Saturday, November 26, 2011

Weekend Reflections: Let There Be Light (2)

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Last weekend we had the official lighting of the Christmas lights in town. Since then, I have also been getting my own lights up. As this is the darkest time of the year here in Sweden, I enjoy getting my window lights up in time for the 1st Advent Sunday. Electric candlesticks and advent stars in the windows are very common here during the month of December.

Back in my childhood, I think most people had only one of each. Nowadays it is not uncommon to have one in each window. I say that to defend the fact that as of this year, I myself do have four electric candlesticks (one in each window) + two stars (on in the kitchen and one in the study) + a chain of lights on the balcony…

The 1st Advent Sunday is always the fourth Sunday before 25 December. This year 25 December falls on a Sunday,  and therefore 1st Advent Sunday is as early as can be – 27 November.

I’m glad of that, because I don’t think I could have waited another week to put up my lights! That feeling may have something to do with the last three years being so full of worries (for my elderly parents, now both gone). This December, no worries of that kind; but still a lingering sort of melancholy, and trying to find my own way and will among old traditions and perhaps new ones, memories and future. Whichever way one turns, this time of year will always be full of reminders: lights and decorations, special kinds of food and drink, and spicy smells.

I decided to get a new electric candlestick for the kitchen window this year, to replace an old one which I’ve had too long. So I went to two different shops in town to have a look – and found one in each shop which took my fancy. One seemed more right for the kitchen though, so I bought that one. 

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However, a couple of days later I found myself going back to to buy the other one as well; because my mind had not let go of it, and just kept telling me how good it would look in my bedroom… As indeed it does!

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Today * Yesterday, with all the candlesticks in place, and the sounds of storm and rain outside, I was inspired to also add the delicious time-of-the-year smells of saffron and gingerbread to the atmosphere... First I made a saffron loaf in my bread maker; and then ‘shortcut’ gingerbread biscuits. So called by me because I let the food processor do most of the job, and no rolling-pins or pastry-cutters involved. But you still get the right smell and taste!

For Weekend Reflections 

* Some technical problem got in the way of posting this Friday evening.
Hope for better luck today!

8 comments:

  1. your window looks so festive and i have my lights up now too, because i love them. we are not dark and cold, but i love the look of lights, like you have here. so cozy and warm and gives me a warm fuzzy feeling. i like both of the candlesticks, and good for you getting them both.

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  2. I prefer the one you went back for.....I detest Christmas but you have half convinced me to make a bit of an effort this year.

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  3. I remember seeing your star in previous years. I love stars in any form! I think that the prettiest houses at night are the ones that have a candle in each window, so warm and inviting!!! I love BOTH your candlesticks, I can see how you had trouble choosing! What a neat tradition this is. I LOVE your window sill with the charming copper teapot and beautiful candle reflections in the window, and the small plants.

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  4. I think that the candlesticks look very appropriate for your home and the kitchen ones are fun. Like Adrian I am, as you know, not a lover of Christmas time with all its commerciality and so on. When I had faith I thought that the commercialisation was anathema to the meaning of the festival. The simplicity of your approach is much more to my liking.

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  5. Ginny and Sandra: Yes I too like it when I'm out at night, to see all the lights in other people's windows. The star in my kitchen is a simple old-fashioned paper star, the same kind we had back home in my childhood. I've kept to same kind all my adult life, in the kitchen; I like the warm glow of it.

    Adrian, I don't suppose you have room for a whole lot of decorations in your moving home... But you don't have to embrace the whole commercial circus to light a candle :)

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  6. I love Christmas but don't do decorations, just a simple little tree which the grandkids decorate, mostly with handmade decorations. Your candlesticks and stars are a lovely tradition. Is that poinsettia in the first shot real? I have tried to grow them outside but the frosts keep getting them. Should try for an inside one instead I think.

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  7. Pauline, yes the poinsettia is real. Very commonly sold here for Christmas. This one I bought really cheap in the grocery store, the quality remains to be seen... I think if I lived in your end of the world I probably would care less about decorations, here in the North we kind of use them as a shield against the cold and the dark!

    Graham, your comment dropped in as I was writing. I used to have more problems with the commercialism etc but I think I'm sort of learning to play the glad game with this... Just enjoy the parts I like and more or less ignore the rest. There is one thing that really annoys me though, and that is serious Christmas hymns and carols as background music in supermarkets and department stores...!

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  8. I liked both of your Advent Candles. I'm with you on Christmas, we try to ignore the commercial side of it, and the idiots armed with pepper spray, and enjoy the closeness and warmth that being together as a family that it brings us. As the years have gone on we've found that we make more and more of our Christmas presents though we could afford to buy, it's the love we put into the gifts, not the money that makes them special.

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