Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Holiday spirit anyone?

It's hard to believe that the holidays are almost upon us! The lack of snow this year has really made it hard to believe that Christmas is coming. We've had snow off and on, but it's always followed by a day of rain. Check out the treacherous sidewalks here:
That's about 2" of solid ice!
We'll all be glad when the snow falls and sticks around for a bit!

Because we're traveling back to Vermont for the holidays, we didn't get a tree here. Even if we'd wanted to get one, things in Europe are different. In the states, parking lots in most towns turn into Christmas tree markets right after Thanksgiving. Here, the tradition is to put the tree up on Christmas Eve. The whole day is spent decorating the tree, then opening presents and eating a meal with family. You can't even find a tree to buy until at least December 18th. And, the people I've talked to usually take their trees down by January 6th. So that's a pretty short window! Without our own tree, and without tree lights visible through apartment windows, we've been having a hard time believing that Christmas is this weekend.
No snow, but our Christmas Market in town is still fun to visit!
I've been doing some other holiday activities here with the girls to try to get us all in the mood. We've baked a lot of cookies and have been packaging those for friends here. I remember baking with my mom when I was young and I'm so glad my girls are enjoying doing it with me. 
Sophie helping with the thumbprint (or pointer print?) cookies
It's a much longer process here in Finland because of the petite ovens that are so common here. We had many nights of late cookie baking but we were really pleased with the results. 
Fortunately we DID give most of these away, because we certainly don't need to eat them ourselves. 
We've also gotten creative with gift wrapping. The paper yarn here is beautiful. It's made from the leftover pulp from the paper mills. There are several different weights of it and some are used for knitting and crocheting. Most of the patterns are in Finnish, and unfortunately the people who teach the classes do not speak English very well. I am still trying to see if I can learn how to do a few fun things with these yarns, so I can bring them back and hold some classes this summer. They also use these yarns for non-knitting related crafts. I used two of the thinner weights to tie around some gifts. 
It looked great with the Finnish newspapers I used for wrapping. Why not recycle? I was taking so many of these down to the recycle room, so I thought I'd put them to better use.

And I'm bringing some back for my staff so I can teach them how to make something pretty cool... but it's a secret so I can't share it until after we have our staff craft night, on Wednesday, January 4th. I had everyone pick a color and now I just have to fit these huge skeins into my bags.
LARGE suitcase and water bottle for reference. These skeins are HUGE!
At least it's just paper and they are not too heavy!

1 comment:

Emily said...

I was already excited to see what our mystery craft is going to be, but now, having seen the ginormous hanks of paper yarn, I'm practically drooling!