Music in a softly lighted room "... but the prettiest sight to see is the holly that will be on your own front door..."
A Christmasy mug of fragrant, hot coffee.
Cozy socks that let me slide along the floor.
A dog snoring on my feet.
Pleasant smell of chocolate brownies in the kitchen.
Holiday spirit rekindled with gifts from the oven.  
A box of envelopes and freshly printed holiday cards. 
A pen in hand, frequently turning around in my fingers while waiting for the perfect word to complete the greeting notes...

I love humble, sent-in-the-mail kind of cards with handwritten messages inside. I believe they are not a thing from the past; on the contrary, in this digital age of Facebook and Instagram, of all the "noise" out there on the web and media, we need more than ever this simple, thoughtful act of kindness. A gesture that evokes the unique feeling of receiving something special on the doormat. A gesture that you can't delete with a click of a button.
I will never forget the priceless joy in my son's eyes when he received his first personalized letter from Santa Clause sent through the mail. For more than 30 years, volunteers and retired employees (the postal elves) at Canada Post have been donating hours of time to help Santa answer more than a million children's letters. Magic has been created!
Handwritten cards and letters in the mail always surprise the recipient with a burst of appreciation because they really are thoughtful and intimate. In a world full of busy people, the postcards make us pause and experience the true act of giving. From the deed of selecting, writing, sealing and sending, it is a conscious decision of devoting yourself to connect with others, to show care and love, to remind them how special they are wherever in the world they might live. I love to call it "a gift of time and thoughts", when we reconnect with things we can do for others rather than what we can get, the soul of the season.
This holiday season, encouraged by friends and family, I finally created my own greeting cards out of my photographs. A lovely friend of mine even offered to sell them in her flower shop "Paris Florists". Keeping my fingers crossed, customers will like them. I am actually quite proud of the final result. And another friend who volunteers in a retirement home, with staff consent, just gave me the names of few residents who don't have families and close ones. This weekend my son will write holiday messages on some of my cards and together with homemade gifts like these will deliver them to the home. 

Because, we believe, handwritten holiday cards still matter and little things can go a long way...

P.S.  Gatherings Magazine The White Issue (Celebrating Scandinavia) has just been published. I am excited to be a contributor and I hope you enjoy my photographs and the article I wrote, Celebrating Simplicity: A Handmade Christmas, just as much as I did working on them. The Winter-White Issue is full of wonderful ideas for decorating, crafting and cooking and makes a lovely Christmas gift. You can purchase a copy via the website here. With every print purchase, you receive a free digital issue. I promise, you won't be disappointed!  

I hope you all enjoy this sparkling, joyful holiday season!

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