Marja-Leena Rathje
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No, not down here but from a visit to Mt. Seymour a few short weeks ago. I'm enjoying dipping into those photos! Though the weather is much warmer this week (8C or 46F this evening!) I'm still dreaming of a white Christmas, but the weatherman thinks it may not be so. We may have to visit the mountains again for I think eldest daughter is bringing her snowshoes when they come down for Christmas.

After a blessedly short spell earlier this week fighting a cough and cold, I've finished the Christmas mailings, done the shopping (except for more food), and baked the stollen and biscotti so far. Tomorrow we'll set up the tree and youngest daughter and I will decorate it on Monday. The countdown is on, but not anywhere as dramatic as it was in 2008. How are you faring with the preparations, dear readers?

Marja-Leena | 17/12/2011 | 12 comments
themes: Canada and BC, Current Events, Home


We two old grandparents descented into a position of not having anything special at all for the Christmas. After all, it is a light festival in this eternal darkness, so we have candles burning constantly, but that's been going on already at least a month.

In couple of days is the equinox or is it solstice, I always forget, but it's a long way to light as we're situated in 63°6'1" N and 21° 37'37" E, in other words quite near - globally thinking - of the place called Korvatunturi where Santa Claus, i.e. Joulupukki, starts up with his reindeers to all over the world.

Earlier years we would've been with our older relatives, but they aren't no more. We are justabout the only old ones left. Except of my mother- and brother-in-laws in Oregon. Too long to drop by.

Swinging icicles in picture number 3. Was there a wind when they were forming do you think?

Ripsa! With some of our family including the grandchildren not able to come home this year, we are only six for Christmas Eve and four for Christmas Day, so we add only one leaf to the dining table. If all were here it would be ten. It's been a long time since our parents have been with us, before the grandchildren came.

Yes, the days are short and dark here too, especially the rainy days, but not as short and dark as for you of course. The Winter Solstice is so important for northerners, a sign of a slow shift towards more light. I too get confused about solstice and equinox - how I remember it is that in the middle of spring and fall night and day are almost 'equal' as in 'equinox'. I'm not sure how that works out in Finnish.

We need snow to brighten the world out there! Enjoy your candles while waiting for Joulupukki!

Joe, I wondered about that too, and yes, I think it must be the wind. Oddly in certain spots and not in others.

Those icicles in the third shot are definitely letting their hair down! In the midst of preparations for the upcoming brewday, I've managed to hang a fir wreath and a long strand around the main windows. Three special German smokers (a snowman, a Weihnachtsmann, and a mushroom house) decorate the room and scent the air. The Hanukkah candles will be lit one by one starting on Tuesday night. I'll try to turn this Solstice season into a Fest of Light though it already feels very odd without my Mama here this year. We had a light dusting of snow yesterday, but nothing stuck.

Like those windswept ones especially...

The way I look at it, the first day of Christmas is the 25th, and there are 12 in all. So it doesn't matter that the tree is naked in the stand and the wreaths barely on the doors...

Am wrapping and mailing... Have not moved on to family presents as yet, except to wrap a very big one that would be hard to hide.

But the Advent Calendar has seen hard use with lots of little presents and chocolates and so on.

Choirwise, one concert down and another to go.

Rouchswalwe, yes, those icicles have the wind-blown look! Interesting multi-cultural decorations you write of - hope you'll show them on your blog. And what dedication to brew on Boxing Day. I'm sure you are missing your Mama especially this year.

Marly! You snuck up on me there! Sounds like you keep extra busy even before Christmas with Advent and choirs and a large family. We've shrunk here but house guests are a little extra work, first eldest daugher and partner arrive on the 23rd. On Boxing Day morning they leave and some dear friends come later that day. Our big days are both Christmas Eve and Christmas Day. Still much to do for us mothers....

The icicles in the first picture are mere infants compared to the others. There are buildings here that have permanent signs attached warning people to be careful walking beneath them in winter. The weather has been mild so far but now the nights are well below freezing the next precipitation will certainly be snow. All the fire hydrants have been equipped with four foot tall red flags and the parking bans are in effect.

Our cards and small gifts have all been sent. Christmas for the two of us will be quiet and hopefully serene as we anticipate gradually lengthening daylight.

Susan, you are making me a bit envious of your snow-to-come. The preparations in your city remind me of what is done in high-snow areas like in the mountains around here. This is your second winter in Halifax, isn't it? May it be a pleasant one for the two of you.

We finally got a tree and decorated it last weekend, and I got my Christmas cards out. Fortunately, I had few presents to buy. Still, I was stressed over the weekend from previous weeks' work demands, but this week work has thinned out so I'm beginning to get into the spirit - none too soon!

Leslee, I'm so glad to hear that, especially the lessening of your work stress. I hope you will have a very calm and happy Christmas.

We decorated our tree last night, just in time for a lunch guest today. Now just wrap gifts (not too many as we keep that low-key), make a couple of table centerpieces, bake the Finnish plum tarts, prepare guest bed and bath, pick up the pre ordered holiday ham and turkey and some more fresh produce. Whew, I didn't think the list was quite that long until I started to write it out. Our daughter and partner arrive on the 23rd so hope to be all cool and calm by then.