Marja-Leena Rathje
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My favourite things


about Christmas are the things that appeal to the romantic and the child in me. I love the visual delights of little white lights, red candles, evergreens, snow, red berries, pine cones and red folk embroidery on linens. I love exquisitely illustrated childrens' books like Jan Brett's The Wild Christmas Reindeer, something I bought just for myself to enjoy every Christmas.

I love Christmas music, especially when sung by young voices like Heintje (O Tannenbaum), romantic voices from the 40's and 50's like Doris Day, Nat King Cole and Bing Crosby (I Dream of a White Christmas), or powerful operatic voices.

Virtual Finland's Christmas appeals to the romantic and the child. Visit Santa or "Joulupukki" in his gorgeous clothes, with his elves and reindeer in Lapland (that's where Santa lives, didn't you know?). Look at the lovely cards from Christmases past and recipes for traditional Finnish Christmas foods. I also love these little Finnish folk poems about the little animals in the wintry woods (click on 'lorupiha' then each creature, in Finnish only but sounds interesting). (Thanks to Irma in Finland for sending me this link!)

We are busy preparing the house, the decorations, the gifts, and all the favourite foods for our family Christmas of blended traditions. Christmas Eve is our big night, a tradition with both the Finns and the Germans, with a lovely meal, carols around the piano, and then Santa's visit, so carefully planned to happen out of sight of little children. Oh, such excitement! Happy childhood memories evoked by all the sights, sounds and tastes and watching the shining happy eyes of another generation (a grandchild) make Christmas special for me.

Happy Christmas, Hauskaa Joulua, Frohe Weihnachten, Joyeux Noël, or Happy Holidays! Thank you, dear readers, for making this year's blog adventure such a great pleasure for me by sharing your thoughts with me.

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Marja-Leena | 17/12/2004 | 3 comments
themes: Books, Culture, Music


3 comments

Marja-Leena--your joy in the season is almost enough to win over an old bah humbug bear like me. I say "almost" because being won over would be such a big step. I've been bah-humbug since the fourth grade when I realized Christmas could NEVER be everything I'd hoped. My wife keeps Christmas carols on the CD player anyway, on the theory they'll do me some good. Maybe they do.

For me, the extreme busy-ness and extra workload sometimes gets stressful as well as finding a balance against the crass commercialism. By focusing on what I love about the season, I can still derive a lot of pleasure from it. I guess the traditions established in childhood can be pretty strong, and it's fun to indulge one's inner child a little. It's also the only time we can get a little carried away with the decorations and sentimentalism that makes you into a bah-humbug bear - a very male reaction, methinks. Enjoy!

The Finnish site was lovely, and also the Jan Brett illustrations - her books are wonderful although I've never bought one for myself! Good for you. Enjoy it all; I'm sure your home looks and smells delightful!