The Most Magical Time of Year

December 03, 2023

The Most Magical Time of Year

We’re all familiar with that cozy tingle we get at the first thoughts of the festive season, at autumn’s end, when winter is upon us and the fresh scents of pine, balsam fir, amber and cinnamon spice fill the air. It’s time to rewatch your favorite nostalgic holiday classics, to send and receive holiday greeting cards. ’Tis the season to set up your Christmas tree, reminiscing over the family keepsakes and baking those favorite treats you only enjoy in December. These traditions and many more are the little things that feed into that holiday feeling that begins to stir at this moment in the year, exciting us for the magical moments that lie ahead. 

No matter our beliefs, the holiday season is something we look forward to all year. It's a time to come together and celebrate joy—to express love and hope and make memories we’ll hold dear in our hearts for years to come. Although every year may look a little different as families and friendships grow, let this be the season to honor familiar traditions and to take the opportunity to celebrate in new ways as well. It’s more important than ever that we focus on our common humanity, and our favorite way to celebrate it is by incorporating elements of midwinter festivities from around the world into our own familiar and comforting holiday traditions.

Embrace the Wonder

What do you think of when you hear the phrase the holidays? Most of us would agree, for starters, that we’re talking about the festive season between Thanksgiving and the New Year. For many of us, Christmas is what springs immediately to mind, though the magic of that day means something slightly different to each of us. For some, a nativity scene lies at the center of their Christmas feelings, and for others it’s a glowing tree surrounded by carefully wrapped expressions of our love for each other. In some countries, gifts are exchanged and the big meal eaten on Christmas Eve, whereas in the US, the joyous frenzy of opening presents happens on Christmas morning. In some countries, Santa Claus hides your treats in a stocking, but in others he’ll put them in your shoes! Every country—and every family—has its own beloved traditions around Advent, Christmas Eve, Christmas Day, and New Year’s Eve. 


For some among us the holidays are centered on the eight bright nights of Hanukkah, when families gather to progressively light the candles of the menorah. Hanukkah traditions include spinning the dreidel, exchanging gifts, and making potato latkes, jelly donuts, and other traditional treats. Kwanzaa also involves feasting together and lighting candles to celebrate the ancestors. In Sweden they celebrate St. Lucia’s Day on December 13—the festival of lights. Girls dress up like St. Lucia in white dresses with a crown of lingonberry branches and a ring of candles. Delicious Lussekatts, or saffron-infused buns with raisins, are savored on this day.  

In our exploration of holiday festivities around the world, we’ve been delighted by the colorful details and differences. But more than anything we’ve been struck by what these celebrations share: all around the world, secular or religious, traditional and newly updated—they are about light, love, delicious treats, and joy! 

At plj we love the deep comfort of the familiar traditions that have been passed down for generations. But much like our homes, if we want our holiday celebrations to feel alive, we must be continually open to updating them as our lives and families evolve. Hold onto what you love but make room in your heart to welcome new experiences, which lend themselves to fresh perspectives. Renewal is the best way to add light and love into our lives during the holiday season and beyond.

Make Moments to Remember

Decorate your Home for the Holidays 

With the shortest days of the year upon us, we can think of plenty of ways to create renewal in our lives. Incorporating new accents, hanging fragrant wreaths, enjoying winter scented candles, sitting by a warm fire, trimming a Christmas tree or potting special plants or seasonal flowers are the perfect way to add light and joy to our home, setting the stage for a festive holiday season. 

Meet for a Christmas Market Night

European-style Christmas markets are an unforgettable tradition—a simply magical experience! When the center of the city is dressed for the occasion, the twinkling hum of the holidays sweeps us up in a wave of nostalgia. Sip a hot beverage and buy handmade gifts from artisans’ stalls nestled in a picturesque, festively adorned square. You can create your own excitement closer to home by attending a tree lighting ceremony or visiting a local tree farm. We also love to bundle up and take advantage of an outdoor fireplace and heaters to host our own Christmas market-style gathering for a close circle of friends—featuring steaming cups of mulled wine or Christmas punch, holiday music, warming snacks, and an abundance of good cheer. 

Host a holiday baking day


A longstanding tradition in our home is to gather as a family and bake our favorite holiday cookies. Over the years it has become a moment for each generation to anticipate and adore. We don plj aprons, sip eggnog, and connect through the art of baking! Every recipe we try, every cookie we bake, and every funny story we share will become part of our living tradition, a sweet plate of loving moments of joy. Extending an invitation to your holiday baking day will brighten the festive season for someone in need of lighthearted companionship, and giving a decorative tin filled with homemade assorted holiday cookies is a wonderful way to share good cheer with friends and neighbors.

Trim the tree

If a Christmas tree is part of your family tradition, get everyone involved! Young children love to enjoy some holiday themed snacks while they spend an afternoon crafting new ornaments, stringing popcorn or decorating gingerbread cookies to hang on this year’s tree. Handmade ornaments and the stories that go along with them become “heirlooms” as they get handed down year after year. 

Take it outside!

It’s the time of year when we tend to spend more cozy time indoors, but outdoor activities with family and friends help everyone stay healthier, more cheerful, and more energized. Remember that tingly feeling we mentioned? One way to embrace it—quite literally—is to get out in the brisk winter air! Plan a sledding or ski day, a walk in the woods, even a cocktail gathering (with plenty of steamy sips and toasty bites) if weather permits. Take a family outing to the tree farm and choose your Christmas tree. Celebrate Winter Solstice, the shortest day of the year, by reconnecting with nature—and your loved ones. No matter how you celebrate at this time of year, the traditions that take us outside are our healthiest ones. And remember: the best parts of being outside in colder weather are the rosy cheeks, hot cocoa and warming up by the fire that follows!

Holiday Essentials

Winter glow

Taking good care of yourself during the holiday season is as essential as watching out for those around you who might need a little extra TLC. It's important to keep things in balance right now. Savor this precious moment when nature is dormant and time slows down. Allow yourself those joyous festive indulgences and keep with healthy eating habits otherwise. When temperatures dip, we tend to feel less thirsty than during the hot months, even though we’re still experiencing fluid loss throughout the day. Be sure to stay well-hydrated through the cold months, herbal tea and warm water with lemon are perfect ways to take the chill away! Make some time to be active but also to rest, relax, and enjoy your family. Practice yoga to embody mindfulness and take a brisk walk to boost your energy. 

Our Giving Guide

At partager la joie, this is our favorite time of year to celebrate the art of thoughtful giving, which brings delight to both the giver and the receiver. Thinking about what your loved one enjoys and imagining what would make them feel loved is important in meaningful gift giving. Few feelings are more delightful than anticipating the pleasure a well-chosen gift will bring. For us, the holiday season is all about the giving itself, and enjoying the appreciation of that moment. Be fully present as you share in that joy. 


This season, we’ve curated a few ideas for you! Looking for something cozy? Pair our super-soft luxurious loungewear with a Winter Woods or Sunday Morning candle for some premium snuggly comfort. For the traveler, we’ve stocked our travel essential pouch—complete with an eye mask and soft blanket inside and travel scarves in black and blush/white to keep comfortable wherever your wanderlust takes you. Planning a warm-weather getaway? Our oversized raffia beach tote is ideal when packed with a terry-cloth pouch to keep all your sun essentials organized and an adorable pareo to style over a swimsuit. There’s so much more to choose from when you’re looking for that something special for that special someone, so stop by our collections—style, home, and wellness—and take a look! If you’re looking for a touch of personalized curation, reach out to us. We’d take a lot of pleasure in helping you create a customized gift bundle.


Shop our style collection 


Design Notes: Time to Sparkle


Light, Bright, and Merry

At partager la joie we like to design with simplicity in mind— fresh, cozy and minimalistic elegance is the perfect backdrop for festivities, using elements from nature to anchor decor and choosing a neutral, light palette to create some warm holiday cheer. We love winter whites in various textures, especially luxurious blended throws, paperwhites, and simple twinkling lights. Winter boughs like pine, juniper, magnolia, olive, birch, green oak, and holly all complement each other in wreaths, vases or simple, elegant garlands to create a welcome entrance for the home or to dress a long table. Adorn these garlands with holiday ornaments—strings of clear bulbs, or silver and gold keepsakes. Infuse your home environment with comfort using earthy scented candles—shop our home for winter candle selections. 

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Festive Arrangements 

Indulge your creativity in your holiday arrangements! We like to keep the theme of seasonal simplicity going with ours—lots of winter whites and fresh greens, including magnolia or pepperberries on the branch, paperwhites, and amaryllis. Force some of these bulbs in your favorite containers and, depending on the timing (they take a couple weeks to open), they will last well into the New Year.

Can anything say home for the holidays more than the earthy, spicy scent of pine? Wreaths, trees of all sizes and varieties, and decorated garlands can bring holiday cheer to any part of your home.  


Set a Holiday Table

Layer and texture is the name of the holiday game with table settings this time of year. Drape beautiful greens adorned with personal touches. Always anchor your place settings with charger plates so that each guest’s dinner plate has a set spot at the table. If your group is large, think about making place-cards of some sort: a handwritten card with a seasonal sprig, and a small personalized gift, ornament, or festive confection for each guest. Incorporate warmth by using cozy touches such as faux fur accessories draped along the backs of dining chairs. 

Baubles and Bubbly

Epicure: A Holiday Feast


Whether you’re looking to turn heads with a holiday dinner showstopper, complement the craft cocktails for a midwinter apéro party, add some festive cheer to a midweek meal, or simply indulge in some seasonal comfort food, we’ve got the bases covered for you in our December epicure!

Cranberry Bread

Caribbean Rum Cake

Eggnog Coffee

Winter  Salad

Seafood Pasta

 Baked Brie with Cranberries

Potato Latkes

Lentil Soup

Classic Chicken Soup

Salmon Fillet en Papillote

Beef Tenderloin with Red Wine Reduction

Aperol Spritz

Poached Pears

Favorite Pie Dough  

GG’s Scotch Crescent Cookies 

Peanut Butter Blossoms 

Traditional Christmas Punch

Festive Ice Cubes

A Time to Toast


In nearly every culture under the sun, midwinter marks a time for the fading out of the old and the welcoming in of the new. On December 21st we celebrate the Winter Solstice, when the tide turns and days start getting longer again. It all gets brighter, starting now! And then there’s New Year’s Eve—let’s say goodbye to 2023 and make a joyous toast together about our wishes and intentions for 2024. Host a small gathering to ring in the turning of the year, or a brunch on January 1st. However you chose to celebrate, look at the end of the year as an opportunity to welcome a fresh start.  

With this moment of renewal, and whether you choose to set resolutions or not, take some time to reflect on what you’d like to keep, going forward, and what you would like to let go. Focus on the positive and customize your intentions to what you want for your life, not what you think you should want. Remember, when you find fulfillment in what you do and focus on doing something that makes you happy, you’ll experience more success doing it. As you transition into 2024, think about how you’d like to make small, positive edits in your life to create and preserve goodness around you—and we’re sure you’ll find success, not only this new year but for many years to come.

Remember to be kind to yourself and take the time throughout the festive season to journal on these themes; your notes will guide you in the coming year. This season is a moment to take stock of what we’re grateful for. It’s a moment to share our hopes and wishes for the future, and above all, express our love for those who give us joy.

Wishing you the happiest holiday season,

xo, Kristin

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