Showing posts with label Talk to me about Christmas. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Talk to me about Christmas. Show all posts

Tuesday, December 24, 2013

Happy Holidays!

Darlings I am popping in to wish you all a Happy Holiday!

I am writing this post from Sydney. We are back in Australia for a bit of a tropical treat. It is our first visit Down Under since the big move to Sweden a couple of years ago, and it is lovely to see dear and familiar places and faces again.


Of course Christmas this year is a stark contrast to that of Sweden. Winter woolies, hot chocolate and sub-zero temperatures have given way to sandy bare feet, bikinis, and fresh mangoes on the beach. Truth be told I don't feel all that Christmassy, but it is festive and fun never-the-less. And of course it is divine to enjoy a sunny break from the cold Nordic Winter back home.


So from my far-away home to yours, my most warm wishes of a Merry Christmas and all the best for these last few days of the year. May 2014 start with a magical glow that lasts all through the new year!


Last but not least I wish to extend heartfelt thoughts and rays of light to all of those who have no-one or nothing. Too many people suffer the losses or lacks of life, and it will be my new year's resolution to continue to help better the lives of those in need.

Peace & Love
..and lots of big warm sunny hugs to all of you
xox Charlotta xox

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

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Talk to me about Christmas... Natasha of 'Northern Light'


Hello darlings and 'Happy New Week' to you! Four days till Christmas - can you believe it!?! Are you ready? I am not sure I will ever be completely ready - there is always little bits & bobs left to do.. Mostly 'want-to-do's', but that's part of the tradition isn't it - leaving some things to dream about for next year..  


Today I have the pleasure of introducing my dear friend Natasha of 'Northern Light'. This lovely girl is as international as one can be - born in Africa, raised in Denmark and now living in the US! And to put a cherry on top, her darling is from China. Isn't it marvelous!?! I love it!
Natasha's blog is a true reflection of her eclectic and rich heritage and her Christmas post is just wonderful. I know you'll enjoy this one as much as I did..! x


Hello! Let me start by thanking Charlotta for this amazing opportunity! 
I have been reading Space for Inspiration for a while now, and followed along from afar; all the way from Australia back to Scandinavia and Sweden. It’s been an exciting journey and I will continue to “stay tuned”! Please join me as I will share a little of my “old” and “new” Christmas Traditions with you. As Charlotta so eloquently put it “every family, culture and country has their traditions” and I was asked to share mine….


Here we go..

What does Christmas mean to you?
Christmas is all about family, traditions and great food! Oh.. and as a kid, it's also about the presents underneath the tree! The anticipation of those wrapped goodies is almost too much to bear..!
Growing up with my family (in Denmark) Christmas was really about the whole month of December - not just Christmas Eve (or Day). The early days when Christmas decorations were going up, lighting the calendar candle (marked with 24 lines - burning one for each day until Christmas Eve..), the four Advent Sundays, the count-down.. 
Some years my sister & I had a 'Pakke kalender'. I remember those fondly, and truly commend my mother (and all of you out there who partake in this tradition!) for taking the time to find 24 small gifts - one to open each and every morning leading up to Christmas. I now know what an undertaking this was - but it was so truly appreciated!


No longer a child, I love the feeling of Christmas, not so much all the hoopla, the gifts and all the craziness that goes on before Christmas. I love the simplicity of the candlelight, the preparations of food leading up to Christmas and Christmas lights on wreaths and Christmas trees! To me it’s all about the feeling of Christmas… whatever your tradition is!!

It is simply not Christmas without..?
Well, hmmmm…. I’ll say it’s simply not Christmas without decorations, however simple and small, without 'Glögg', 'Ris a la Mande', and 'Aebleskiver'. And really… it should be cold outside. And if there is snow – even better! We all dream of a “White Christmas”, don’t we?!?  OK, so I now live in tropical Florida, and it’s no secret that there is no snow, but I can dream, right?! … or turn the AC down really low, just so I can put on a blanket! 


Your ideal Christmas?
I would book tickets to Denmark for my husband and I. We would leave a good week or so ahead of Christmas and not return until after New Year! 
The days leading up would be spent with my sister, her kids, and with my mom & dad! We would be going to either Copenhagen or Aarhus (probably both..!) to look at all the festive windows. We'd drink warm 'Glögg' (click here for a recepie, but know that every household has their own version..!) from the food stalls on the pedestrian streets, and eat warm 'Aebleskiver' (click here for a recepie) while our hands and fingers get cold…. I would breathe in the cold and crisp frosty air, go for long walks in the snow covered countryside, come home and warm up with more Glögg!!  
This is written by someone who is dreaming… I was freezing and complaining in September… Can you imagine if it was below zero? I would die! LOL! I have lived in warm weather too long I think :) 


Christmas Eve would be spent with the whole family (sadly this has not happened since I left for the US), and we would be enjoying a traditional Christmas dinner, followed by Ris a la Mande with warm cherry sauce for dessert! 
We would be dancing around the Christmas tree (Scandinavian tradition) while singing Christmas carols. 
Christmas presents would be shared with everyone late in the evening. I still celebrate Christmas on the 24th!!


Since we would be in Denmark until after New Years, the 'Christmas Spirit' would last for several days!!! Growing up we always went to some of our British friends & family to celebrate 'Christmas Day' on the 25th. They served the BEST home made 'ice cream cake' you can imagine for desert, complemented with a warm fruity sauce. Yummy!!

Fave Christmas movie?
This is a tough question... Growing up we always watched 'Walt Disney' Christmas cartoons in the afternoon of Christmas Eve to pass time before the 'big event'. I remember those fondly!
Now.. it's a toss up between 'Home Alone (I still laugh at that one) and 'the Holiday' with Kate Winslet and Cameron Diaz.


Number one Christmas song / music?
Leading up to Christmas I like to play the 'Tony Bennett Christmas Album' in my house - it just sets the mood! However.. it's a little short, so it can get to be a bit too much for weeks on end (you can imagine..).. I might have to get my hands on the new Michael Buble 'Christmas' album - I hear it's really good..! 


What's on your Christmas table?
Besides a million live candles, fresh flowers and a few decorations..?


Dinner for Mr. Wonderful & I will most likely be the traditional roast pork, candied potatoes, regular boiled potatoes, warm red cabbage, and thick brown sauce. The best part is when the rind is crisp and thick, and you can taste the bay leaves! 
Dessert will be – for sure – 'Ris a la Man'de with warm cherry sauce. And as tradition will have it, one whole almond will be buried in the dish, and whoever gets it, and can prove it (we need evidence people, this is serious business!!!!) will be the lucky recipient of a small “extra” gift.

Since living in The States we often share this meal with friends. I enjoy cooking Christmas dinner and love sharing the Danish Christmas traditions with them!! 

What would you love Santa to bring this year?
Two plane tickets to Denmark for next year's Christmas! :)  … and a new laptop! 
No labels mentioned, but one of those with a little fruit on the top would be nice! I also have a request in for a super cool Tine K black braided leather key ring. (It was sold out when I was back home in September..) 




Your Christmas message to the world?
Take the time to enjoy the holidays. Appreciate time with your family! Don’t stress out about the little things, cook good food, and share it with friends! 
Remember those around you who are less fortunate. Perhaps volunteer on Christmas Day. And don't forget to make a donation to your favorite charity!!




Make up your own Christmas traditions… We did!! My husband is Chinese but gew up in The States - Christmas is not a particularly big deal to him, and that has opened the door for us to create our own traditions. On the 25th, while everyone is up at the crack of dawn, we sleep in. While everyone opens presents, we eat fresh baked pancakes (the flat ones… crepes!). While everyone plays with their new toys, shovels snow or are stuck in airports, we take the car for a spin - roll down the windows and enjoy the tropical weather! 
While everyone is cooking dinner, we are watching the waves roll in off the coast of Palm Beach. While everyone is stuffing themselves, we are taking a walk on the beach. While everyone is taking naps, we drive home, enjoying all the pretty Christmas lights and have one last bowl of Ris a la Mande!   
… But really, I secretly long for a traditional Danish, cold, and white Christmas..



Glaedelig Jul!

Natasha 

Image Credits: 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8

 

Dear Natasha - what a wonderful Christmas post! 
I can so relate to that longing of a Scandinavian Christmas.. Cold, dark, crisp, and full of mystical magic & traditions. It's in our blood isn't it!?!
Though a tropical Christmas, like the ones I used to know in Sydney, are also very nice, they never hit the spot just as a snowy one does..!
I sincerely hope that Santa grants your (not-so-secret-wish) of tickets to Denmark for next year - or better yet, gives you a hike there on his sleigh..! :)
Thank you (mange tak!) so much for your beautiful post and stunning images. What a wonderful finale to my Christmas series! xx



So my darlings, I hope you enjoyed my wonderful Christmas guest bloggers as much as I did. A huge THANK YOU to all of them (in running order below):  **please click the star to read their posts**


Maria of 'Scandie Foodie'
*
 
Lousie of 'Lou Boos and Shoes'
*

Sarah of 'Haute Design'
*

*

Stuart of 'What Wilson Wants'
*

Elizabeth of 'Pretty Pink Tulips'
*

Natasha of 'Northern Light'

That leaves one very last Christmas post - mine..
I'll be back in a couple of days to wish you all the most wonderful holiday season, and happy end to an eventful 2011!

Until then..

xx Charlotta

Sunday, December 18, 2011

Talk to me about Christmas... Elizabeth of 'Pretty Pink Tulips'

Hello darlings! Today I will cut straight to the chase and introduce you to the sweet Elizabeth. This gorgeous (in every sense) Texan girl (who now calls NY home) writes a fabulous blog called 'Pretty Pink Tulips' - an eclectic and always stylish cyber destination you won't want to miss.


What does Christmas mean to you?
Christmas to me is a beautiful holy time of the year when people seem just that little bit friendlier, jollier and hospitable. It is a time of reflection, celebration and giving.


It is simply not Christmas without?
Holiday music, greenery, the Newst holiday candle, and my collection of 'Nutcrackers'.

Your ideal Christmas?
Is snowy, joyful and full of laughter.


Fave Christmas movie?
'Love Actually' finally edged out 'It's a Wonderful Life' for me. I literally laugh and cry every time I watch it.


No 1 Christmas song/music?
I am already listening to Christmas music around the clock, and love everything from Micael Buble to Mariah Carey.. but my all time favourite song is 'Silend Night', as we sing it in church on Christmas Eve, as we light candles from one to another, and have for as long as I can remember!


What's on your Christmas table?
My Christmas table is set to the nines with greenery, my collection of Nutcrackers down the center and candles flickering in between. My place settings are Bernadaud Happy Holidays, which has a rim of little Nutcrackers around the rim. I use napkin rings of green leather with a large jingle bell and place cards that I have hand written in calligraphy. My husband usually wants a formal meal on Christmas Eve, so will have a beef tenderloin, corn pudding and a spinach salad. For dessert, I'm planning on making a black bottom pie. Yummmmmm!!


What would you love Santa to bring this year?
'Santa' has been treating me to a few lovely things already, so I feel as though Christmas has come early in the form of some gorgeous black suede boots and some sparkly holiday sandals!
Your Christmas message to the world.. 
Oh, our poor little world right now needs a giant hug. I feel like there is so much turmoil swirling all around. I would love for those who can....to be generous. For those who can....invite someone to share Christmas with you. For those who can...lend a hand to someone who needs it. Let's reach out and love one another and reflect on all we have to be grateful for. 


A special holiday hug to Charlotta for having me as her guest today. Merry Christmas, everyone!!! Love, Elizabeth


Thank you dear Elizabeth for your wonderful Christmas post. I would love to see your 'Nutcracker' collection! It's so special to have something that grows over the years and that brings back so many memories. I bet you could tell us stories about each and single one of your beautiful 'Nutcrackers'! 
Darling, I wish you and your family a truly magical Christmas. May Santa bring you happiness, love, good health and lots of new adventures for 2012! xx
 


Ok lovelies, with that I wish you a relaxing remainder of the weekend! The snow is pouring down outside and we're snuggling up inside with some great holiday movies and some home made ginger biscuits. 

I'll be back in a couple of days with the last of these gorgeous Christmas posts - this final one is by my friend Natasha of 'Northern Light'.

Lots of love and hugs!

xx Charlotta
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