Sophia loves books! I love board books because they can’t be ripped, bent, or otherwise deconstructed by so much baby love!


Greetings from a wet, rainy, and winter-y west-coast island where post-Christmas finds us cozy, happy, well-fed, well-loved, and peaceful.

Our first Christmas as a little family was wonderful. I think one of the things I enjoyed the most was the chance to re-examine my thoughts on the traditions of Christmas, and asking myself “how do I want my family to practice this holiday?” In particular for this blog post, do I want my family to engage in Christmas as consumers, or as creators of meaning and beautiful memories? (The spirituality of Christmas is a whole different topic, and one that I won’t get into in the post!)

This year, our days were light on the gifts, but rich in time with family, good food, walks through the trees, and laughter.

We pulled a Christmas time favorite off the shelves after I experienced some last minute guilt and panic on December 24th about not having done any Christmas shopping! Bill McKibben’s Hundred Dollar Holiday: The Case for a More Joyful Christmas is much loved by my family, and allowed me to fully reconnect with what is most important after I got swept away by a moment of Christmas flap.

In addition to an invitation to re-think your Christmas traditions, Hundred Dollar Holiday contains a succinct history of how it is that we came to celebrate Christmas the way we do (with a fat man in red coming down the chimney, the feasting, the tree, the gifts, etc.) The history of Christmas may surprise you, and if you already feel that it is over-commercialized, your feelings will be validated when you learn that Christmas was in part “the thin edge of the wedge by which many Americans became enmeshed in the more self-indulgent aspects of consumer spending…a crucial means of legitimizing the penetration of consumerist behavior into American society.”

What we really want and need in Christmas is quite simple:

Peace, stillness, and quiet. Time with LOVED ones. An invitation to be outdoors. Community. Relationship with the Divine. Non-consumer activities with children (and adults). An outlet for human creativity in LOVE!!

If this sounds about right to you, do check out this little gem of a book, you’ll love it!

We DID get Sophia a few things to explore and play with (after all that talk about non-consumerism I know, but I feel that money spent in thoughtful places is still very important.) There is a wonderful selection of wooden, cotton, or wool, non-toxic, environmentally friendly toys being made these days, and so far our favorites in wood are PLAN TOYS and UKOONTO. Sophia has several, beautifully colored toys from Plan, and a set of wooden blocks from Ukoonto, made right here in Canada from all natural, re-claimed maple wood. So far, David and I have been building with the blocks, and Sophia knocks them down and practices her fine motor skills with picking up the differently shaped pieces and putting them in her mouth.

These toys make me very happy because EVERY thing that she gets into her hands, goes into her mouth, and I prefer that she not be sucking on plastic or anything with lead paint. We are doing our best to keep plastic out of her mouth, and I am surprised at how much attention it requires! You don’t realize how much plastic is in your life until you start to notice every time it is about to enter your baby’s mouth! While we are doing pretty well at no plastic, I am also maintaining a mostly “not too uptight” attitude, and so if somehow a plastic measuring spoon ends up in her hands once in a while from a loving relative, let it be.

Some more great resources for safe toys for your precious ones:

Planet Happy Toys. A gathering of some of the highest quality natural toys.

Baby Naturopathics. In Canada!

Rolling Grove Organics. More than just toys. In Canada too!

We have several wonderfully eco-conscious children’s stores near by, so I have not personally used any of the above services for anything but research. Let me know if you and your baby have any other favorite natural toys!

Other special gifts included a gorgeous treasure of a book written and compiled by my mom for Sophia called “Before You Were Born,” and boxes of raw chocolate truffles from Heather. Hand made is the best! To see more first Christmas photos, go HERE.

As I write, we are drawing to the close of 2009. It has been a quiet evening for me. David is away in California at an event, and Sophia, myself, my mom, and my Oma celebrated the end of 2009 with four generations of women. Delight was on all of our faces as we loved and appreciated the generations before and after us! Needless to say, I was the only one left awake at midnight!

I hope that you and yours have had a blessed and magical season as well, and all my best wishes and stardust for a continuation of joy, growth, bliss, and peace for the New Year!

Thanks for reading,