Fa la la la laaaa, la la la laaaa!

21 Dec

Garden
On 1st December snow came to Denmark. I woke my poor husband that morning with shrieks of, “It’s snowing! It’s snowing!” and have remained in a state of high excitement ever since.

Mushrooms cropWinter is by far my favourite season, especially when it snows. The freezing weather transforms everything from ordinary to extraordinary and renews potential for a lot of outdoor activity. We began by building the obligatory snowman, but since I was aided in it’s construction by my husband’s two boys ours ended up with certain feminine attributes (which for the sake of decency are not immediately apparent in the picture) and some harpy-esque wings. Still, I think she looks quite jolly…

Snow harpy crop

A while back I had seen on Facebook some photos of coloured balls of ice which I was dying to make as soon as the temperature dropped. They are made very simply by filling balloons with water dyed with food colouring, then set outside to freeze. I think the end results are quite lovely, especially when the sun shines through them.

Blue ball

At this time of year a lot of Christmas markets start to appear in Odense and there’s nothing like a wander among the stalls on a snowy day to top up the Christmas cheer.

SantasWe went to the HC Andersen Julemarked which is like stepping back in time, with lots of olden days products and events to tempt the senses.

Spejpolse

Poul

After all that cold winter air it goes without saying that a warming glass of gløgg (mulled wine) is required.

Gløgg

But you can’t have gløgg without æbleskiver

Æbleskiver crop

Æbleskiver are similar to pancakes but cooked in a spherical form. They’re dipped into jam and then icing sugar and are a perfect accompaniment to gløgg.

I love all the old-fashioned Christmas decorations which are so popular in Denmark, such as these very traditional goats made of straw:

Goats

There is a lot of hygge at Christmas time in Denmark, and making your own julepynt (Christmas decorations) is high on the agenda.

Window decoration2 In our family it is customary to make your own adventskrans (Advent wreath) and kalenderlys (Advent candle), so armed with various bits of greenery from the garden, pine cones collected from the local petrol station(!) and some festive baubles I set to work…

Calender candle

And while I was at it I made a little something for the front door…

Door decoration

However, there is one Christmas decoration trend in this country which perturbs me – the upside-down star:

Upside down star

This seems as wrong as hanging a horseshoe upside down (which they also do in Denmark!) – all the luck runs out, besides which it disturbs my sense of order. And there’s another thing I don’t get about Christmas in Denmark – they don’t decorate the Christmas tree until two or three days before Christmas! It seems like such a waste when the tree is just sitting outside anyway until then.

Træ

In any case, top of the list of significant events in the lead up to Christmas day has to be the local Nativity play.

Nativity groupThis year I caught the one at Thomas Kingos Kirke in Odense and was very impressed with the children’s singing, they were giving it laldy. The tunes were rather groovy and catchy, altogether a more modern kind of Nativity than I remember from my youth. I always longed to be an angel (it was the irresistible lure of all that silver tinsel) but alas I was destined to be a lowly shepherd which meant I had to wear a dishcloth on my head. I shouldn’t complain though, because as I got older I was promoted to being a wise man and this instead provided the opportunity for wearing shiny curtains in various lurid colours.

Wise menNot so for these guys, their costumes were fabulous – although I was slightly doubtful about the wisdom of giving small boys big sticks and letting them loose in a church, but the teachers did at least have the foresight to remove their shoes, thereby  impeding their possible escape.

Shepherds

Nevertheless, it all went extremely smoothly and I hope the teachers were proud.

Angels

Nu er det jul igen!

Den 1. december kom sneen til Danmark. Jeg vækkede min stakkels mand denne morgen ved at skrige “Det sner! Det sner!” Siden da har jeg befundet mig i en tilstand af glad spænding.

Efter min mening er vinteren den allerbedste årstid, især når det sner. Frostvejret forandrer alting fra almindeligt til ualmindeligt og skaber muligheder for en masse udendørs aktiviteter. Vi begyndte med at bygge den obligatoriske snemand, men fordi jeg blev hjulpet i opbygningen af min mands to drenge, endte vores med visse kvindelige attributer (der pga. anstændighed ikke er umiddelbart synlige på billedet) og nogle harpylignende vinger. Alligevel synes jeg, hun ser ret glad ud.

Snow harpyFor nogen tid siden, havde jeg på Facebook set nogle billeder af farvede iskugler, som jeg ikke kunne vente med at lave, lige så snart temperaturen faldt. De bliver lavet meget enkelt, ved at man fylder balloner med vand, der er farvet med frugtfarve og stillet udenfor for at fryse. Jeg synes, at slutresultatet blev ret flot, især når solen skinnede gennem dem.

Purple ice ball
På denne tid af året begynder en masse julemarkeder at dukke op i Odense, og der er ikke noget så godt som at vandre rundt blandt hytterne på en snefuld dag for at forøge julestemningen.

PiggiesVi tog til H.C. Andersen julemarkedet, der er lige som at gå tilbage i tiden med masser af gammeldags produkter og aktiviteter til at stimulere sanserne.

Sax playerEfter al den kolde vinterluft er det en selvfølgelighed, at man skal have et glas varm gløgg.

Gløgg steamMen man kan ikke have gløgg uden æbleskiver…

Æbleskiver cropJeg elsker al den gammeldags julepynt, som er så populært i Danmark såsom disse meget traditionelle bukke af strå:

GoatsDet findes masser af hygge ved juletid i Danmark, og at lave sin egen julepynt står højt på dagsordenen. I vores familie er det almindeligt at lave vores egen adventskrans og kalenderlys. Så forsynet med forskellige slags grønt fra haven, grankogler samlet hos den lokale benzintank (!) og nogle festlige glaskugler gik jeg i gang…

AdventskransOg mens jeg alligevel var i gang, lavede jeg lidt til hoveddøren.

Door decorationImidlertid er der en slags julepynt her i landet, der forstyrrer mig: den omvendte stjerne.

Upside down starDet forekommer mig at være lige så forkert som at hænge en hestesko op med åbningen nedad (som man også gør i Danmark!) – al heldet falder ud, og desuden forstyrrer det min ordenssans. Og der er en anden ting, jeg ikke forstår ved den danske jul: de pynter ikke juletræet før to eller tre dage før juleaften. Jeg synes, at det er sådan et spild, når træet alligevel bare står der indtil da.

TræØverst på listen over betydningsfulde begivenheder i optakten til jul er uden tvivl det lokale krybbespil. I år nåede jeg det i Thomas Kingos Kirke i Odense og blev meget imponeret af børnenes sang; de gav den fuld gas! Musikken var temmelig melodisk og genkendelig, alt i alt en mere moderne slags krybbespil, end jeg kan huske fra min egen ungdom. Jeg længtes altid efter at være en engel (det var den uimodståelige tiltrækning mod al det sølv-tingeltangel), men desværre blev det min skæbne at være en ydmyg hyrde, hvilket betød, at jeg skulle have et viskestykke på hovedet. Jeg skulle dog ikke brokke mig, fordi jeg, da jeg blev ældre, blev forfremmet til at være en af de vise mænd. I stedet for fik jeg muligheden for at bære skinnende gardiner i forskellige spraglede farver.

Nativity groupDet gælder ikke for disse born. Deres dragter var fantasktiske, skønt jeg var lidt tvivlende over for, hvor klogt det var at give små drenge store stokke og slippe dem løs i en kirke. Men lærerne havde i det mindste forudseendhed til at tage børnenes sko af for at forhindre deres mulige flugt.

ShepherdsIkke desto mindre gik det alt sammen yderst glat, og jeg håber, at lærerne var stolte.

Angels

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One Response to “Fa la la la laaaa, la la la laaaa!”

  1. Katie Punter December 24, 2012 at 2:18 am #

    I’m so pleased you made the snow marbles! They do look wonderful. I am rather jealous of your life-I would be more so if I didn’t love my own so much! Miss you x

    Like

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