Warning: This post has nothing to do with books. It's all about my personal (and partly traditional Swedish) Christmas celebration. I think it's my teacher side wanting to educate you all. This is part 1: Advent.
I love Christmas. I always have. But even more than Christmas, I nowadays love Advent. You know the four Sundays before Christmas Eve, and all the weekdays in between of course. Second advent is coming up tomorrow, it's crazy how time flies.
Anyways, me and mom started our Advent preparations last Saturday. Advent for me is very much about traditions and the first tradition is the making of the wreath to hang on your door. So we went out in the forest and picked juniper twigs that we formed into wreaths, which we decorated with red ribbons and hung on our respective doors. This is mine this year (pretty, huh?) and beside it a decoration for the porch made of the juniper twigs that were left over.
After the making of the wreaths, it was time for another important Advent tradition, namely baking gingerbread cookies. My mom always makes her own gingerbread dough and it's the best. We have a few different traditional pastry-cutters such as Christmas pig, gingerbread man and his wife, Christmas tree, heart, Christmas goat (an old Scandinavian pagan tradition dating back to the Viking Age) and my favorite: the angel. Mmm... gingerbread cookies warm out of the oven. You can't beat that.
At this time of year, in the northern hemisphere it is quite dark. And in the northern parts of the northern hemisphere it's even darker. And in the countryside in the northern parts of the northerns hemisphere far away for any street lights it is crazy dark! So the perhaps most important Advent tradition is that of spreading light.
Electric candle sticks can be seen in almost every window around Sweden this time of year, as well as electric stars. The one of the left is from my kitchen window. For me, the light of these electric candle sticks almost gives me butterflies in my stomach because it feels so much like Christmas.
It is also common to have a Christmas tree outside in your garden and decorate it with electric lights. To the right is our own Christmas tree. We went out into the tiny bit of the forest that now is ours and cut a tree. You can see for yourself that the light of the tree is important in all that compact dark.
However, not only electric lights are a part of Advent. So are of course ordinary candles. Thus is an Advent candle stick, with one candle for each Sunday of Advent. Tomorrow it's time to light the second one.