Merry Christmas and happy holidays!
Did you know that there’s a Christmas tree in the atrium of the Ljubljana town hall? I forget every year, but it’s a beautiful atrium and it’s always open for free during the day, so if you’re ever in Ljubljana, go check it out. Also, a very merry Christmas or whichever holiday you celebrate to you and yours, I hope this one is a bit more social than the last one.
I think I managed to do the holidays right for once, because I had leftover vacation days due to poor time management and home renovation delays, so I ended up having 2 weeks off during the most hectic time of the year. I already did most of my gift prep earlier in December, so I was able to relax and enjoy finish a part of the renovation stuff instead of the last minute cookie baking and too much after work mulled wine. It was nice, but I’m not sure I’d be willing to sacrifice so many of my vacation days just for that, I’d rather use them to travel when the pandemic finally stops being an issue (fingers crossed for 2022!).
My boyfriend and I had a nice Christmas dinner with his family and we’re visiting my family today, so all is well. We kept our Christmas decorations to the minimum this year and I think it’s the first time ever that I’m spending Christmas without a full Christmas tree, but since we’ll be moving out soon it really didn’t make sense to go all out. We made a small Christmas corner and it worked, even though it does feel a bit sad.
Christmas gifts and decorations of 2021
I’ve already spammed you with a lot of gift giving posts and sustainability tips this holiday season, so I’ll keep it brief here. My boyfriend and I are gifting the usual fare to our friends and families, the rum pot with fruit and a box of cookies. Since I didn’t have much time to bake because of our home renovation this year, I made 3 types of cookies (according to my grandmothers’ recipes, as always) and added some homemade calendula salve and a bit of my first attempt at drying rose hip for tea. Speaking of which, how long does it take for a gift to become traditional? Because I’m definitely aiming at being known as the “rum pot and cookies” Christmas lady. 🙂
I’ve also started hoarding vintage tin cookie boxes – my family now get their cookies in returnable tin boxes and only the people I rarely see still get them in plastic bags (I tried paper bags last year, but the cookies are too greasy). Everything else, including the tins for calendula salve, rum pot glassware and the gift bags can be reused if people bother to return it or reuse it themselves.
DIY Christmas card ideas
Also, here are two of my ideas for creative Christmas cards: I signed up for 3 bimonthly book boxes at some point this year and they came in such gorgeous boxes I just had to do something with them. I’ve kept 2 for storage, while one got repurposed into Christmas cards. Simple, sustainable and people say it’s quite pretty (false humble right here, I think it’s pretty too!). Another option is to turn a cute postcard into a Christmas card or any other card, by glueing on a simple piece of folded paper as a sort of card window where you can write your note.
To finish, I leave you with this poem I read recently, because it’s a wonderful rendition of one of the popular Christmas songs and a reminder that Christmas is not just a Christian holiday, but also the turning of the seasons and we can all find something to celebrate in it.
C.C Wiliford – Twas the night before Yuletide
Twas the night before Yuletide and all through the glen Not a creature was stirring, not a fox, not a hen. A mantle of snow shone brightly that night As it lay on the ground, reflecting moonlight. The faeries were nestled all snug in their trees, Unmindful of flurries and a chilly north breeze. The elves and the gnomes were down in their burrows, Sleeping like babes in their soft earthen furrows. When low! The earth moved with a thunderous quake, Causing chairs to fall over and dishes to break. The Little Folk scrambled to get on their feet Then raced to the river where they usually meet. “What happened?” they wondered, they questioned, they probed, As they shivered in night clothes, some bare-armed, some robed. “What caused the earth’s shudder? What caused her to shiver?” They all spoke at once as they stood by the river. Then what to their wondering eyes should appear But a shining gold light in the shape of a sphere. It blinked and it twinkled, it winked like an eye, Then it flew straight up and was lost in the sky. Before they could murmur, before they could bustle, There emerged from the crowd, with a swish and a rustle, A stately old crone with her hand on a cane, Resplendent in green with a flowing white mane. As she passed by them the old crone’s perfume, Smelling of meadows and flowers abloom, Made each of the fey folk think of the spring When the earth wakes from slumber and the birds start to sing. “My name is Gaia,” the old crone proclaimed in a voice that at once was both wild and tamed, “I’ve come to remind you, for you seem to forget, that Yule is the time of re-birth, and yet…” “I see no hearth fires, hear no music, no bells, The air isn’t filled with rich fragrant smells Of baking and roasting, and simmering stews, Of cider that’s mulled or other hot brews.” “There aren’t any children at play in the snow, Or houses lit up by candles’ glow. Have you forgotten, my children, the fun Of celebrating the rebirth of the sun?” She looked at the fey folk, her eyes going round, As they shuffled their feet and stared at the ground. Then she smiled the smile that brings light to the day, “Come, my children,” she said, “Let’s play.” They gathered the mistletoe, gathered the holly, Threw off the drab and drew on the jolly. They lit a big bonfire, and they danced and they sang. They brought out the bells and clapped when they rang. They strung lights on the trees, and bows, oh so merry, In colors of cranberry, bayberry, cherry. They built giant snowmen and adorned them with hats, Then surrounded them with snow birds, and snow cats and bats. Then just before dawn, at the end of their fest, Before they went homeward to seek out their rest, The fey folk they gathered ‘round their favorite oak tree And welcomed the sun ‘neath the tree’s finery. They were just reaching home when it suddenly came, The gold light returned like an arrow-shot flame. It lit on the tree top where they could see from afar The golden-like sphere turned into a star. The old crone just smiled at the beautiful sight, “Happy Yuletide, my children,” she whispered. “Good night.”