Thursday, 18 December 2008

Finding the Feisty Fairy ( and other Xmas Tales)

To decorate our first Christmas tree I was keen to buy a fairy/angel that wasn't too whimisical and cute and found the perfect gal at British Crafts in Chiswick - she's a generously proportioned Trapeze Artist made of wire by Jo Dewar. After trying various heart-shaped ornaments, she acquired some fuchsia pink wings which Jo generously didn't charge for as I'd given her ideas for future 'fairies'. No, our Christmas tree is not dead - it's supposed be like that! We chose a 'chocolate' artificial tree with fibre optic lights.

It gently shimmers in the corner of the 'parlour' in front of some of my textile books and we didn't have to worry about buying extra lights.

I spent some time and elbow grease black-leading our original Edwardian fire place ( and cleaning out the grate and replacing the coals with fircones). With an artificial berry garland on the top (decided real holly would scratch the surface), it looks very cosy.
I don't normally go in for answering questionnaires but there's one circulating on a number of blogs about Christmas traditions that I've found entertaining so thought I'd share mine.
I should point out that apart from my childhood, I've escaped abroad for most Festive Seasons ( 12 countries visited) and have introduced Ian to the habit ( Syria and Iran so far ).
This year is our first spent entirely in our new (ish) home and we're looking forward to inventing our own traditions.
Egg Nog or Hot Chocolate? Neither - can't stand eggs and although I love chocolate in a solid format, hot chocolate gives me headaches. Cava is good and Santa gets left a glass of ginger wine.

Does Santa wrap presents or set them under the tree?
Wrapped and put in stocking and/or pillow case

Coloured lights on tree or white? White fibre optics ( a colour disc was also supplied - but that involves taking apart the base and losing the miniscule vital screw)
When do you put your decorations up? First weekend in December. If you go away for Xmas, you don't get the benefit otherwise.

What is your favorite holiday dish (excluding dessert)? As a Marmite fiend it has to be Twiglets!!

When and how did you learn the truth about Santa? It took a college education to deduce how our stockings were filled overnight when we left them on the hearth ( clue: socks come in pairs )

Do you open a gift on Christmas Eve? No, We were allowed to investigate our stockings
first thing but the rest had to wait until after Mass. Last year we opened pressies on our return from Iran
How do you decorate your Christmas tree? Various handcrafted items bought on travels ( eg Hungarian felt birds) plus patchwork ornaments

Snow! Love it or Dread it? Love it as long as prepared with thermals and sturdy footware. We had snow in Iran last year and it made everything sparkly but then were caught in a blizzard heading back to Tehran and our plane was the last out before the city was snowbound. Never been sitting in a plane as it was de-iced before!
('Modest Dress' is easier when it's cold!)

Can you ice skate? No!! My colleagues persuaded me to join them on a staff skating session on the rink at work but I spent my time holding onto the barrier in terror, watching the others glide elegantly by... I can rollerskate though.
Do you remember your favorite gift? The wierd ones are more memorable - like the fake fur legwarmers ( my brother believed in surprise presents) and the fire extinguisher ( my Dad had requested an extinguisher for his car and for some reason thought I'd wanted one -I don't drive)

What’s the most important thing about the Holidays for you? It used to be that it was the best time for travel abroad as I didn't need to use much annual leave and I came back tanned and invigorated (tho' usually with a cold). Now it is quality time spent with Ian.

What is your favorite Holiday Dessert? Trifle - preferably ginger. Ian is making Tiramisu this year

What is your favorite tradition? Still in development.

Which do you prefer, Giving or Receiving? On the whole Giving ( had a lovely time this year choosing clothes from Monsoon for a 1 year old girl.) It's difficult to make lists for others to buy for you when you're used to buying whatever you want ! At work we gave up doing 'Secret Santa' to jointly support Oxfam Unwrapped projects and at home we've bought goats, and this year innovative compost bins in Sri Lanka via Practical Action ( composting being dear to Ian's heart).

What is your favorite Christmas Song? I sang alto in the staff choir last year in St Annes' Church : 2 songs by Rutter ; 'Torches ' and my particular favourite the Georgian hymm ' Let an Anthem of Praise' with it's simple but uplifting harmonies. This is on the Maddy Prior & the Carnival Band CD 'Carols at Christmas' - I also like their 'Gold Frankinsense and Myrrh' CD as it reminds me of music I've heard on my travels. The most bizarre New Year's music was in a remote hotel in Morocco where all they had was 'Boney M's Greatest Hits'.....

Ever recycled a Christmas present? Some 'Secret Santa' gifts (especially candles) have made their way into the 'presents drawer' where they mostly remain. Trouble is, if I don't want them , who would I pass them on to?

1 comment:

WEST COUNTRY BUDDHA said...

That was absolutely fascinating! I enjoyed reading all about you and your Christmas traditions etc. I thought your Dad's present of the fire extinguisher was hilarious. You have to wonder sometimes don't you? Have a wonderful Christmas and a Happy New Year! x