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17. December

Christmas Carols

In my humble opinion one of the loveliest things about Christmas are CAROLS.
Christmas without Carols is almost impossible to imagine in good ol’ England.
It is said that this tradition actually started in France and found its way across the channel where it got a new and loving home.

The word Carol derives from an old French word “Carole” which means:
“dancing in a circle”

Now this might sound odd, but Carols where not just about Christmas, back in the old middle age days. Carols were a way of expressing stories which were always accompanied by dances, some of them religious (Like the Coventry Carol) but many were not.
Can you believe that it was originally not allowed to sing them at Church?
(out of all the places!) The reason being is that they were often written in English, a language considered inappropriate at a time were Latin was considered to be the godly language in churches. I never did my “Latinum”, so the thought of sitting in a cold church for hours on end without even understanding anything but Amen, doesn’t sound like the kinda joy  Jesus had in mind.

Luckily many others thought so too.
Over the years they slowly sneaked into the Christmas back door and never found their way out again. Maybe we can thank our Victorians for that again…after all it was them who popularised celebrating Christmas the way we do today.

As a Jesus loving flower Hippie Child, Carols always seem to have the power to carry me through the season and help me connect to the light, the scents and the cinnamon sprinkled moments.
Whenever I start feeling sadness over the fact that I cannot be with my family at this time I turn on my favourite of all: Oh come Oh come Emmanuel and suddenly I am home!

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Veni Veni Emmanuel
captivum solve Israel,
qui gemit in exsilio,
privatus Dei Filio.
Gaude! Gaude! Emmanuel,
nascetur pro te Israel!

O come, O come, Emmanuel
And ransom captive Israel
That mourns in lonely exile here
Until the Son of God appear
Rejoice, rejoice, Emmanuel
Shall come to thee, O Israel

This is one of my favourite interpretation of the song, performed by the piano guys

Enjoy!

https://youtu.be/iO7ySn-Swwc

16. December

Up-cycled wooden Christmas star

The other day I was on my way home and noticed a few fallen branches on the street.
I had almost reached the house door, when I decided to turn back and pick them up.
Surely you can reuse them for something?

Oh yess…How about some Wooden stars for you windows?

What you will need
5 branches of a similar size
Thin wire

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How to do it:
STEP1 Go for a nice winter walk with a loved one- your dog, your kids, your partner or even just with your lovely self and get your hands on 5 branches of a similar size. (don’t break them off a tree, just look for some fallen ones on the ground, I’m sure there’s plenty!!)Alternatively,look for a long branch and break it into 5 similar size pieces.

STEP2 (clean up the wood if need be)shape the star , once happy grab your thin wire and wind it around the joints of the star

STEP3 If you really want your star to glow get one of them wired lights and wrap it round your beautiful new upcycled christmas star.

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15. December

The girl with the matches
written by Hans Christian Anderson
This is the saddest fairy-tale I have ever read, it touched my heart deeply and always moves me to tears

It was a cold winters night on the last day of the year.
There in the darkness, a poor little girl with bare feet was walking along the streets.
She did wear some slippers but they were so big ( as they were her mother’s) that she soon lost them on the way.

She was wearing an old apron, in which she carried her matches.
Nobody had bought any all day or had given her a penny.
Snowflakes covered her hair as she walked by many houses from which she could smell roasted geese and see many sparkling lights.
She sat down in a little side road and pulled her little feet close to her shaking body.
She was afraid to go home as she hadn’t sold any matches that day and her father would surely beat her for that.
The girl thought “maybe if I light a match it will keep me warm”, so it did.

The flame shed a strange light and she suddenly saw a big iron oven, decorated with beautiful ornaments. The fire was burning beautifully, and the warmth felt wonderful.
The little girl stretched out her feet, so she could warm them too but then the flame disappeared.

She lightened up another match and could see a living room, in which a table was covered in the whitest table cloth and porcelain dishes. In the middle of the table was a Christmas goose filled with plums and apples. The Goose jumped off the table and waddled towards her when suddenly the flame died and all she could see was the burnt match.

She lightened up another match and suddenly she was sitting under the grandest Christmas tree. A thousand lights decorated the green branches and she could see many beautiful, colourful pictures.
As she stretched her hands out to them the flame died again.

She looked up into the starry night and saw, one of them falling

“ Someone is dying”- the girl said.

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Her Grandmother, who had always lover her dearly when she was alive, told the little girl that whenever a star fell from the sky, someones soul was travelling up to heaven.

The girl, lightened another match and saw her grandmother who was shimmering in the light and looked at her gently and lovingly.
“Grandmother, please take me with you. I know you will vanish like the warm oven, the delicious goose and the grand Christmas tree”- the girl said whilst lighting another match quickly as she didn’t want to lose her grandmother again.
The matches shined so brightly that you could have thought it was day.
Then the grandmother took the girl into her arms and both rose up so high that she didn’t feel cold, hungry or fearful any more. They were now in heaven.

In the early morning hours there was a little girl, leaning against a wall in a side road,smiling. She was sitting there with her little burnt matches and had frozen to death.

“She should have kept warm” people said.
But nobody would ever know, what beautiful things she had seen on her last night and the happiness she felt when she was finally carried over into the new year.

14. December

Chocolate Apples sprinkled with Kasha

Did somebody say Chocolate?
As a kid these used to always be our little Christmas market treat. However, once my mum figured that we could totally make these ourselves for much less money , she totally went for it. ( No kidding, one year we stood in the middle of the Christmas market with homemade caramelized nuts and our own mulled wine in flasks- home made all day long, especially when you have 4 kids!)

Super easy and super tasty!

What you will need
Apples
Chocolate ( I chose 70% Cocoa chocolate nom)
wooden skewers ( 1 per apple)
Sprinkles- totally optional( I used Kasha> say what? oh yess baby delicious and very nutty)

How to do it

STEP1 Wash your apples, remove the stem and stick the skewers into the bottom of the apple ( wow…moving on)

STEP2 start boiling some hot water in a saucepan and put a heat save dish into the hot water. Turn down the heat a little. Once your water bath is all set add the chocolate and stir it every now and then

STEP3 Once the Chocolate is melted its time to dip in the apples ( now you see why the skewers come in handy). Remove the dish with the melted chocolate from the heat and cover the apples with Chocolate.Make sure they are covered all around, we dont want to waste chocolate now do we?

TIP I melted my chocolate in a deep glass jug, that way i could just dip the apples right into it!

STEP4 Spread out the apples on a tray covered in baking paper. Skewers should face upwards. Add some sprinkles and let it set!

voila!

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13. December

“Star of wonder, Star of Night- Guide us to thy perfect light.”

Grab a few biscuits, turn on some nice tunes and get folding.
Maybe invite a friend around too- double the fun!

These are my absolute favourites and I have them on my window all year round that’s how much I love them!

What you will need
Transparent paper
Scissors
Ruler
Pencil
Glue

How to do it

STEP1 Cut out 16 5x9cm size rectangles ( get that ruler and pencil going!)

STEP2 Put the 1st rectangle in front of you with the longer ends being on top/bottom
Fold it like this:

You should now see a line running through the middle

STEP3 turn your rectangle so that the shorter sides are now facing the top /bottom.Fold each corners up to the middle line

STEP4 Repeat

Your rectangles should now look like this:

Follow Steps 1-4 for the rest of the rectangles

STEP5
Start gluing the pieces together and use the straight line in the middle as a guide line.

You will see your star appear slowly- how gorgeous is that?

Show me your creation! woop woop let’s spread the light

#joytotheearthlings

12. December

Frau Holle/Mother Hulda
A Fairytale (collected) by Wilhem and Jacob Grimm

There was once a widow who had 2 daughters.
One of them was very diligent and kind and the other one lazy and ill-mannered.
The widow loved the lazy one more as she was her own child and let her step daughter do all the work.
Every day she would sit by the well and spin. One day she pricked her finger with the spindle so badly that that her blood spoiled the yarn. Attempting to wash it in the well, the spindle slipped through her fingers and fell into the well. She ran to the house crying and explained to her step-mother what had happened.

The old woman replied:” If you dropped the spindle, you will have to jump down and bring it back up”
The poor girl did as she was told and when she woke up from the fall she was in the middle of a beautiful meadow.

As she walked around this strange land she passed by an oven and heard the bread say:
“ Take us out, Take us out otherwise we will burn”
The girl did so and continued walking.

As she walked passed a big apple tree she suddenly heard the apples say

“Shake us off, Shake us off we are all ripe”
and so the girl shook the tree so that all the apples would fall off.

She piled them up and continued her walk, when she suddenly came to a small house.
In that house she saw a lady sitting by the window who had giant teeth.

When the girl got scared the old lady said:
“Why are you scared dear child, come and live with me. If you do your work diligently, you will like it here. You just need be careful to shake out my bed properly so that all the feathers fly. That’s when it snows on earth”

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The girl agreed and did all her work diligently and always shook out the bed so that many feathers flew, and it snowed on earth.
She had a good life with Frau Holle but after some time she started to feel homesick.

The girl said to Frau Holle:
“I am yearning to go home. Even though my life is so much better here, I need to go back and be with my kind”

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Frau Holle replied:
“I like that you are longing to go back home Child and because you were so diligent your reward shall be great”

She took the girl by her hand and led it to a grand gate. The Gate opened and as the girl walked through it a rain of gold covered her.

“That’s your reward because you have been so diligent”
Frau Holle said and gave her the spindle back.
The girl returned to earth and as she came nearer to the house a Cockerel sat on the well saying

“Kikeriki, our golden maiden is back home”

She returned to her mother’s house and was well received as she was covered in gold.
They wanted to know everything that had happened – so she told them.
The mother wanted her other daughter to have the same fortune, so she went to the well and started spinning.
As she didn’t have the patience, she pricked her finger with the spindle and also rammed her hand into a hedge of thorns so the spindle would get covered in blood.
She threw the spindle into the well and jumped right after it.
When she woke up she was lying on the beautiful meadow her sister had described and started walking.

As she walked around this strange land she too, passed the oven and heard the bread say:
“ Take us out, Take us out otherwise we will burn”
The girl replied:
“If I take you out, I will get dirty” and carried on walking.

As she walked passed the big apple tree she suddenly heard the apples say
“Shake us off, Shake us off we are all ripe”
The girl replied
“If I shake you off, one of you will fall on my head” and went along.

When she came to Frau Holles house she offered her services to her and worked diligently the very first day, as she thought of all the gold that awaited her.
Her enthusiasm however faded very quickly and on the 3rd day she didn’t even want to get out of bed.
She also didn’t shake Frau Holle’s bed, so it didn’t snow on earth.

Frau Holle grew tired of her laziness and sent the girl home.
The girl was happy as she was now expecting the goldrain to fall on her too.
Frau Holle lead her to the grand gate under which the girl stood with so much hope, when suddenly a rain of tar covered her.

“ This is your reward for your services”, Frau Holle said

When the girl came home the cockerel was sitting on the well and said

“Kikeriki, our dirty maiden is back home”

And the tar would cover her, until the end of her days.

11. December

Gebrannte Mandeln/ Caramelised Almonds
These are the perfect little Christmas- “Mitbringsel” ( Mini present) for any Christmas Gathering/Party or a quiet cosy night in with some delicious tea and a Christmas movie.
BEWARE: They are super addictive.

What you will need
200g Almonds (I used walnuts as well)
200g Sugar
100ml water
2 tsp Cinnamon (or 4 if you feel a little German ✌)
1 tsp Vanilla extract (or however much you feel like!)

How to do it

STEP1 Mix water, sugar, cinnamon and the Vanilla extract and bring it to the boil. I used a frying pan!

STEP2 Add the almonds and keep on boiling it, until the sugar is dry.

STEP3 The sugar will then start to caramelise, so as soon as the almonds start to glaze up, take them off the heat.

STEP4 Spread the almonds onto a baking tray,(covered in baking paper!), try to break up any massive clusters and let it cool.

If you would like to give some as a present, why not place them into a little paper cone?

Cute or what?

#joytotheearthlings