“During the year, our children always tell us Santa Claus doesn’t exist,” Valérie Messika says. “But when Christmas arrives, they say, ‘You know, I think at the end of the day, he does exist.’ They’re afraid they won’t have anymore gifts if not.” This year, the founder and creative director of the fine jewelry brand Messika Paris and her husband, Jean-Baptiste Sassine, who helms the company’s business development side, will be spending Christmas in the French countryside with their extended relatives, followed by a ski trip to Megève, in the Alps.
The family’s typical Christmas Eve follows a classic playbook: “We put a glass of milk and cookies in front of the tree. We listen to Mariah Carey or Michael Bublé. We love to watch Love Actually,” Messika says. “They’re not very original traditions, but they are nice memories.” And when it comes to decorating the tree, there’s always a bit of ribbing involved. “Jean-Baptiste will say, ‘Why are you not doing that? You don’t help me!’ Everything’s falling down on the floor, and me, I’m concentrating on the visual aesthetic of the tree!”
The children, who are now 8 and 11 years old, won’t be the only ones with presents tucked underneath the fir branches. Messika is hoping to receive candles encased in Baccarat crystal, or a belt from Celine, one of her favorite labels. And something—anything—from Prada (“She has a problem with Prada,” Sassine adds). Before decamping from their home base, in Paris, Messika will be hard at work finishing her latest collection, a line called D-Vibes, which features interlocking links that can fit into one another like puzzle pieces.
While Christmas looms large on the family calendar, Sassine has another reason to celebrate: He will be turning 40 on December 20. His birthday wish? “I don’t need anything special,” he says. “Just for Valérie and our kids to be in good health and be happy.”
Still Lifes Photographed by Bobby Doherty; Styled Christina Holevas. Prop styling by Noemi. Bonazzi at M.A.P.
Hair by Frédéric Kebbabi at B-Agency; makeup by Jolanta Cedro at B-Agency; photo assistant: Valere Mbea.