Today I’ve done something most people think it’s a bit early to do…I’ve taken out my Christmas tree and tidy up all my season decorations that have been giving us that Christmassy feeling these last couple of weeks…
I have a tradition to do this on January 1.st, and I as much as I love Christmas, I also love the fresh feeling of new beginnings on this day. And I take my time when I put my Christmas ornaments away.
My Christmas ornaments are not only decorations for me. They are also a walk down memory lane, and a travel around the world.
Since then my collection has grown, and this year I got a white sandal from one of my best friends added. She had bought it in a Christmas marked in Sweden, and I love that another contributed to my shoe collection.
In 2004 I was in Cairo, Egypt, and in the middle of a busy marked I found a golden shoe. It looked like it was the one Cinderella lost, and I paid probably a lot more than it was worth, to take it home to my Christmas tree. Two years after, I found my first Christmas bag for my tree, and a matching silver shoe. These two I bought in Oslo, so they are the only one from my own country.
In 2007 one of my friends found a glass bag in a Christmas marked in Germany, and knowing my love for handbags, and also my love for originally Christmas ornaments, she bought it for me. This was the same year my niece bought me the second silver shoe, which she found in a marked in the south of France.
I went to the same marked a year later, and found a silver booth.
My silver sandal, I bought in Athen, Greece. The lady, who sold it to me, told me that the sandal would bring me happiness, and she was right, every time I look at my tree, I feel happy.
My Chinese purple shoe from 1998 was a single colourful shoe of my collection for a long time, until I found a matching pair in Amsterdam, adding one red and one green shoe.
And now my handbags and shoes are all put away, together with hearts and angels. It’s January first, I’ll see them again in 11 months’ time.
HAPPY NEW YEAR!
Chatter, laughter and music waft through the air, mixing with the smells of gingerbread, grilled meats and cookies as shoppers browse among the carved toys, small musical instruments, ornaments, handcrafted clothing, homemade soap, candles and hand-blown glass.
It’s the ambiance and the loving and smiling time of the year. I love these weeks before Christmas, I even have a calendar. Every morning I can open a present from my Best Friend Ingrid. These are not expensive gifts, but thoughtful and fun things to receive. This year I had double luck, I got 24 small presents from my niece as well.
I just published an article on www.passionforart.net and I got thinking, that I had to post it on my blog too: So here you go!
First lady Michelle Obama will reveal this year’s Christmas theme at the White House on Nov. 30, but the top secret plans have been underway for months. After all, there are thousands of feet of garland to lay, 14-foot trees to install, and hundreds of pounds of fanciful gingerbread to bake, totaling an estimated 3,500 hours of work.
For decades, first ladies have been making their lists and checking them twice when it comes to decorating 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue.
The first lady is “often judged on her Christmas decorations,” said author Coleen Christian Burke, who details five decades of White House holiday decorating in her new book, “Christmas with the First Ladies.”
“People are going to look to see if our first lady has good taste. And who wants to fall short? She’s having 100,000 people over for the holidays,” she said.
White House style icon Jacqueline Kennedy started the tradition of coming up with a new holiday theme for the White House decorations each year. With each administration, the new first lady has added her particular flair, and some have raised more eye-brows than others.
Nancy Reagan’s annual unveiling to the press was often alongside a celebrity decked out as Santa. In 1983, it was Mr. T — making for a merry photo op.
Often first ladies like to employ their own family decorations. Laura Bush decorated the tree with family ornaments.
Michelle Obama’s themes have revolved around themes like gratitude. Last year it was simple gifts, echoing what the first lady has said: “in the end, the greatest blessings of all are the ones that don’t cost a thing.”
“The things that are important to her all year long come out at Christmas time,” Burke explained.
So instead of handing out candy or sweets to visitors, the first lady opted for apples and had kids make their own gingerbread ornaments. (They may look good enough to eat, but they’re baked with glue instead of sugar, so don’t sneak a bite.)
Burke has recreated many of the themes so readers can bring a little White House home for the holidays. Below is a step-by-step guide to make Michele Obama’s gingerbread ornaments.
Let the decorating begin!
Michelle Obama’s Gingerbread Ornaments
Michelle Obama tapped into a long-standing White House tradition of using gingerbread men on the tree. Mrs. Obama’s gingerbread men are not edible, but they make a wonderful family project. After the gingerbread men have dried for a few days, children of all ages can help embellish them.
Rolling pin or round glass bottle
Gingerbread man cookie cutter, 3 to 5 inches high
1 cup ground cinnamon
1 cup applesauce
1/4 cup school or craft glue
Wax paper or plastic wrap
1 plastic drinking straw
Step 1: Combine the cinnamon, applesauce, and glue. Mix thoroughly. Dough should be stiff; add more cinnamon if it is too soft.
Step 2: Roll mixture between sheets of wax paper or plastic wrap to 1/4-inch thickness.
Step 3: Cut out gingerbread shapes with cutter, and make a hanging hole with straw. Move to drying rack, paper towel, or newspaper. Allow to dry for 2 to 3 days, carefully flipping occasionally. Ornaments will lighten in color as they dry.
Step 4: When dry, decorate as you like!