My brother, Conor, and I used to spend our winter after school days lying on top of our respective heaters in the living room. We patiently waited for them to turn on and blow warm air on us, while listening and singing along to the latest Disney soundtrack. Those were the good days, when the biggest worry was how long the heater would stay on for, and how well we could memorize those song lyrics. Fast forward a few years, and we have both found our respective “after-school” activities that we love to do that keep our minds off the stresses of real life. I love to cook, bake, and make silly food art.
Walking on the fallen leaves up in the hills this weekend, it truly felt like fall. Then just a few days later, the holiday lights lit up the city and Christmas had arrived…just like that. When I heard the date of the lighting I felt like it was too early, but the fact that Swiss don’t celebrate Thanksgiving means there is no holiday hold up! I debated whether or not to put up our new fake Christmas tree before turkey day, but I think we must embrace the early start to European Christmas. It’s going up this weekend.
Christmas in Europe is pretty magical. I guess when you combine a ton of beautiful lights with a cold Swiss winter; the result is a wonderful Christmas feeling that I have never experienced. On top of the pretty lights, there is glühwein to be drunk (a warm mulled wine), a nightly singing Christmas tree, chestnuts roasting on an open fire (who knew that actually happened?), Saint Nicholas roaming the streets passing out fruits and candies, and Christmas markets that sell anything from ornaments to artisanal soap.
In our apartment, we have all these great window sills that seemed to be asking for a hanging holiday garland. I got my supplies and set out to make a tissue paper garland that looked easy and affordable…just what I wanted for my holiday decor. Turns out I forgot to take into consideration that there is a heater right below every single window sill, which my risk averse husband would not allow a paper garland to be hanging on. I tried out a couple spots for it, and it has finally landed on our TV stand.
I think you already know this by now, but I l-o-v-e tea. I probably drink anywhere from 3-7 cups of tea a day. When I have met fellow sole tea drinkers, they seem to love tea just as much as I do. So if you have any tea drinkers on your holiday shopping list, there are some pretty fun things to buy them this season or anytime for that matter.
My favorite gifts to give are ones that I make myself. One year, I had a great idea to make all my girlfriends personalized pajama pants. After the first pair took me roughly ten hours to make, my mom jumped in and helped me finish the other four. Since then, I have opted for simpler handmade gifts, such as spiced nuts or coffee coasters.