Christmas Traditions: The Nutcracker Ballet

Every year, I take my daughter to see the Nutcracker. (I took my youngest son once, but he loudly complained that there was too much dancing.)

We go to a matinee in the city and eat lunch at a fancy hotel before we go. We dress for the occasion. This year, I'm thinking of wearing my tulle skirt because if the ballerinas can wear it, then so can I.

I love the National Ballet's production of the Nutcracker because the Sugar Plum Fairy comes out of a giant Fabergé egg! I love Fabergé, so this is just about the best thing ever.


If you cannot get your ballet fix live, Hallmark's A Nutcracker Christmas is cute. It's highly implausible, but that's part of its charm.


Do you have any holiday traditions you look forward to year after year?

Last Minute Gifts: Putti Fine Furnishings

Long before Stepford, when I was in Toronto, I lived around the corner from Putti Fine Furnishings. This was the prettiest store in town and always had lovely things for sale. They now have an online store and expedited delivery so if you are still lallygagging with your Christmas List, get on over there already. 

They sell Cire Trudon candles, which are everything.  My favourite are the Madeleine Taper Candles in pink or black.

This Gold Glass Cherub Ornament would brighten up someone's Christmas tree. 

They have a gorgeous selection of goods from Designers Guild that would be perfect for someone on the Nice list. This Alexandria Amethyst Wallet is very pretty. 

Ditto for this Christian Lacroix pillow.

Happy shopping! 


Christmas Traditions: Christmas Cakes

First off, this guy.

Are y'all following Fozzie the Fluffy Frenchie? The IG feed will give you all the feels. Teddy is super jealous.

Speaking of strong feelings: I hate fruitcake.

That's not entirely true. I like a very light fruitcake, absolutely soaked in rum. It's hard to find.

I like other desserts a lot more. I love Italian pastries at Christmas. Give me a cannoli over fruitcake any day of the week. We are lucky to have a gorgeous Italian bakery and deli not that far from where we live. So I can feast on this and this and this.

Also, rum balls.

I've made The Philly Crean Cheese Rum Ball since high school, when I made it with 1/4 bottle of overproof rum.

(Thanks, Patricia, for pointing out the Kraft online recipe weirdness. I've scanned my original cutout from the 1980s and added it here. I go heavier on the rum than suggested...)

They were runny but very popular.

Isn't this sign perfect?

You can just buy a cake whenever you want. Isn't being an adult awesome?

What is your dessert preference over the holidays?


The Best of Online Gifts: Wolf and Badger

OK, lambs. Tick tock. If you've not completed your Christmas gift shopping yet, you need to get on that, or on December 23 you will be at some mall wrestling with someone over the last Taylor Swift perfume gift set.

While clicking around the web with my one good eye, I happened upon Wolf and Badger. I once wrote a book called Engage the Fox about anthropomorphized animals to teach business strategy so you know I'm all over the name. They have beautifully curated goods that are ethically made by independent designers. They have shops in London and New York and ship around the world.

Look at these Bee Tassel Earrings. They'd be fabulous for a holiday party.

This Santa Maria Silk Cushion is striking.

I love a smart notebook like this Pocket Notebook from Sloane.

I adore coin earrings. I had a pair in the 80s and think they are due for a comeback. These Malachite Coin Earrings are lovely.

Are you all done shopping or are you taking your chances at the mall this year?


Christmas Traditions: O Christmas Tree

As far as I'm concerned, this is how one should get a Christmas Tree.


(Honestly, are Sarah Vickers and Kiel James Patrick not the cutest? They are serious couple goals. And their new baby is everything.)

Because we have a new puppy, we have a disaster of a tree.

Behold the Teddy Zone...

It just might be the saddest tree in the world. It's fake and, since Teddy likes to use the bottom branches as a launching pad to the top, the bottom of the tree is all bent. The ornaments have been moved to the top half of the tree and the whole things looks terrible. I think we might go out and get a real tree, which has been a tradition of ours for years. My children and I have even volunteered at a charity tree lot in the past, since we are so wedded to the concept of real. I have a plan to put one on the porch outside so we can manage our puppy and our allergies.

I'm feeling a little maligned here...

But even if we don't get a second tree, we can always go to a tree farm. Because everyone knows it's more about the drive and the hot chocolate than it is about the tree. As long as I get sap all over my good winter jacket and have some mini marshmallows, I don't even need a tree. Mind you, the drive home will not be as fun without going 2 miles an hour and having someone monitor the sunroof to make sure the tree is still there!

Do you cut your own tree, go to a tree lot, or pull the tree out of the box in the basement?


Christmas Traditions: Charitable Gifts from the Heart

Ok, are these guys not the cutest?

They are leaning like they've had a little too much eggnog at the Christmas luncheon, no?

They also make a great gift from World Vision Canada.

No, you don't get to bring them home, but you can provide them to a family as a source of income and help bring economic resources to people who need them most. (For my American readers, you can visit World Vision USA. UK readers can visit World Vision UK. Australian readers can visit World Vision Australia. Other readers can find the correct links here.)

World Vision also sells tangible fair trade gifts if you want a little something something under the tree. I picked up this adorable Heart on Your Sleeve Sweatshirt from World Vision Canada. Because hearts and tartan are everything.

I'm also loving this heart-shaped cheese board.

Giving from the World Vision catalogue has been a long standing tradition in my family. You can hear me talk about it on today's See Hear Love show. Bonus: the Old Navy gold pants make another appearance. 

In the immortal words of Starbucks, go forth and Give Good. It will make a world of difference this Christmas!


*World Vision is a partner of See Hear Love, where I am a blogger. But I've loved them and supported them long before that!

Feeling the J Crew Love!

OK, J Crew has had some bumps over the years and we all wish we could get in a time machine and go back to the 2005 era of amazing Final Sales. But they've had some cute pieces of late and just like Selena Gomez and Justin Bieber, I really hope they make it!

Here are some cute pieces to carry you through holiday parties and into the New Year. Most of them are 40% off today with free shipping.

I have an old Philosophy di Alberta Ferretti dress that has a similar vibe to this Starry Tulle Top. I'd love this over jeans for a festive Christmas open house party. It's that fancy/not fancy thing that J. Crew has done so well in the past.

A true teenager of the 1980s, I am still obsessed with velvet hair bows. I used to have one that I sported with Laura Ashley dresses as a teen. So, obviously, I am obsessed with this one.

Is this not the cutest t-shirt? Champagne is always a good idea!

I'm thinking waaaay in advance here, but is this Wrap Skirt in Jacquard Hearts not adorable for Valentine's Day? It would be sweet at a New Year's Eve party too with a simple black t-shirt.

Are you taking advantage of any of the sales to build your winter wardrobe or are you still in the crazy of Christmas gift shopping?


Christmas Traditions: The Nutcracker Ballet

Every year, I take my daughter to see the Nutcracker. (I took my youngest son once, but he loudly complained that there was too much dancing...