I love this time of the year, and not only because it means I'll be on summer holidays (I live in Australia), but it's Christmas, and that brings its own delights no matter what the temperature.
It means the sweet scent of pine in the house - unless you have an artificial tree. Here in Sydney, that's often preferred as the heat affects the cut trees and they wither faster - you get the smell of rotting pine in the house instead. One year my mum came up with the brilliant idea of keeping our tree in a bucket filled with water, then spray it with pine scent. Unfortunately, that December we had a series of heat waves and not only did the tree rot faster (in spite of the air-conditioning) but the pine spray we used was for bathroom use. We now had a wet rotting tree that smelled like a toilet!
Heat or no heat, festive season is not the same in my house without Christmas cookies. And our traditional Czechoslovakian ones (my family's originally from Prague) are to die for. One year I thought I'd try my hand at making a gingerbread house. I bought all the ingredients, cut out the template from a recipe book and got to work. It all went well until I began pasting the walls and roof together. Australian summer heat and syrupy icing sugar are about as compatible as an ice block on a hot pavement. Nothing I did would make it stick together - roof and walls kept sliding apart. My fairytale gingerbread house was turning into a renovator's delight!
In the end I gave up, cut them into various shapes, stuck the lollies on top and served them up to the kids. They were gobbled down in minutes!
Eh! Who needs a gingerbread house!
Every year I make my own Christmas cards. Each one is different, and is designed for the person it's intended for. My dining room table gets littered with coloured and textured card, glue, glitter, stamps, snippets of ribbon, lace, buttons and even old Christmas cards. I cut them up and recycle some of the prettiest images - bells, angels, scrolls, stars… etc.
But, beware of metallic parts - they go "beep" in the post office and set off another type of bell!
I found this out one year when I had used a decorative, star-shaped metal clip to attach the folded message sheet inside the card.
Who would've thought!
This Christmas my family is coming over to my house to celebrate.
My artificial tree is up and glitters beautifully when all the lights are off; the cookies are being baked - small, horseshoe-shaped ones that don't melt in the heat; and my Christmas cards are lining the mantelpiece ready to be posted - the message sheet is glued in!
Merry Christmas everyone.
Please leave a comment and let me know how you celebrate this-best-of-all-seasons.