Saturday, December 24, 2011

Let ME talk to you about Christmas..

Darlings, just one day to go - can you believe it!?! 
I always get nostalgic at the tail end of the year; reflective, pensive, and always so grateful for what the year has brought - the good and the bad. It's been a BIG year for us. Many adventures.. Many changes..

The biggest one of course was the move from Australia to Sweden, which marked the end of my 23 years as an expat ('Alien' or 'Euro-trash' as Marshall likes to call me..ha!).  I am finally home again in my beloved Sweden!

I am loving every moment and cherishing all that is familiar, yet so new to me due to the years I've been away. Christmas time is of course very special up here in the North. We get the 'Winter Wonderland' dream by default, and where as many of my fellow Swedes dream of sun and hot temperatures, I want to go nowhere. I am completely and blissfully happy with the cold and dark (really!).

Having shared eight fantastic Christmas posts from some of my dear blog friends around the world, it is now my turn to 'talk to you about my Christmas'.. 

What does Christmas mean to me?
Christmas means kindness, generosity, togetherness and consideration. This can be expressed in an array of  ways and I have so enjoyed Sarah Klaassen's lovely Christmas series 'In the Spirit of Kindness'.  
Sarah I love every post you have written on the topic and think you have such a beautiful heart! Thank you! xx


It's simply not Christmas without..?
People to share it with. 
Though family is the ultimate choice, I have learned over the years abroad that Christmas can be wonderful also with friends (other 'Christmas orphans'), and even strangers if shared in a spirit of kindness, togetherness and joy.

I also used to think snow was absolutely necessary for Christmas but having lived in Australia I learned that it was the darkness I missed.. (Yep, you heard me right..).


My ideal Christmas..
Having lived so far away from my family for so many years all I have ever really wanted for Christmas is a ticket home so that we could all be together. 

Now that I am here (insert: cartwheel) I will allow my self to dream about the ultimate Christmas..

A log cabin perched on a mountain side near a small & pitoresque village. There would be lots of snow, low temperatures, Northern lights and perhaps even howling wolves at night.! :)

The cabin would be authentic but big enough to host my entire family and closest friends. 
We'd arrive a week prior to Christmas and together we would deck the place, cook the food and build the merry atmosphere. We might squeeze in a spot of skiing, a dog sleigh safari, and long walks under the starry sky at night.


Christmas morning we'd fill the house with scents of seasonal foods, laughter, old time jazz and excitement of what's to come. 
Of course we'd roast apples & chestnuts, grill marshmallows, drink hot chocolate with whipped cream & candy canes, bake ginger biscuits & saffron bread, and generally be totally merry and bright..! :) 

Log fires would keep us snug and cozy, candles would flicker in the windows casting long shadows over the dressed tree that we would have cut ourselves from the nearby forest... *sigh*..  One year we'll do all of this..! :)

Fave Christmas movie?
In our house we LOVE watching Christmas movies. Especially those with a happy ending - it's all about that cozy warm feeling right! :)

We particularly love 'the Polar Express', 'Prancer' and Dickens' classic 'A Christmas Carol'. The latter is a wonderful way to remind oneself that we can all make a difference. My children curl up close to me during the scary parts when the 'ghosts of Christmas' appear, and without fail there is always a lively discussion about 'morale', and the importance of 'kindness' & 'compassion' at the end of the movie. I love that! :)

Number one Christmas song / music?
Ever since I was little I have loved listening to Adolphe Adam's 'O holy night' (listen to THIS - it's amazing!) and 'Ave Maria' at Christmas time (well, any time really..). They are both magic and are always part of our Christmas playlist, as is a generous selection of old school Christmas jazz.


What's on my Christmas table?
I have always dreamed about hosting the family Christmas dinner and this year my dream will come true! :)

Everyone - including my Godfather - is coming over on Christmas Day for my very own version of an 'Australian Christmas buffet'.
On my buffet table there will be a large roast turkey (I am using Nigella Lawson's recipe - HERE), a bowl of freshly made 'Risotto alla Milanese' (recipe HERE. You can swap the 'dry white wine' for Champagne if you want a nice twist), oven baked figs (topped with freshly grated Parmiagiano-Reggiano).

There will of course also be a Swedish roast ham, home made mustard (by my sister Sofia), a large apple & ruccola salad with a balsamic & honey dressing, smoked salmon carpaccio (topped with fresh coriander leaves, lime juice and large capers), freshly baked breads from my local baker and a generous cheese buffet.

Of course there will be dessert! There will be a large tropical fruit salad (mango, melon, strawberries, kiwi, star fruit etc) with whipped saffron cream. 
Also, I have spent the entire afternoon making chocolate truffles (HERE), saffron & roast coconut toffee (HERE - I added a pinch or two of chilli pepper to add some depth amongst the sweetness), and also some chocolate toffee (HERE - thought I swapped the ginger for coffee!).


Tomorrow I will add a few different toppings - like flaked sea salt, fresh chilli pepper, pine nuts and coconut flakes. We all like a bit of flavour in our family! I might drizzle some white chocolate over some to create nice patterns too. We'll see what time allows (it's so much fun though!).

What would I love Santa to bring this year?
It would be lovely if he could bring my husband..!
Marshall sadly has to stay in Sydney due to work commitments and won't be joining us for Christmas this year (the very first we spend apart..!). 

Of course he could have flown up for the actual Christmas week, but it is a big ask doing that from Sydney! Instead we were sensible and decided that it would be more fun for the kids (and us) if we held back the trip for the Spring when he can stay longer. We have some wonderful plans for then, which I'll share with you nearer the time.. Actually just the anticipation of all that is enough as a present for me!

Also.. I wish that Santa could bring comfort and relief for those less fortunate than us. May they be the target for acts of kindness, compassion, and support. Christmas is a very difficult time for many and we must not forget to reach out! 
I for one will be lighting candles for those suffering in the world and send a prayer of comfort and relief. Please do the same. x

My Christmas message to the world..
Be kind to those who least expect it. 
Show love, appreciation, and gratefulness. 
Share and receive with grace. 
Donate to and help those less fortunate. 
Embrace the spirit of joy, and help spread it further in the world!

Darlings, with that I wish you the most magical Christmas! 
I know you are all celebrating in your own unique way - some of you perhaps not at all. But whether you are following or breaking tradition this year, I hope that you have a wonderful time and that you find time to look back at the past year with gratefulness and love in your heart. 
May the new year bring laughter, good health, fortune, and the most splendid new adventures!

I treasure you so much and have had such a fantastic year with you all. Thank you for everything. Let's do it again in 2012! xx

All my love & the biggest Christmas & New Year's hug to all!

xx Charlotta


Glamour Drops said...

Oh Charlotta, all the way through reading this post I kept wondering, but how about your husband? Will you not be spending Christmas with him? Then I read the sad bit that he wont. Oh. I cannot imagine not spending Christmas with my husband or our children. But I hope it is as lovely as it can be under the circumstances, and that as you will be surrounded by other family it won't be lonely. Wishing you a wonderful holiday time & thank you for all your thought provoking posts this year, as well as your encouraging comments. I hope that 2012 will bring you all together as a family again, if that is what you want. Virginia xx

JOE. D said...

I am sending you the warmest of hugs and biggest of cheers for Christmas Charlotta. I am so glad you are with all your family and can imagine the smile on your face. I hope it is a magical time.

I must agree with Virginia though in that it is very sad that Marshall cannot get over. I know we all do what we can do in our lives to keep everything happy and fed - but can I just say this .. WORK SUCKS!! Hope Santa somehow gets him there.

Merry Christmas to you all.

(-: Linda

debra@dustjacket said...

What a truly beautiful post Charlotta! I loved all the photos that went with your gorgeous words too.

I wish you the Merriest of Christmas times back home in your beautiful Sweden.

big hugs DJ xxx

Vannessa@Luxuria said...

Wow! Such wonderful images and so lovely to read more about Christmas in Sweden. I SO know what you mean about yearning for the darkness. This year is my first in Spain. It's sunny and spring-like and just feels so un-seasonal for this Brit expat ;-)
Sending you warm hugs from Spain, and it's been so lovely "meeting" you on planet blog. Wishing you all that your heart desires this festive season. xx

Sarah B said...

Merry Christmas to you and your family Charlotta. I can hear the excitement in your words. I hope your dream Christmas is everything you imagine.
Best wishes, Sarah x

A Perfect Gray said...

oh, charlotta. so, so happy that you are home. wishing good health to your family! lots of love, donna

Lou said... lovely that we get to hear your Christmas traditions! I too was reading along and then suddenly got to the part where you said your husband would be in Sydney...oh nooo! You're being awfully brave about it. I'm sure you'll make up for it next year. I wish you avert festive time this Christmas and thank you again for asking me to contribute to your beautiful blog. Very honoured! Much love, Lou x

Unknown said...

Oh Charlotta!!! what a delightful christmas post!!! Merry Christmas dear!!!! all the best to you and your beautiful famly :)

Unknown said...

I LOVED reading this Charlotta.....what a big Christmas this is for you in so many ways. Your family must be so thrilled to have you home, being with them must make up in some way for your husband not being there. A little bit anyway!

The thought of a family cabin sounds wonderful!!

And your food plans sound AMAZING!! Enjoy!!

I wish you a wonderful Christmas xxxx

It's me said...

Great post !!!!!!!!!!

Bedankt lieverd voor je gezelligheid steun en liefde van het afgelopen jaar......liefs van

Thanks my darling for your fun loving and support over the past from


Fijne Kerstdagen,
Merry Christmas,
Glaedelig Jul,
Merry Christmas,
Joyeux Noel,
God Jul,

Stacey said...

Such a heartwarming post Charlotta! I felt warm and fuzzy inside just reading it. Even though your hubby won't be there, you have your darling children to keep you company:-). Before I had Zion, it was so devastatingly lonely to spend Christmas by myself(unfortunately, the hubby has been absent for more than a few Christmases). Merry Christmas and I wish for you and your family, the Lord richest blessings!! Lots and lots of love!!:-)

design elements said...

such a warm post, Charlotta! Wishing you the most wonderful X mas ever surrounded by all the people you love

big hugs


Tina said...

Underbara Charlotta!
Fullkomligt LJUVLIGT inlägg här hos dig idag. Ja, du slutar då aldrig att imponera! Och även om jag inte känner särskilt stor julglädje det här året, kan jag inte annat än ryckas med och leva mig in i alla dofter, värmen och den alldeles magiska atmosfär som målas upp. TACK!
Önskar nu Dig en riktigt, riktigt fin Jul tillsammans med din familj. Jag vet att du kommer att njuta av varje minut, även om saknaden efter Marshall naturligtvis måste vara stor både för dig och de små!

Julaftons morgon här hos mig och jag och Dan firar för första gången någonsin Julafton hemma på tu man hand- något vi båda ser fram emot och i år till fullo tänker njuter utav.
KRAM, KRAM, KRAM(så hörs vi snart av!)//Tina

Kifus said...

A Merry Christmas to you too, Charlotta! And all the best for 2012! Thanks for a year full of lovely posts!

carolina @ patagonia gifts said...

such a beautiful, beautiful post Charlotta! enjoyed every word and every image. so happy you are home again! have a lovely time with your loved ones! xo

Renée Finberg said...

don't tell anyone.

this is my favorite Christmas post of all time!!!


Natasha @ Northern Light Design said...

Dear Charlotta,
Thank you for letting me partake in this series, I enjoyed writing my post, and I now see that we really do have quite a lot in common :)

I wish you a wonderful Christmas with all your family, and I am sad to hear that your husband will not be able to join you!

Glaedelig Jul!!

Karena said...

Oh Charlotta I loved reading your post and loooking at the lovely Images!! You tryly inspire me!

Now for the excitement!! Congratulations Charlotta!!

You are the Grande Finale Winner of The Greyfreth Antique Cross Bottle!!Please send me your mailing information! I am posting the News right now!!

I will email you the different address to send it to. I am Staying away from my home recovering at this time!


Art by Karena

Meera @ firstsense said...

Oh dear Charlotta, this is the loveliest, most genuine Christmas post I have ever read! You have such a generous spirit and a beautiful heart and I wish you the most wonderful Christmas. Sad for you that your Marshall can't be with you this year but I hope you have a magical time with your other loved ones.

I am so happy to have met you in blogland and truly treasure your friendship.

Warm hugs and love to you, sweet Charlotta.

Meera xx

martinealison said...

Je découvre avec délectation votre blog... Je m'autoriserai une prochaine visite...
Je vous souhaite une douce nuit de noël... Que votre coeur rejoigne celui de votre amoureux...
Gros bisous

Anonymous said...


- Oh, that snowman is the cutest ever! Looks so happy:D

Anna - Canoe Design said...

Charlotta, wishing you a very happy holidays and all the best for 2012. I love your blog and thank you for your continued inspiration - love your images!

designchic said...

What a gorgeous post. Hope you had a wonderful Christmas and wishing you all the best in the New Year!!

Sarah Klassen said...

Dear Charlotta,

Thank you so much for the mention! (I was so surprised!) I am inspired, daily, by acts of kindness and those who give with a heart of love. And for me? Some of the most wonderful details of this series lie in the comments that others wrote back, sharing their own stories, and encouraging others to give. (such as yourself!)

I hope that you have had a joyful, blessed Christmas & warmest wishes for a fabulous New Year's celebration—with great things for 2012!


Splendid Willow said...

What a beautiful post, Charlotta!

Sending you lots of warm thoughts and good energy for the New Year. And extra thoughts to Marshall who must be missing you terribly. (And to think that I will get to see you before him!).

Happy, happy to you and yours and cheers to a very fun 2012!

Love, Mon

Anonymous said...

Beautiful images...all the best for 2012!

ella said...

Beautiful images...all the best for 2012!

in jersey shore said...

Many Thanks, I'm very glad to peer your post
An interesting dialogue is worth comment
Thank you!

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