Dolce & Gabbana Christmas Charlotte Groeneveld Thefashionguitar

What I love most about the Holidays is spending time with my family, eating all the food I love, drinking my favorite Champagne, and watch every single Christmas movie, until I fall asleep on the couch. Luckily I found a man who loves to do the same, so every year our planning is pretty straight forward. We do the above mentioned, we both do our part – he does the grocery shopping, I do the gift shopping – and then we start. For the first couple of years in our relationship, when we lived in The Netherlands – where we both grew up – we spend these days with our families on both sides. However, this changed when we moved abroad. For the better – for a while – and the worse…

The first part was good. Truth to be told, no matter how much you love your family, there is a point in your relationship where you can’t bear the thought of spending another three days sitting together with all of them, again – these are the selfish years – and you just wish you could spend it together. Our solution for that, back then, was spending collage time abroad. Thomas started with India, where he did 6 months at JNU. I visited twice. Now my memory doesn’t go back that well, but I believe this was the only year where one of was spend time abroad, but we still spend Christmas in The Netherlands. Hence, selfish behavior not fulfilled. Then it was my turn, I did an internship in Singapore, and we spend Christmas there. The two of us, and it was so good. We did Christmas shopping together, we spend our days next to the pool together, and had a little BBQ, just the two of us. And we loved it! Then Singapore ended and Thomas decided to do another couple of degrees – LOL, this is me teasing him, but fact is, he did a whole bunch – in Beijing and London. First at Beijing University, where I also ended up to do an internship, because at the end of the day, we were at the point where we wanted to move in together. So students/interns in Beijing, during winter when it’s unbearably cold, we celebrated Christmas with a family of friends who just happened to be in Beijing over Christmas. AWESOME! Someone else’s family is in those “selfish years” a perfect replacement for everything you can’t stand of your own – sorry mom, dad, in-laws, hold on, I’m going somewhere with this story. Truly a Christmas to never forget. Steef, Daan & Family, thanks again.

And then came London, where we lived with friends close by, in our favorite area of the city, loving it. Every single bit of it. Christmases with family – in The Netherlands or in London – became debatable again, as The Netherlands was just an hour away. Yet, with both our families living literally at opposite sites of our tiny little country, we still ended up going back and forth between both. And this was exhausting. Imagine when we started our families… And if having your first baby isn’t stressful enough, going back and forth between families, having your baby to adjust to a new temporary bed, another bunch of strange faces who want to hold them – we did not even have the jetlag planing part that time – it was exhausting, again. So at some point we decided we had to spend Christmas our own way. Happy to welcome everyone at our place, but we just didn’t travel to anyone, anywhere. We just wanted peace, spending time with our tiny little family, eating all the food we love, drinking our favorite Champagne, and watching every single Christmas movie, until we fall asleep on the couch – of course, not the babies, they slept safe and sound int their own beds.

It took us a long time to go from “wanting to be selfish” to being “selfish”, because at the end of the day the pressure is up, as Christmas is something you are supposed to celebrate together. Yet, was this really that selfish? Young parents like us, in similar living situations – abroad, moving every couple of years – understand. Though, most probably don’t act on it. Out of guild. But as with so many things in life, with bringing up your kids, and developing yourself, sometimes you have to do what’s good for you, and what feels is the best for your family. The tide will change eventually, as it always does, and nobody has to get hurt. Now I’m not telling you nobody was, because in our life abroad, being selfish has probably hurt some or our closest people, but we had to do it to get through things. Having babies is hard, nursing them and bringing them up to be solid tiny humans is harder, and at the same time looking after yourself is the hardest…

We moved to New York, then to Toronto, and the tide started to turn. The selfish years were about to end. We missed our family and friends a huge deal, while we loved – and still do – living abroad. We know that is what makes us happiest. But so it turns out, this part is even harder than the “guild part” we had in our earlier days as a family. Our time in Toronto so far, even though we know it’s not going to be forever, is the “loneliest” of all the cities we’ve lived in. It has been hard to adjust – and trust me, after having moved 7 times of 5 years, we know adjusting – investing in people is hard when you know it’s not going to be here forever, plus, this was the first city we moved to with zero people we knew. So it was altogether HARD. I got lonely, even though I’m surrounded by my three favorite people in the world, the help of mother and mother-in-law whenever needed, and a bunch of great travels for work. All those little moments in between made lonely, which then made me sad, something I never really experienced this way before… I felt like Betty Draper in her bored housewife years…

People around me told me I should not worry too much. Not long ago I struggled with Thyroid cancer, battled it, beat it, but my body had also not been the same as it was before either. It was a struggle, and still is, even though my doctors in New York are amazing. I just feel crap a lot! And that’s hard to handle when you know your life is pretty amazing on paper. Because how to make that smile, when you are not really smiling on the inside? So that’s what I work on every day, with an amazing husband next to me, who – I don’t know how – handles it so well. And keeps on dealing with my mood swinging all over the place. I mostly save my smiles just for the kids, but that means there’s not many left for him. But we deal with it, and every morning I feel we are getting a step closer to the old me. And that feels good!

But where do I really want to go with this story? Well, it’s simple… this year we felt we really wanted to be around both of our families during Christmas, but for many reasons we couldn’t. With everyone being spread out across the globe, literally from New York to Africa, and back to The Netherlands, none of us celebrated Christmas together, and it felt like shit. Keeping circumstances in mind, and knowing it was the best thing to do this year, we are 100% positive that we want to never not spend Christmas without our growing families, on both sides, next to us. Truth is, the tide has turned, as it always does…

Dolce & Gabbana Christmas Charlotte Groeneveld Thefashionguitar

Dolce & Gabbana Christmas Charlotte Groeneveld Thefashionguitar

Dolce & Gabbana Christmas Charlotte Groeneveld Thefashionguitar

Dolce & Gabbana Christmas Charlotte Groeneveld Thefashionguitar

Dolce & Gabbana Christmas Charlotte Groeneveld Thefashionguitar

I’m wearing a Dolce & Gabbana dress and (on SALE!) headband, and Stella’s wearing a H&M dress and headband (sold out online).

Photos by Daniel Kim (@Walking Canucks)


  • Ash

    Well this made me cry… it was perfect! Your life certainly is perfect on paper and in pictures, but we know that no-one is perfect all of the time. You don’t have to be!.. your readers, including myself, like to know that you are “human” it reminds us that it’s ok to be imperfect too. I have a bad habit of building up the holidays in my mind, of making memories from the past into the most magically perfect happenings possible… and when the present holiday doesn’t live up to those thoughts and expectations that I’ve created, I feel a sense of loss… and now that we are a family of 4 instead of 6, it’s hard to find that “joy” that seems so clear in my memories. So, I remind myself of how wonderfully magical my family is, how we make our own memories each year, no matter where we are or who can be here and I keep myself happy in the present bc we can’t live in the past and can’t miss the present looking forward to a future all the time. This Christmas, I am thankful! I don’t know you, but your family is lovely… and what you’ve written is lovely… so much to be thankful for.
    Blessings to you and them during the holidays and in your new adventure! (It will be what you make it) ❤️-ash (magazine to mercer)


      Ash, you are the sweetest. Thanks for taking the times to leave this amazing comment. This means so much to me. It’s good to know I’m not alone in this! All the love from me to you! Xx

  • lisagalesloot

    mooie vrouw, follow your flow, your excitement. Hoe goed het er ook op papier uit mag zien, vechten kost energie. Ontspan en zie waar je heen beweegt, vertrouw dat, vertrouw je inuitie, ook als je hoofd het niet volledig begrijpt of wil begrijpen of als het buiten andermans of je eigen verwachtingen is. Je draagt geluk bij je van nature <3 vertrouw daar op. Thanks for sharing and opening up, the world needs it :) dikke knuffel!

    ps: wat zijn jullie samen prachtig!


      Love xxx

  • Natali

    THANK YOU for this empowering, honest and humbling post! I must say that I have started to follow you first because of your Thyroid cancer as I have battled the same at the same time and am still feeling “crap a lot” just like you do too.. I’m also a mom and I love fashion and expressing myself through my outfits and so on… That was a 2nd thing that drew me to this blog and the final, not the least important one was your writing and occasional longer, really moving posts like this one! So thank you for bringing me back over and over again to your blog, post after post.
    Much love to you and power from Finland!


      More than welcome, and so happy I could share this with all of you. It’s so amazing to read the sweet comments, as you always leave them here, which means the world to me. Hang in there… Xxx

  • My heart broke reading this. My parents and in-laws each live several-hours-flights away from us, and I miss them terribly when holiday season comes around. So it’s been nice having them here visiting, one after the other, for the past few days. But I think I still have some of those selfish years inside me still, because I can already feel myself wanting my little nest all to myself a little bit. Thank you for such a candid post. It’s good to know that I’m not alone in feeling this way!



      I wanted to share this exactly for the reason you give in your comment, so that others know they are not alone, and for myself too. Because reading all your lovely comments make me realize I’m also not the only one.. xx

  • Such a beautiful post Charlotte! So far we have managed to spend Christmas with everyone each single year. But with my part in Portugal and Chris’ part in the Netherlands, this isn’t easy either. Most people drive a couple hours to see their loved ones for Christmas. We fly over to Portugal some days before, spend Christmas Eve and Christmas Day’s lunch with my family and rush to the airport right after. This means we can make it back to the Netherlands through the night of the 25th, and early on the 26th we rush on a train to make it to Zeeland, to celebrate 2nd Christmas day. It’s so exhausting! But I wouldn’t do it any other way. As we get older, so do our relatives, time seems to move too fast and little things in life like giving an extra hug to my grandpa or singing songs with our baby nephews that we barely see all year around, make up for it all and are worth every minute out of sleep. And we don’t have children yet, so I totally get you! Sorry that you couldn’t spend Christmas here this time, but who knows you’ll never spend it far away again!

    Oh, and you and Stella look fabulous!



      Thanks for taking the time to comment Catia, it’s so good to read stories of women who struggle with the same feelings, especially over the Holidays… We will spend our Christmases together again in the near future, for sure! Xxx

  • Hi…. your website is amazing and your articles that you post is very informative. I always see your website and always get new interesting information. Thanks for it.

  • Faye

    Really loved that story !!


      Thanks Faye.. Xx

  • Reading this my heart really goes out to you Charlotte. It’s not easy when periods of absence from family & friends is forced, rather than by choice as in your early years. It must also be so difficult for you still recovering from your cancer, as let’s face it – recovering from such an illness is not an overnight process – the treatment alone takes a massive toll on your body (my sister had cancer when she was 21).
    You & Stella look gorgeous together, I love how natural the photos are.
    Hugs Adele xoxo


      Thanks for your – as always – lovely comments. It really means a lot to me! Xx

  • simona

    A post really intense and touching.
    xxx Simona


      Thanks Simona.. Xx

  • Carmen Mattijssen

    Heavy story! The pics together are lovely.
    Lots of love,



      Life is heavy sometimes, but there’s always better things around the corner! Xx

  • OMG. Loved reading your post. Adorable pictures!


      Thank you Jatin.. Xx

  • You ladies look beautiful! Lovely x

  • AryaChic

    That’s a crazy story but how inspiring! Keep doing what you’re doing – you’re so damn good at it :-)


      Thanks so much.. Xx

  • Alexia Mickens

    That red dress is beautiful! Happy holidays!

    See my latest post:
    // be original
    born bred BE – a blog by Alexia

  • Barb D.

    Dear Charlotte, this was such a touching post and it reminds me a lot how me and my husband feel every Christmas. We’ve moved to Toronto 10 years ago and left our families behind, back in Europe and although people say it gets easier, it really doesn’t. That being said, if you’re ever looking for a friend or just somebody to talk to, I’m here for you! It took me forever to find new friends, people I can trust, people I can count on but most importantly people who would listen.. I know what it means to feel lonely… xo, Barb (


      Thanks Barb. It’s been going so well for a long time, and then, a few bumps in the road, and suddenly everything felt much harder than before. But that being said, we are a happy family, we have everything we need, and there’ve been so many silver linings along the way. 2017 looks good, so I will be fine… Xx

  • Great look, I love the dress!

    L.A –

  • Isabel

    All the love from my family to yours!
    Everyone wants happiness, no one wants pain, but you can’t have a rainbow, without a drop of rain… Or, it’s always the most dark right before the sun comes up! XO


      You are so right… Xx


  • All of these photos are so cute! Love the kitten dress!