, regularly recycling / giving away clothes to charity.

  5. That tea shop is adorable :)

    I'm fascinated by how many people I know that decide to skip the gift giving entirely. I wonder what triggered it. Is "my" generation turning away from materialism, or am I just hanging out with a subset that prefers experiences over things?

    I think it's a good thing, personally. Almost to a fault, those whose lifestyles tend towards the minimalist seem to be happier people.

  6. You will have to check today's post to see what Santa brought me this year ;)

  7. About children presents, we do that, little presents, even for their birthdays. When they get too many, we put them aside and give them to them as months pass by. We recycle/repurpose/donate clothes and toys every 6 months (change of seasons).

  8. @ thesmittenimmigrant, yeah, maybe it is a generational thing, I am not sure. But I agree, less is more, at least it is a good thing to realize that we-do-not-need-all-the-stuff...

    @ Marcela already saw ;) So happy for you ! And I love the idea of repurposing / recycling / donating and putting presents aside. Too many toys at the same time is overwhelming and they get tired of them before even really enjoying them....


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