Saturday, November 23, 2013

The First Christmas Card (2013)

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The first Christmas card arrived yesterday (from a friend in England who is always early with hers). One thing led to another… I decided I might just as well put up the red ribbon to hang it on. (I started a new ‘tradition’ last year – if it can be called a tradition after only one year! – to display Christmas cards in the doorway between my living room and study, putting them up as they arrive).

Having done that, I decided I might as well also turn on the fairy lights on the balcony that I put up earlier in the week… (So what if some people might think it’s a week too soon?)

Today I changed the curtains in the kitchen – another of those things I like to get done before 1st Advent. For those who don’t know: It’s very common in Sweden to change curtains in the kitchen for Advent or Christmas. (Some people change them in other rooms too, but if you only do it in one, it’s usually the kitchen.) As mine are not “too” Christmassy, just chequered in red and white, I usually put them up mid/end November and keep them up until the end of February.

I think it’s to do with the darkness and cold and the lack of colours in nature here in winter, that we long to surround ourselves with candles and warm colours indoors instead. Anyway I feel that’s how it works for me.

Now I’ll try to restrain myself until the end of next week to start putting up the electric candles and/or stars in every window. :)

20 comments:

  1. I've gotten no cards yet. They never come till after thanksgiving. I love the red ribbon idea. Exactly where is the ribbon...on the door frame or what? I may try it! I remember your pretty curtains well. We don't change curtains here, at least not traditionally, but frequently will change bedspreads from pastel to something heavier and more dark.

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    1. There is a thick wall between the two rooms, which means there is a narrow space just right for it in the doorway beside the door. When the ribbon there got full, I hung another one on the wall next to the doorway.

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  2. The idea of changing the kitchen curtains is very appealing. A lovely way to express the change of seasons. It seems to me to be an expression of luxury as much as bringing colour into the home. If you are to be confined to the house for long stretches of time then I guess changing the scenery would really lift the spirits. But the idea of having different bedspreads is way beyond my borders.

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    1. I suppose in the origin of the tradition it may have been seen as an expression of luxury, Louise - to show one could afford more than one set of curtains. (If one could not, before Christmas was the time to wash the ones one had!) I think nowadays very few people here would count one extra pair of curtains as luxury, though.

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  3. beautiful card and i thnk it is great you are doing it early. go for it.... i will put my nook up by this week end, the lights make me happy.. just like yours do you. i like the tradition of changing the curtains.

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    1. As you may remember Sandra, I have a tradition of putting up decorations gradually during December. Certain things early, for 1st Advent Sunday; other things closer to Christmas.

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  4. My first Christmas card arrived earlier this week - inside a big parcel from England, sent by my mother-in-law. I rang her to let her know that the parcel arrived and told her I would only open it on Christmas Day, as always. But she asked me to open it beforehand, because she'd included cards for me, my parents and my sister. I am going to wait until next Sunday, though, and of course will only open my card and nothing else :-)
    I remember your pretty Christmas curtains from an older post, Monica. They do look cheerful and certainly brighten up the dark winter months!

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    1. Yes Meike, as my kitchen has neutral colours in itself (white and beige), it is easy to make a seasonal change using textiles (curtains, table cloth, towels) in different colours.

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  5. Coincidentally, I've been thinking of 'starting' Christmas early this year. I think it's because it's been so hot, it feels more like mid December than November... which must sound so strange to you up there where the nights are encroaching on the days and the colours are disappearing from the land.
    I always look at the Christmas-themed fabrics in the shops but couldn't think of a use for them... until now! I might just make the time for a new kitchen window curtain.

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    1. Now you have me wondering what you in New Zealand consider 'Christmas-themed' fabrics, Katherine. I think to me St Claus, reindeers and snowmen would seem weird in a hot climate... On the other hand I suppose some snow & ice decorations may be just the thing to cool you down :)

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    2. Oh we just follow anything from the northern hemisphere! Yep, robins, snowmen, mountains with conifers, holly, mistletoe, candles, sleighs and bells and peppermint sticks, huge steaming puddings and St Claus bundled up with all his winter woolies on :-)

      But there's now, more and more, a whole lot of 'sensible' southern hemisphere Christmas imagery too: our lovely red pohutakawa tree flowers at Christmas, beach scenes, swimming, fishing, caravanning, pukekos with Santa Claus hats on, picnics and sun hats and sun protection cream...

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  6. I really like the ribbon idea. Do you decorate the clothes pins with glitter. I couldn't tell. I don't change kitchen curtains, but Like Ginny, I do change my bedding from Winter in the dark colors, and darker curtains, to Spring with bright colors and while sheer curtains. Looks like a completely different room.
    I do a lot of decorating in the rest of my house for the seasons, but not curtains. I love decorating my bathroom for holidays.

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    1. The clothes pins I use on the ribbon are very tiny ones, Wanda - I bought them in some crafts shop and yes I did decorate them with glitter glue.
      My present bedroom curtains are 'blackout' ones in a green hue which goes with almost anything, and they stay up all year. In the two other rooms I have multi-coloured curtains that also stay up. I change some table runners, pillowcases and throws etc, according to season.

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  7. Wonderful tradition with the curtains, and no I Haven't heard of that one before. I also like to surround myself with lights and festive decorations during this time of year. It's simply a wonderful mood to be in.

    Mersad
    Mersad Donko Photography

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    1. It may be a Swedish or Scandinavian tradition with the kitchen curtains, Mersad - for me it's one of those things I've always just sort of taken more or less for granted (because most of my friends and neighbours do it too) - until I first mentioned it in blogging context. Since then I've learned that this is a custom apparently not generally spread in the rest of the world! :)

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  8. I received my first Christmas card and gift this week too!! Even though I know that Christmas is around the corner, it caught me by surprise.
    Here we clean and spruce up our entire house and the surroundings.....we also change all the curtains in the house.
    Love your card.

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  9. I can't even begin to start thinking about Christmas yet. Not that it's my favourite time of year anyway. It's bad enough that the shops have been totally bedecked out for Christmas for the last 6 weeks or more.

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    1. I think there's plenty of time for you yet to get your decoration up before Christmas, Graham (my use of the singular rather than the plural being intentional...) ♥

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  10. I love the idea of changing the kitchen curtains and each year I think 'We'll do that next year' and then I forget. We only have the one pair so at least it's an excuse to take them down and wash them.
    I too was wondering about the little clips until I saw the comments. They are prettily done.

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    1. I think the important thing is not to get too stressed about what anyone else thinks should be done in connections with the holidays, but to find one's own level of traditions to be kept (or discarded, for those who like to be rebellious!)

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