I'm an American expat, writer. photographer. and old-fashioned romantic in love with celebrating the simple joys of daily life. I appreciate timelessness, the natural world, and a slow life lived with simplicity and intention. When I'm not photographing families or  slowly traveling the world and writing about it in a little notebook, I'm happily grounding myself in nature and cozying up with my sweet husband.

joy

client tips

expat life

TRAVEL

it's personal

sessions

photography tips

read more

categories

simplicity

the Archives

More Categories

hello!

I'm Helena

Resources

Check out all my favorite photography gear, travel must-haves, resources, books I love, business hacks and so much more!

let's see 'em!

Enter:

Be Notified When I Post a New Blog Post

layflat albums

photo cards

family albums

view here

view here

view here

my favorites

20% off code

HELENAW

With the holidays right around the corner, Alex and I walked hand-in-hand through the freezing cobblestoned streets of Strasbourg, looking up in awe at the colorful twinkles of the thousands of lights that engulf the city. We shlepped to the massive Aushau supermarket (the Walmart of France) and lugged home bag after bag of lights, garland and wrapping paper. We spent weekdays after work wrapping our front door into a massive present, gold ribbon crisscrossing the frame and a massive glittery red bow taped on top. We hammered in nails, propping garland and pinecones along the wooden doorways, wrapping white twinkle lights around and around. The garland fell. We found ourselves tripping over lights, losing our balance on chairs, and walking away in frustration (typical Christmas decorating antics). We added some chocolate chip cookies in the oven, poured ourselves some cocoa and marshmallows (we may be in France but the Americans in us are still alive and well!) and sat down with our treat on our pillow-covered sofa, right after running next door to give a plate of cookies to our sweet French neighbors, and Will Ferrel’s acclaimed ELF ready to be played.

These are the memories I live for.

Bing Crosby playing on Youtube in the background. The sweet aroma of hot cookies wafting in from the kitchen. Squishy marshmallows being dunked in hot cocoa. Slow dances in the living room. A spontaneous make out on the couch, the twinkle lights softly glowing our living room. White Christmas, It’s A Wonderful Life and other classic Christmas movies we often binge – only at this time of the year.

These are the moments I most cherish. This are the moments I always look back on year after year.  This is what I most desire every Christmas.

We don’t ask for gifts from our family. In fact, we beg them not to give us gifts (some years we frustratingly have to ask them again not to). We ask for memories, we ask for experiences. Or rather, we don’t ask at all. What we want and most desire every Christmas are not the latest gadgets, the cutest shoes or the prettiest mugs. We don’t want another journal or pair of socks. We desire moments of LIFE. Of living fully alive, invested in the present and surrounded by people we care about. We desire roadtrips, long walks in the park and snuggles with dogs. We desire our family to come visit us, especially being so far away from home here in Strasbourg, and new memories to be shared and experienced together.

We desire new traditions being made. This is the first year my husband, Alex and I are spending Christmas together. For the past four years, Alex and I have been apart with our individual parents. But as newlyweds, with our first 6 months of marriage under our belts, we get to celebrate and create new traditions together for the future Christmases. This is the first one of many.

It’ll only be us this Christmas.

I don’t remember the trinkets or the appliances, the Starbucks gift cards or the new cardigan. I remember moments. I remember the love that we felt, the glances we shared and the thousand kisses shared under the twinkle lights.

As always, Mariah got it right.

Happy Holidays, friends. May this holiday season treat you peacefully. May you find joy in the now, in the present moment.

Helena Woods Desires and the holiday season

What I Desire Most Every Christmas

November 29, 2018

  1. Christine Boris Esteban says:

    Such beautiful sentiments, from beautiful you. Wishing you and your hubby many blessings of the season. With love…

Enter:

Receive my latest blog posts via email

Get access to the latest Simple Joys blog posts as soon as they're posted!

I'm Helena! As a creative storyteller, I document magical, emotionally honest family and children's portraiture. A lover of childhood, fairytales and natural light, I photograph families across the world. I'm the ultimate Disney nerd, and I'm obsessed with cats and expressing my love for the simple joys of slow, daily life.

hello friends

meet the blogger

follow the daily

adventures

Featured on:

Living France Magazine

Airy Fairy Feminist Podcast

Betrothed Magazine

Daily Dog Tag

Amor Latino Unveiled

resources

Check out all my favorite photography gear, travel must-haves, resources, books I love, business hacks and so much more!

let's read 'em!

Studio Updates

from helena

Sign up for Helena's newsletter to get instant early access to upcoming session dates as soon as they come out and the annual Fall "minis" - only available for those on the client list

let me at that newsletter!

Helena Woods is a destination newborn and family photographer based in France and New England and travels worldwide. She is known for her natural light, modern classic, and emotive photography style.

Explore

ABOUT

PORTFOLIO

MEET HELENA

PRICING

TRAVEL

CONTACT

BLOG

FAVORITES

back to top


© 2016-2020, Helena Woods Photography, All rights reserved | France, New England, New York City, Massachusetts, Connecticut