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Wigilia : Christmas Eve in Poland and linen

This Christmas 2023, I’d like to pay tribute to the Polish Christmas Eve tradition, Wigilia, because I was lucky enough to be introduced to it last year by a great Polish lady, Ela Glinka, who bought my products on the site to offer as a very special Christmas gifts. And also, because I import my linen from the Baltic countries for the good reason that we haven’t produced textile linen in Quebec or Canada for a long time now, and that this linen is absolutely magnificent. For Ela, linen is also linked to precious childhood memories. Let her tell us the story and inspire us!

Wigilia, by Ela Glinka

Fragrance of freshly brought home spruce tree from our forest fills the entire house.
We, children cannot wait to decorate the tree, the Christmas tree. It is a real joy to decorate it with homemade ornaments. The month of December was always dedicated to making coloured paper chains, straw stars and various hanging ornaments with beads and straw. Rosy apples harvested in the fall were threaded and hung on strong tree branches.  Our baked gingerbread cookies and bonbons wrapped in shiny paper brought by our uncle from the city were a real treasure for the tree. To complete the magical effect angel hairs and balls of cotton to imitate the snow were scattered all over the tree.  And then small beeswax candles were clipped to the branches. We knew these candles could only be lighted with adult’s presence in the room.

Ela, aged 10 and the eldest of the family, poses with her siblings in front of the Christmas tree in 1958.

Traditional dishes

In the kitchen, 12 traditional meatless dishes are prepared for the traditional Wigilia, the Christmas Eve’s supper.
The preparations begin several days before with the fermentation of beets and rye grains, sprouting wheat berries and marinating the herring.

This is a very special supper. The whole family takes part in the cooking and baking. The children love to help babcia (grandmother) with making small dumplings stuffed with wild mushrooms, picked from the forest in summer. They roll out the dough and cut circles then watch how the magical hands of grandma turn them into small dumplings with mushrooms inside. They will be served with borscht, a red beet soup made with fresh and fermented beets (beet kvass).

Wild mushrooms and sauerkraut and various added spices, juniper berries being the main could be cooked into a dish or made into larger dumplings called pierogi.

Father’s favorite dish is herring marinated with spices, carrots and onions. He also likes to prepare the big fish, carp, a traditional Wigilia fish, then fry or bake it. Our mama likes to make the cooked vegetable salad with lots of fermented cucumbers during the summer and homemade mayonnaise.


When it comes to desserts, the kids are back in the kitchen, mixing and beating eggs with sugar until become thick and creamy . Their favourite is when grandma is not looking licking their fingers dipped into the creamy egg mixture. With the joint effort a sweet dessert, kutia with sprouted wheat grains, honey, nuts and dried fruits and poppy seeds is created.

There are other sweet things that babcia already baked, poppy seeds cake, piernik (gingerbread cake) and dried fruit cake. The good rye bread was also baked the day before.

To complete the food preparations a special drink called compote was made by boiling fruits in water. Dried apples, pears and plums, sometimes cherries made this traditional delicious Wigilia compote. These are the fruits of our land harvested in summer and dried in the sun.

Richness of farm grown foods and the aroma of spices from far away lands create unforgettable  childhood memories.

The festive table

The dining table is beautifully set with the best linen tablecloth kept in the cupboard for just celebration of Christmas Eve. It’s a beautiful piece of fabric produced on the farm. Under the table, we place a small haystack brought in from the barn to symbolize the manger. We keep an empty place at the table for a missing family member and also, for a person or a family that we may meet, someone who has been waiting to know us for a while.

A pair of beeswax candles complete the beauty and elegance of the Wigilia’s dining table. Now that all is ready, the children wait with wonder for the first star to appear in the sky, a sign that Wigilia supper can begin. The meal begins with a prayer and the sharing of the oplatek (unleavened bread or white wafer), wishing everyone good health and prosperity. The twelve dishes are served in a very slow manner, so that everyone has a chance to taste them.


There would be no Wigilia without presents and St. Nicholas. The children wait for him with wonder, and also with worry. Will he bring a present or a rozga (a twig)?

Saint Nicholas knocks on the door and come with a bag of gifts. He asks each child how they’ve behaved. The well-behaved children get a gift, and those who have been naughty get a twig or a lump of coal. Gifts were often homemade: a wooden toy, a handmade doll, a hand-knitted woollen hat or sweater, linen handkerchiefs for grandma, a pair of woollen socks for grandpa.

To complete the Wigilia miracle, adults and children sing Christmas carols together. The words and melody of “The Silent Night” speak of that silent, magical night when time seems to stand still and animals speak at midnight.

The symbolism of Wigilia

Wigilia is not just a celebration, it’s a way of being. The empty space at the table, the hay of the barn, the sighting of the first star, the twelve dishes for the twelve apostles, the beautiful linen tablecloth, the breaking of the oplatek and its sharing with the animals at midnight, the carols, all remind us of the essence and depth of Wigilia, that Polish Christmas Eve feast. This symbolism is like a moment of silence, almost a meditation. It’s a marvellous pause that invites us to step outside in search of the first star. It’s also the magic of going to the stable to talk to the animals, who can also rejoice with us and comment on the advent of Christ on earth. Wigilia is part of my true identity. Who would I be without Wigilia? Wigilia unites. Our son-in-law, who grew up with the Wigilia tradition, proposed to our daughter. His dearest wish was “I want to marry you so we can live Wigilia together”.

Lin + Quotidien

When I found Le Lin Quotidien on the internet and contacted France, the owner, I felt a strong connection to my past, to my home. Her beautiful raw linen table linens, placemats and napkins, have found a special place into our family. We ordered it for Christmas. We immediately recognized the beauty of the workmanship and the natural elegance of the linen. But, it also reminded us of the symbolic value of all these things within our family. This beautiful link with France brought back memories of my childhood, not so long ago, when flax grew in the fields of many farms in Poland and other Eastern European and European countries.

In Poland, thanks to simple methods and tools, flax was transformed into yarn and then into linen fabric in our summer kitchen during the long hours of winter evenings. In the past, this fabric was used to make many essential items: clothes, bed linen and kitchen linen. I also have a vivid memory of a skein of linen spread out on our lawn to be bleached by the summer sun. Long live linen, which represents a healthier way of life for humans and the planet!

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Trapeze Dress: retro and trendy, minimalist and perfect

As a tribute to the fashion designer André Courrèges, the creator of the trapeze dress that we love and that suits us all so well. Each of us has at least one in our wardrobe, without necessarily knowing the origin. This dress with a retro look is always very trendy and is the essence of the minimalist style with pure lines. If “Simplicity is the ultimate sophistication” to quote Leonardo da Vinci, then this dress is the perfect representation. Although the design is very sober, there is nothing static or rigid about it. Moreover, the trapeze dress enhances the beauty of all women, regardless of their body type.

André Courrèges

André Courrèges studied drawing and architecture. He creates a functional fashion where white dominates and he is inspired by geometric shapes. His little white dress is the counterpart of the little black dress of Coco Chanel. In 1965, Yves Saint-Laurent spoke of the “Courrèges Bomb” saying: “I was bogged down in traditional elegance, Courrèges took me out. His collection appeared like a bomb. Afterwards, nothing was the same”.

Throughout his life, André Courrèges will say that he is primarily aimed at modern women, active, wishing to buy a way of life than fashion clothes. Bold women, freed from the shackles imposed by traditional fashion, corsets, guêpières, high heels. The work of André Courrèges is that of a visionary. Architect of clothing as much as a couturier, outrageously copied, he refused pure aestheticism in favor of easy-to-wear creations. He created an accessible, highly feminine, pure fashion. His vision is more than ever at the heart of the most current trends, Slow Fashion, Hygge, minimalist.

The perfect fit

The trapeze dress is narrow from the shoulders to the waist and thus highlights the feminine bust. By flaring down, it does not insist on the hips or buttocks. Thanks to its cut, the fabric dances when we walk, putting us in touch with our femininity. It leaves us completely free to move, allows us to walk with big steps, to cross the legs and bend easily. This is exactly the spirit of the designer.

The trapeze dress adapts to all circumstances. It is perfect for everyday casual look with flat shoes or sneakers. On the other hand, its natural chic makes it a sublime garment for special occasions, weddings, romantic dinners or cocktails.

The trapeze dress enhances any figure. If you are slim and everything fits you perfectly, it will highlight your femininity and sensuality. If your hips are wider than your shoulders and you want to hide your curves, it is perfect. On the contrary, if your shoulders are wider than your hips, it balances the whole. In any case, its flared cut refines the legs.

This little dress, signed André Courrèges is therefore a stroke of genius. Every time you wear it with happiness, have a grateful thought to its creator, the one who was named Le Corbusier of fashion by the Women’s Wear Daily, a daily women’s fashion newspaper considered as the Bible in this field.