By Danielle French

Holiday Thoughts

Holiday Thoughts

South Pond in WinterThere are times when I know exactly what the perfect gift is for someone in my family, other times like at Christmas, it is hard when you need to come up with a perfect gift. I spend time thinking about what that gift is versus not getting a “random thing” as one daughter might accuse me of. Something that is purposeful but also something that will be just right. With so many young women in my life, one would think that finding “it” would be easy enough. It isn’t always the case.

This year I’m thinking of themes – at least for my family. For example, the theme of home or relaxing. Each theme will have something that I have made to go into the theme “box”. These past few months I’ve been making things that I love and years ago when I had much more time, used to make much more frequently.


Planning Ahead

Amazingly, I also planned ahead this year and over the summer, collected herbs and medicinal flowers like calendula, borage and infused them in oil to make a mixture of skincare delicacies. There are so many pretty small bottles available which work well for the different recipes I’ve made up and will possibly help steer the girls into using more natural based skin care products. (I’m also going to make a mixture for myself and my mother to help keep our skin moisturized during the winter months!) I’ve made up some earrings, some potpourri and of course, there’s baking. I do less and less every year since it seems like no one eats as much from the cookie jar, but there are a few recipes that “tie the ribbon” on Christmas for me like my great-aunt Tante Gela’s “pfefferkuchen” heart-shaped cookies that I make every year.

For our home and for friends, I make up indoor arrangements which last for several weeks – even months. I’ve purchased specific ingredients like paperwhites and amaryllis and then added little plants from my garden that could overwinter like hens and chickens, sedum, moss or even rosemary. Plants with just a little bit of attention can go back in the garden in the springtime. I have rocks and shells that I’ve collected over many years from seashores, lakes, forest walks and I include them in the arrangement. I find containers I like and put everything together. Simply take the bulbs out, being mindful of the roots and replant them in the container adding your little details in open spaces. Who doesn’t like something flowering over the holidays?


The Best Gift


I love the holidays even with the challenge of finding the perfect gift. I love having balls hanging in the windows, lights outside and setting the table with greens. I’ve got a great playlist going with traditional classical music mixed in with jazz and some popular. No doubt, I’m driving everyone crazy listening to it so often. I’m sure I am not alone in taking stock of things I’m grateful for and things I want to change heading into the new year. I am grateful for all of my family, for having good food to eat and a warm place to enjoy both. I am happy to have my life somewhat organized and our living spaces tidy and clean.


Remembering What’s Important

I also am yearning to get back to basics, remembering my roots and why I started my business. It’s easy to digress and lose your way, to get ahead of yourself and stray from what the original purpose was. I know that I have wandered a bit and I need to get back to what it was that was important to me at the beginning. Creating a welcoming country environment for people to enjoy food and their surroundings. Simple, fresh food. Not fancy, not complicated. Food from the farm. That’s going to be my direction this year. To go back to simplicity and a more purposeful route. We might get ahead of ourselves at times so pulling back is a good thing.

My gifts to my family this year will reflect my mood, we are fortunate to have more than what we need. We have abundance. I believe it is important to look inward for inspiration and remember the importance of each other and why we do what we do. We’ll make something with our hands, play board games, listen to music, enjoy the land and our home and simply appreciate one another. Merry Christmas.




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