Darlings, today we celebrate 'Lucia' here in Sweden and things are festive and jolly. Everywhere there are concerts and 'Lucia processions' to enjoy.
I am extra excited as my children have taken part in the official Lucia celebrations at our school for the very first time. Bonfires were lit around the school yard early in the morning as we watched the school 'Lucia procession'. The children sang carols, and afterwards Oscar & a few boys from his class read Clement Clarke Moore's famous poem 'A visit from St Nicholas' (.."Twas the night before Christmas.."). All week they have been practicing and they did so beautifully!
I am also very excited to introduce the Christmas post of my dear friend Simone of 'The Bottom of the Ironing Basket'. This gorgeous girl writes the prettiest posts in the whole blogosphere. They are always so full of visual yumminess and warmth - it's always such a pleasure to visit Simone's Ironing Basket!
I actually think that I love Christmas more now than I ever have done....maybe it's the fact that I have two young children and that I am creating our own family traditions....maybe it's the build-up to Christmas, school Nativity plays, Christmas drinks and parties with friends, shopping for gifts, decorating the tree, the children's mounting excitement....maybe it's just that you never really lose that Christmas magic, the excitement, the glow of the lights, the pretty shops, wishing each other a Merry Christmas, the gifts, the love and the warmth of it all.
Decorating our home is a big deal.....my daughter and husband choose the tree together and bring it home (altho I do send them off with very specific instructions re shape/size etc!). We always have a "real" tree, I can't imagine not having one....and most of our decorations have a story or a connection with a place, time or friend...they all have meaning. I could tell you my husband's favourite decoration (a tiny Christmas house bought on one of our first trips to NYC as a couple about 12 years ago) and he could tell you mine (also bought on an early trip to NYC!) We drink hot chocolate, hang lots of white lights everywhere, light candles, hang four stockings above the fireplace and the children take it in turns to switch on the tree lights for the first time each year.
This year I am trying to spend less and aiming to focus on appreciating the simple things...taking in the moments. Instead of tearing round the shops, standing in queues and spending, spending, spending, I am making sure that I see the friends I want to see before Christmas (and usually don't see because we are all tearing around like lunatics!), I am baking with my children, going ice-skating in central London and watching every single Christmas movie and reading every single Christmas book that we have at home, eating mince pies and drinking hot chocolate.
Appreciating the moments, watching the lights twinkle, inhaling, breathing....savouring the magic.
What does Christmas mean to you?
Traditions, being at home, delicious food, family, candles, films, warmth and cosiness...
It is simply not Christmas without..?
A twinkling Christmas tree, my children getting up at 6.30am when it's usually still dark on Christmas morning, Christmas movies....
Your ideal Christmas?
Just the four of us at home and not having to visit anyone!! All our family live in London but when I young I had to choose between spending Christmas with either my mother or my father. Since I married, we have mostly alternated between my parents and my in-laws. Christmas Day does usually involve a drive somewhere!
Fave Christmas movie?
So hard to choose.....I might have to list my Top Five...."Elf", "It's A Wonderful Life", "Sleepless in Seattle", "White Christmas", "Love Actually". I really love Christmas movies!
No 1 Christmas song/music?
I love a choir singing Christmas carols but I also love Dean Martin, Tony Bennett, and Nat King Cole singing Christmas songs.
What's on your Christmas table?
My beautiful 'Royal Doulton' wedding china, silver cutlery, and favourite glasses. A centre-piece of flowers and berries, and lots of candles.
What would you love Santa to bring this year?
Plane tickets for exciting trips and travels during 2012! A beautiful diamond eternity ring would also be rather nice.. :)
Your Christmas message to the world..
Be happy, live life to the full, Look after & be kind to yourself, and each other. Laugh often. Life is too short not to eat dessert!
Dear Simone, thank you so much for this divine festive post! You really have such a way of wrapping me up in a happy glow and I adored reading about Christmas in your home.
I wish you a wonderful Christmas and may Santa bring you all that you wish, including sparkly diamonds. You so deserve it darling! xx
With that I am off to enjoy a Lucia party with my family and friends. The kids are doing a little 'private performance' of their favourite carols and I can't wait. The only thing missing is Marshall.. the distance between Sweden and Australia feels greater than ever today, but he will be with us in spirit and of course there will be a Skyping session late tonight!
Big hugs and kisses to you all!