A Christmas Treat

Tue 20th, Nov, 2012

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Well, it’s that time of year rolling around again Beach Cottage people….let’s get ourselves all twinkled up… I am one who loves Christmas, I love the sparkle, the magic, the food and the celebration.


One of my favourite favourite things to do at Christmas time is treat myself to the Christmas mags to add to my collection…Christmas home magazines are the ones that I cherish and I have a lovely stash of them now…I am building up a good lot of Aussie ones to look back at every year and the French ones make my heart race just a little teensy tiny bit when I go back and flick through them as, in my exciting life, my head begins to fill with all things festive.


This year is no different to what I do every year…I have been waiting for the Christmas issues to come out and as ever they are good, so sooooo good, lots of titles seem to be on fire this year, funny how it goes like that, I am particularly enjoying two, one of them being the one you see above…Real Living.

So, many moons ago, when babes were small and things were less droopy, I read in a newspaper about a woman who turned her home into a magical Christmas Cottagey Wonderland every year and opened it up to the village and any passer-by with pretty things for sale, mugs of mulled wine and plenty of mince pies.

She told of her many little Christmas traditions in this article, how it was her special time to treat herself, indulge in what she loved and celebrate her life….she told of rituals like eating boxes of Belgian chocs by the fire, heading to a country house for a Christmas outing and preparing special foods that were not seen at other times of the year.

Hmmm, it made me think I so needed to do the same in my life, rather than running around like a headless chicken in malls and shopping centres, whining on about how busy I was….rather I needed to sit back from all of that and make it a special time for me…make up easy little traditions that didn’t take much time (with littlies I didn’t have bundles of that) or be too hard on the budget that I had to think about them too much.


And so I dreamed up a few silly things – sharing a box of chocs, some bubbly and a present with the lovely Mr BC on Christmas Eve once the kiddos were all tucked up in bed, a Christmas trip to the beach (yes this was probably a tad on the odd side when not only did one live quite a fair distance from the beach but one also had to wear a snow suit to get out of the car), having mulled wine bubbling on the stove, a Christmas bath (yes really with glittery sprinkles in with the bubbles & Bing in the background plus some special pjs) and my favourite…an expedition for the purchasing of The Christmas Magazines.

And all of those silly little, rose-tinted rituals are still very much adhered to in this old cottage on the other side of the world …funny how changing the way you think about something makes all seem sweeter – those sweet rituals I did quietly for myself, that didn’t cost much money, made all the headless chicken stuff a whole lot more bearable.


…and the Christmas Magazines Tradition is one that I look forward to every year – in those days I rugged up, got a coffee and headed off to the newsagent all ready to get back home, snuggle up on the sofa and dive right on in.

But when I came to Australia the tradition got a bit of a twist….nowadays my Christmas magazines are sun-kissed and instead of getting rugged up, I grab a basket, a towel and a coffee, get the magazines and head down to my favourite (and secret, mostly known only to locals) beach. And if not long enough there, the whole affair moves to out on the deck, on an Adirondack nicely helped along with a glass of Pimms or my bedroom, polka dots ready, lights on, as the sun goes down.

One year, while I was knee-deep in Christmas house envy, ensconced in the white sofa, surrounded by twinkly white fairy lights and candles one of those flyer inserts fell out of the magazine, I picked it up, saw the offer and thought to myself what a good idea that would be for a new little tradition…a treat to myself at Christmas-time that golly, lasted the whole year?

Now blow me down with a feather, a subscription to a magazine to hit my letterbox every single month, man that would rock!

And the more I thought of it the more I believed that gosh, wouldn’t some of my friends like to receive the same thing too?


And so a new Beach Cottage Christmas tradition was born…the yearly subscription to a fave magazine, I’ve already done it for next year, sooooo looking forward to receiving it….it’s all too easy, saves me about half, so good for my budget, but the best thing for me is later on, in the depths of February when all things festive are long forgotten, when the postie goes past and pops in my post box at the end of the drive a brand spanking new fresh off the press magazine – I run…I don’t care about my pj’s or bed hair, pop the kettle on, scoot down there like a woman possessed, make the tea, grab a jug of flowers, head to the nearest Adirondack, pop on my rose-tinted specs and lose myself for a read and a delve into dressed up tables, pillowscaped sofas, 65 ways to foof my bed and gardens that make me sigh.


And so if you are looking to treat yourself to a rather special secret little Christmas gift this year, this is the place to get a great price on magazines…plus there is a fantabulous prize on offer if you subscribe (hello Airstream, hello!), also there is International shipping on these Aussie titles, which, from my inbox I know many of you would love

….and if you have a special someone in your life that you want to treat for Christmas then I highly recommend a gift from here that will last all year…(you may also secretly watch them running down to their post box in their pj’s without any make up on, take a photo and threaten to post it to instagram, that is your prerogative )

…oh and if any of you would like to include me as that special someone in your life, I don’t have many friends who like me enough to buy me a magazine subscription, so I would be more than happy to oblige.

Yours in all things treating yourself at Christmas

What are your favourite magazines?  Do you treat yourself to a subscription?  I do!  Do you love to snuggle up with your favourite mag?




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38 Responses to “A Christmas Treat”

  1. Robyn says:

    That sounds delightful! Love your decorations too.

  2. oh how i adore a good Christmas Issue.
    Sitting and reading of all of the traditions both old and new.
    coming up with new ideas of this my little family can do.
    For the past year i have been subscribing to Martha Stewart & Donna Hay and now the wonderful Gathered has come out i have that too.

  3. Oh the fabulous ritual of reading those gorgeous mags…love it!!! xx

  4. Melinda says:

    How coincidental – I have a pile of Christmas mags ( old issues) on my bedside table and am so loving going through them, dreaming and scheming for this years Christmas. I keep the Christmas issures of my favorites as they are such a good reference for Christmas cooking, foofing and wrapping ideas – love them!

    Am also with you on the magic of subscriptions – such a thrill each month. I treat myself to a year of my all time favorite Inside Out magazine – love love love . Mum gets Real Living ( so I can borrow) and Im kind of wondering whether Santa would be interested in giving me Country Style… hmmmm

    Christmas mags = a very nice tradition xx

    • sarah says:

      I think Santa should be listening…. ;-)

      yes I love referencing the old Christmas mags…kinda timeless and so good to get you in the mood!

  5. Susan says:

    I have a lot of back issues of Christmas mags…and I keep the needlework ones in my bag so that I can dive in and do an ornament when it it hot and sticky to enjoy the thoughts of coolness!

  6. Linden Townhouse says:

    I love Christmas issues. My very favorite magazine was “Country Homes” (I live in the USA). Sadly, it went under during our recession here, and I still miss it. I subscribed to it for 30 years. I keep hoping to hit the Mother Lode at a garage sale wherein someone is selling 30 years of back issues!

    • sarah says:

      Yes I think your girls in the States lost a few good titles in the recession, there was one I used to buy here (we get most of the international mags) …can’t remember the name of it now but it went under too x

  7. Tanya says:

    I love magazine subscriptions and Christmas!!
    My hubby buys me a magazine subscription to real living every year for my
    Birthday and the excitement when I get it in the post box is beyond words!!
    There is nothing like pottering in the house and putting up Christmas things and burning cinnamon candles!

  8. alison says:

    Subscriptions! Do I what!!

    After several years I recently did not renew my resubscription to Highlife. The magazine is pure fantasy about living in the NSW Southern Highlands. It’s total escapism. Love it, but taking a break.

    So that leaves me with the following subscriptions:
    South Coast Style
    Australia Coast to Coast COUNTRY STYLE
    Grand Designs Australia

    I have this ritual where I keep the plastic cover on them until I can read them when I can’t be interrupted. The year round self indulgence is wonderful. The only disappointment is that I don’t get the tv channel that has Grand Design Australia on it so the true impact of the articles is a little lost on me.

    I am a Kevin McCloud Grand Design, Restoration Man, Escape to the Country, Homes Under the Hammer and Selling Homes Abroad tragic.


    PS Sarah,
    I just spent a few days in Berry in a white cottage that you would LOVE and came across your quilt in one of the local shops. I stroked it and pondered and sighed. Mr alison just doesn’t like it so I have to pine from afar. He’s started our ensuite reno so I have to think strategically. You know how it is. :)

  9. Felicity says:

    I love this tradition. Each Christmas I always buy the Christmas edition of Better Homes & Garden, with the free Christmas paper, it’s my treat. But I do subscribe to Country Style, could not live without this one. My Mum will not buy any magazines, a waste of money she says. I do not agree at all, as with most things she says, lol. There’s nothing better than sitting down with your favourite magazine and a coffee for an hour, that’s true time management.

    • sarah says:

      yes sitting down with a drink and a mag is one of life’s little pleasures…I love the free paper too!

  10. Lucy Keogh says:

    Love this tradition – and I too subscribed to 3 magazines last year and haven’t regretted it since – found good deals and on I went! And every month I get 3 shiny new beacons of decorating hope in my letter box and I spend a scary amount of time loving every minute of them!

    And I wanted to ask where your spotty sheets are from Sarah – they are lovely!

    Yours in magazine worshiping!

    • sarah says:

      oh me too Lucy!

      I took the plunge and subscribed to quite an exxie one from overseas…I was in two minds about whether it would be worth it…..TOTALLY love it and inspired every single time it arrived at my post box…love that x

  11. Kat says:

    Oh Sarah I do love this post about treating yourself in simple ways that lift your spirits.
    Love, love, love it! :)
    As a busy Mum to four aged 4 to 10 I need all the little (inexpensive) treats I can get and so I am going to do just what you suggested and start a few more traditions.
    Real Living is one of my fav mags and I snuggled down in bed last night and started reading it’s lovely eye candy.
    Got a recommendation from a friend to get Country Style’s latest Christmas issue too, so may have to treat myself to that one next ;)
    Your bedroom looks so relaxing and gorgeous.
    Keep enjoying your mag reading and your special Christmas traditions and treats.
    Keep sharing them with us as the crazy season approaches.
    May it be a relaxing, fun and special time for you and all of us :)

    • sarah says:

      Kat, the year I started doing this Christmas changed for me…I think it’s really easy to lose what it’s all about in the world we live in and also as women we seem to take on so much…doing this helps you think, yeah, I’ll do this just for me


  12. Kat says:

    Ps Your post reminds me that I really should buy a subscription to Real Living instead of getting it each month with the groceries.
    It probably works out much cheaper with the subscription.

  13. Rukmini Roy says:

    Im on the train too… :) Christmas really brightens me up..its fills me with some unseen magic jelly that makes my knees go weak, tints my eye rosy and makes me excited as a grasshopper. It’s my favorite festival. Irrespective of being a Hindu, we celebrate Christmas and we celebrate it like we mean it. No sickly Christmas tree, ignored and with poor lights will see its day in our home. My sister is Christian and so is my uncle. Uncle started this tradition when I was 1 and since then Christmas is our festival. Your photos made me so nostalgic.
    The lights, the tree- the magic; its beautiful.
    Would look forward to the Beach Cottage Christmas.

  14. Angie says:

    Well, I’m inspired. Broke as a joke over here, but inspired. Thanks for that.
    Love the pic where the dresser/cabinet is dressed up with skates and reflected in the mirror.
    Your photos are my subscription. No lie. I be stealing ideas from Coastal Living and A Beach Cottage left and right.
    I’m all ready to twinkle it up around here, but all the regular stuff that needs cleaned up is in my way.
    Damn all that stuff!
    Thanks for doing your thing, Sarah.

    • sarah says:

      thanks for your kind words Angie!

      I have done this when budget was in full force…even if it’s just a Christmassy coffee ALONE or something similar…so many easy ways to do christmas rituals without a huge budget xox

  15. Hi Sarah, you make me laugh – but in a good way, along with you, not at you! So here’s the thing, I always buy myself a Christmas gift and I’ve done this for years for at least the last 15 years! I go out to specially buy myself a gift. It’s a ritual with me! I figure that I work hard and I owe it to myself to buy me a little something, sometimes a big something, from me to me! hah! It gets wrapped up and when we open gifts on Christmas day, my grown up children always say, so mum what’s that one there…and I say it’s mine from me! It might be a watch I’ve been eyeing or a stunning handbag but it’s special and it makes me smile. And I always buy subscriptions, that’s another gift to myself…no I’m not selfish, I just believe I have to treat myself! Have a super week in the sunshine! From a rainy England! Sharon :)

  16. Naomi says:

    I love Real Living and Country Style. The odd Better Homes gets bought too.I hadn’t heard of South Coast Style, I’m going to look for that one. Isn’t it fun sitting down with your mag and just dreaming and planning. I too keep the Christmas editions of the mags I buy. Actually here’s a true confession, I had kept ten years worth and when we moved house in 2010 I had to part with most. It was fun seeing what was hot in 1999! Def not hot now. When we moved again last year I became brutal and now only keep two years plus Christmas issues.
    Gosh I LOVE, LOVE, LOVE your entire bedroom. My Darling Hubby (not sure about the darling) won’t hear of a white bedroom. Insert my sad little face. Wish I could come and sleep at your place for the night. Sarah I hope you don’t mind but I am going to steel your Christmas tree bedside idea. I saw a little tree at Ikea and loved it but wasn’t sure where to put it. Now I know. What a magical room. The little tree will add a little christmas sparkle to my space.

  17. Deb says:

    Sarah, the way you describe delving into all the delicious Christmas magazines is the way I feel each day when I peek into your website. What has she foofed? or painted? or just plain made something look phenomenal? I love your beautiful photos and humorous comments.
    As far as magazines go, Coastal Living is my absolute favorite. Keep up the great work!

  18. merilyn says:

    Hi sarah, do you know just how entertaining you are? I suspect not…You are inspirational!
    Your blog is as good as any magazine infact it’s better than most.
    You are such a story teller, with a fantastic sense of humour.
    Your blog offers variety and diversity and your styling and photography is great.
    You are such a home maker and you invite us to share your warmth and hospitality.
    Thankyou again for a new page to the magazine every day.
    must admit i do love some Christmas mags though…lol Merilyn x

    • sarah says:

      oh thanks soooooo much though I must say I share the good bits lol…I dont think many would like to see my house sometimes lol!!!

      I do enjoy getting on here and blogging…sometimes I just ramble on and forget that people are on the other side of the screen :-) …I have heard that from other bloggers too…when you start it’s just you and a computer screen – nothing has changed my end :-)

      I appreciate your lovely feedback, it’s nice to know that there are such kind people out there xx

  19. Shar Y says:

    Sarah, only you can make reading a magazine into such a glam event! I love to delve into a good one too, and I never flip through it first. I have to sit down and look at it page by page!

    And, Coastal Living is my fave!

  20. Sebrina says:

    Thanks for the post!! Now I have some new magazines to buy :) can I ask where you got your polka dot pillow cases and sheets/blanket?

  21. Martina Lam says:

    i just want to know where you got the coral reef and your polka dot bedding