This wonderful reindeer that I got from my colleagues. The
small candlesticks are so typically scandinavia. They
ended up in Afrika with some other stuff so our older
daughter she could get some Christmas spirit from home.
I love this time of year.   Or more specifically I really, really like December and Christmas time.  Not because I like cold weather.  On the contrary I dislike being cold intensely and am of the firm belief that being born here was a terrible misunderstanding in high places because I like sun and warmth and lush plants and animals running around and all that summer stuff.  So if it wasn't for Christmas I would wither away and die in the intense darkness that surrounds us at this time of the year.

December is a special month.  My birthday is today and my father had his birthday exactly one week later and a week after that it is my husband's birthday.  My husband and I had our first date in December and we always celebrate that much more than our wedding anniversary.  And then we have Christmas which is a three day holiday here and New Years is two.  And we always try to take the week between the two off if we possbly can to really get time to read and enjoy the holidays as much as we can.

I have one rule about Christmas preparation, to do only the things that I take pleasure in.  It used to be customary here to do a complete cleaning of everything before Christmas.  That included the closets and top of the kitchen cabinets and basically every nook and cranny.  I am blessed in that my mother wasn't much of a housewife and neither am I.  So this never made much sense to me.  When I was about twenty I had girlfriends who said that the scent of Ajax was necessary for them to get into the spirit of Christmas to which I replied that they should put some in a bowl, put it on the radiator, turn off the lights and light some candles.  Who is to see dirt in the dark of winter.  For those not in the know, Ajax is a particularly nasty smelling cleaning product.

I couldn't resist drying the leaves on the Japanese maple.
They were really bright red, but the colour didn't last.  I
used them anyway with the pretty larch cones I picked.
Like in many Nordic and European countries we start celebrating on the first Sunday of Advent which was last Sunday.  I always make an Advent wreath which has four candles that are lit on consecutive Sundays until Christmas when all four a are lit.  I think that tradition is German in origin.  I wasn't brought up with that, but started to make my own the first year I had my own home.  I always make a fresh one each year.  The look can vary, but this years is very simple.  I have learned one thing about making those and that is to get big and thick Church candles for my wreaths because they burn for a long time.  I have had two catch on fire, which probably isn't much for over thirty years.

This is always my first Christmas decoration.  Following that I put a green (fake) pine garland in the kitchen window and decorate it with lights and bits and bobs.  All sorts of strange stuff that has accumulated and doesn't fit anywhere else.  Some of it is my daughters handiwork from kindergarten, some is little gifts from people I care about, a lot of it is something that has been there for ever and I have no idea where I got it from.

I was going to write: But the point is..., but there really is not point to this post other than to get an excuse to sit down in our conservatory and watch the birds as they fly from one tree to another.   We have pond in the garden that we keep unfrozen so they can take a bath, something that is essential to their survival in winter.  The sun is about to set, exhausted after a five hour stint and I have lit a lot of candles.  I sit with my computer in my lap, one dog to my side and the other warming my legs, my husband in his easy chair reading.  I have a cup of coffee and some cookies and a stack of magazines that I didn't have time to read on my last business trip.  Perfect!  And of course this is the point.  To enjoy life.

Oh, and the soap!  But of course peppermint EO and crushed candy canes on a milk soap with a teaspoon of TD.  I just had to do it.  Christmas has to be full of clichés and a little bit corny.


  1. HAPPY BIRTHDAY! I hope you have a wonderful day!
    I remember the use of ajax but not the smell. Pine Sol, now that is a scent that reminds me of house cleaning. Lol! Not my fav.

  2. Feliz cumpleaños Ambra! y feliz mes de diciembre.
    Lindo el jabon.
    Un gran abrazo!

  3. Ambra, Happy Happy birthday to you and the Hubby! I think your peppermint soap is lovely, by the way, as well as your lovely post. What a lovely picture you've painted of your relaxing evening! We do advent an advent wreath at church, and here at home we do a Jesse's a tradition we started a few years back with the young'un -sort of like an Advent calendar, but with short devotions too. It's so nice to hear how other's prepare for Christmas -thanks for sharing! ~Becky :)

  4. This is too funny, my friend..the part about Ajax on the radiator? Hilarious! Ajax eo!!! Happy Birthday, Ambra!!!!

  5. Thank you guys! It's so nice to get nice comments if you know what I mean. I fell that I have added a very cherished aspect to my life. Thank you all :)


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