Blog

6. December

A tale about a poor widower and his three daughters

(There are many variations of this particular story but here is how remember it from my Childhood)

There was once a poor widower who had three daughters, whom he loved dearly.
Over time he built up a lot of debts and was unable to pay the money back.
He realised that the only option would be to sell his daughters, as he was unable to support his family any longer. In the evening the father and his three daughters cried and cried over their misfortune and separation which was soon to come.
Whilst embracing each other for the last time that night a stranger passed by the house and heard their desperate cries.

Then something extraordinary happened.

The same stranger came to the house that night and threw a small bag through the window.
When the girls woke up from the noise they discovered many gold coins inside the leather bag and were overcome with joy as they were now able to repay some of their debts and didn’t have to be sold. The next night they found another bag filled with coins and were able to repay the rest of their debts.

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Thankful for the gifts  and hoping that the kind stranger would return, the father tried to stay awake the following night,  just so he could thank their benefactor.
Minutes turned into hours and soon the father had fallen asleep.
The stranger however, did come again but this time he threw the coins through the chimney into the girls socks, which they had hung up by the chimney to dry.
Luckily A few coins fell on the floor which woke up the man.

He quickly ran out of the house and shouted with tears in his eyes:
“ Thank you Thank you kind stranger, You have saved me and my family”

A friendly voice replied “ You do not need to thank me”.

It was then that the poor widower recognised the voice, it was Bishop Nikolaus.

Did you have anything in your Boots this morning? or experienced kindness from someone?
Please share it with us!

#joytotheearthlings

5. December

Von drauss’ vom Walde komm ich her- From the forest, there I come…

On the 5th of December Mama used to tell us kids:

“Make sure you clean your boots properly, St Nikolaus will come tonight”

Always a little nervous but mostly excited, we made sure that we picked the nicest (not to mention the biggest…come on now) looking boots for St Nikolaus.
We would leave little messages for him to take away, thanking him for his kindness or try to explain why we weren’t able to get the dent out of the boot and that we had done our best for him. Desperately trying to stay awake so we can snatch a quick look we never succeeded but nevertheless, St Nikolaus ALWAYS came.

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On the morning of the 6th of December our hearts started racing as we climbed down our bunkbed. When we discovered that St Nikolaus had left us: oranges, Apples, nuts, little handmade stars, chocolates, Lebkuchen and sometimes even a 5 DM coin each we were overcome with joy and couldn’t wait to go to school to tell everyone about it.

Knowing that he did not mind that our boots did not look perfect but appreciated that we had at least tried, sent quite a message to me; especially after hearing stories about Knecht Ruprecht who my mums family (who are from the Ore Mountains) never failed to mention whenever we came around for a visit.

It was said that Knecht Ruprecht would come out of the forest, wearing a dark brown- dusty coat, covering half his face with a big hood. He would drag a big Jute bag behind him, which was filled with Coals. His arrival would be announced with little bells (the kind you would find on a horse harness), that he had wrapped around his ankles and a deep voice would come forth as he lifted his rod, ready to punish kids who had behaved badly over the year.
In some other regions ( such as Bavaria and Austria) the evil character who punishes kids is known as KRAMPUS.

 

Not really bed time material, considering that your grandparents house laid just opposite a big forest.
The historic real-life Nikolaus was a bishop in the 4th Century of the city of Myra (todays Western turkey)
It was said that he was not only  a very kind hearted man but also delivered his city from a great famine and has ever since been celebrated as a generous saint.
He died on the 06/12 which has now become the day, on which he is celebrated in numerous countries.

Do you celebrate St Nikolaus or have any other traditions you enjoy?
Please share, I’d love to hear it all!

#joytotheearhtlings

4. December

Christmas cards

I love writing them and receiving them, especially when they have been showered in personal love and delight.

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Sending letters was not a thing ordinary people could afford up until 1840.
It was the whole horse and carriage situation,  which made sending letters a rather long and expensive affair. With the introduction of the railway however, those days were soon over and the “Penny Post”, or in more modern terms “Public Postal Service” ,was born. Now a larger amount of post could be sent across the country in less time, the cost of sending letters dropped and sending postcards was only half a penny.
Now, how do you encourage people to make use of that new service?

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It all began in 1843, when Sir Henry Cole (a senior civil Servant at the time) and his artist friend John Horsley had the idea of the Christmas card.
They designed the very first card, which showed a family around a big table, enjoying their glass of wine. In the centre of the card it said “A merry Christmas and a Happy new year to you” and showed  people caring for the poor on the outer panels.

When the cards were released, about 1000 copies were sold, for something like 5p. ( This is nothing compared to the gob smacking price it was sold for in 2001  £22.500)

The Christmas Cards craze had caught on , and designs like the Nativity scene, Robins and Snow scenes gained popularity (Especially in late Victorian times).
Europe went crazy over this new found custom – especially Bella Germania.
It also reached the United States of America, where it stayed quite expensive until Louis Prang (originally from Germany) started mass producing cards around 1874/1875.

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Today billions of people send Christmas cards to one another- and believe me when I tell you: the Brits are especially nuts about them . It is part of the culture and I love it.
They do have the most beautiful selection of cards and are prepared for every situation you could think of.

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Even if it’s your dog’s cousins-ex boyfriend-almost- lover’s 17th birthday… in England, you will find a card.

Are you sending Christmas cards this year?
Have you found any hilarious once yet?

Please share the laughter with us!Woop Woop

#joytotheearhtlings

3. December

GIVE AWAY TIME

Let’s spread some Christmas sparkle shall we?
People who know me a little would have noticed that I love me some Pom Poms. They are playful, charming and always add a splash of happiness wherever I go.
I think that Joy is even better when you share it, so I thought I’d Pom Pom you up!

Here is what I will happily give away:

3x Sarella handknitted multi coloured Pom Pom Beanies
made from 70%Wool and 30% Alpaca yarn

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3x Sets of Sarella handmade Pom Pom earrings
made from 70%wool and 30% Alpaca yarn

there will be a number of colours to choose from, so if you are the winner I will give you a few choices ( for the Pom Pom earrings only) 🙂

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How to enter
1. Post a crazy Christmas Picture on IG. It can be anything from dancing around your tree with a coconut on your head or a good ol’ nostalgic ‘back in the days’ picture that truly shows off your Christmas joy!the crazier the better!!

2. For the occasion, I have created the very special hashtag #JOYTOTHEEARTHLINGSPOMPOM Pop that hashtag under your picture- so I know you would like to be added to the pond of crazy amazing earthlings!

3. On the morning of the 24/12/2018 I will pull out the names and announce the Pom Pom Queens and Kings
The goodies will then be shipped to you after Christmas- but don’t you worry they will still look gorgeous on you then. Just remember: It is never too late for Pom Poms!

If I haven’t pulled your name out of the pond, don’t worry …in the end it is all about community and coming together, so let’s smash the Pom Pom out of that Hashtag!

Entry closes on Friday the 21.12.2018

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Let’s do this Guys! ❤

2. December

Mince Pies

The first time I took a bite of a sugar dusted mince pie, in Stratford Upon Avon
(where Shakespeare resided), I looked at Chris and asked: “ What the hell is this?”
I guess it was the word “Mince” that I found a little misleading- but it was free, so I didn’t complain.

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Everyone who has been to England around Christmas time or has lived here for some time knows, that the Brits are bloody serious when it comes to their little Christmas delicacy.

But what is?
Where in the world does it come from?
and why for goodness sake is it called Mince pie?

Ready?…Here we go

What are Mince pies?
Essentially they are crumbly pastries , filled with a mixture made from dried fruits (such as currants, raisins, candied mixed peel), sugar, lemon zest, Orange zest, Apples, mixed spices ( cinnamon, nutmeg, mace, gloves, coriander, ginger) and Suet.
Recipes vary of course.

Where do they come from
Many people agree, that the Mince pie can be traced back to medieval England.
( Through the crusades a lot of the delicious spices made their way to Europe )
It was a time when the crust was designed to be thrown away after the filling had been cooked. This method was mainly used for delicate cooking or meat fillings and luckily didn’t catch on. Can you imagine a pie without the crust now? (despicable)

A lot of recipes from medieval times show that the concept of deserts was not as we know it today.
Many dishes were actually a mixture of sweet and savoury flavours.
As spices were very pricey back then ( the more spices the wealthier) they could only be served at special times such as Easter or Christmas.

Why do we call them Mince pies?
They originally had meat in them, such as mutton, beef, pork, game or rabbit.
It is not quite clear to say, when meat was no longer used as an ingredient but probably around the 20th century.

The tradition of Mince pies is still very much alive and today I am having my very first one of the year (by the one and only Abel and Cole co. nom), covered in a sea of brandy cream a nice cuppa tea and a heart-warming Christmas movie.

What mouth-watering delicacy are you enjoying today?

Share but don’t make us jealous please!

#joytotheearthlings

1. December

Christmas tree

Apparently, it’s a German thing.
Prince Albert, the beloved husband of Queen Victoria brought the first tree over from Germany in the 1840s and made it super popular in good ol’ Britian- so they say. Others however are confident, that it was in fact Queen Charlotte who established the tradition in the late 1790s-1800 but guess what: she was German too. I guess, we really do like our Christmas trees? Having an ever-green plant in the home, is a custom that can be traced back way before the 1800s- back to the Viking, Roman times and beyond. Some people believed that it would protect them from evil spirits, ghosts, illness etc. and saw it as a sign of everlasting life.Whatever people believed and still believe, it is a tradition that has certainly caught on and is expressed so very differently from home to home.

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My family always decorated the tree with a mixture of old Christmas ornaments that were passed down from generation to generation, homemade ornaments that we had made ourselves and eatable decorations such as chocolate rings or gingerbread hearts.

Can you imagine decorating your tree with 4 little kids? Nightmare.

As with all things, we might want to spend a thought on where our trees come from, how we could make it more sustainable and make sure, that we don’t ruin mother earth for our sparkle shenanigans during this time of year.
There are actually quite a few options out there, so here is what I found!

1. Christmas trees in pots
Isn’t that a lovely idea? That way you can reuse it ‘alle Jahre wieder’ (every year ) plus
no transport emission ever again. Who has a green thumb now?
If you have a garden, this is really a great option and the best part: You can name your tree and pass it down to the next generation.
How about Sarella for a name? (you think I’m kidding?)

2. Rent a Christmas tree
Say what? I guess this is the 21st Century after all.
Rented Christmas trees are reused over several holidays, which reduces environmental impact (avoid them landfills) and is not that crazy expensive either.

3. Recycle your Christmas tree
Ok if neither of the above is suitable and you opt to buy a tree I would encourage you to get one with the FSC logo on it. This organisation looks out for our forests and all the wildlife in them. They really do care, so why not consider? you can still recycle your little beauty after it had enough of your silly dances. There should be specially arranged drop off points or tree Collections in January- well at least here in the UK. Check with your local authorities, it’s pretty darn good.

4. Fake Christmas tree
I proudly admit that I have one of those. They are reusable, easy to bend (uww I like ‘em flexible) and best of all they don’t require my none existent green thumb skills. Until I learn how to look after a plant successfully my fake tree will stay. Who’s with me?

5. Go WILD Christmas tree
How about dressing up your palm tree or any greenery you have already got in the house? Go batshit crazy!
If you are in need  for inspiration, google:

“funny Christmas tree alternatives”

HILARIOUS!

Whatever you go for, show us your glorious greenery!

#Joytotheearthlings

Advent Calendar 2018

Christmas Season is upon us, time to spice it up.
If you haven’t got an advent calendar this year- do not fret my friends because:
I bring you The ultimate Sarella- advent Calendar WOOP WOOP

It is a tradition (as is the picture-sorry) that was born in 2008,when I first moved to the Kingdom and kept me close to 2 of my dear friends, back home in Germany.
We sent impressions and little notes to one another leading up to Christmas, which really gave me a lot of comfort at a time when I didn’t have any friends and felt quite alone in my new home.
Apart from adding some warmth to the season, it also helped me notice the little special things in between all the craziness around Christmas.

As it is my 10 year anniversary I wanted to make it super special and thought why not turn it into an interactive extravaganza? Join the convo, share your craziness and enjoy the community!
Who is with me? YAAAY

What to expect?

A daily dose of all things around Christmas, from the 1.December up until the 24.December. So make sure you pop by every day, to open your next magical cyber-door.

What will you find behind the doors? 

Fairytales
Sweet anecdotes
Discoveries
How to tutorials
Recipes
Handmade Give Aways (without the follow me! condition)
My personal sparkle

Sounds good?

I appreciate that some of you might not be the biggest Christmas fans, or do I even dare say: HATE IT! We all have our personal experiences with that specific time of year which means more to some and less to others. My aim is not to transform any of you into sparkly Christmas Elf’s (Bibedi bobedi boo?) but to bring some light, warmth and heartfelt love to you- because to me this is what Christmas (and life) really is all about.

So if you allow me to attempt, bringing a little bit of my personal joy into your world it might end with that lovely smile of yours, a “pee your pants” hilarious moment or a nostalgic tear.

 Let the Christmas shenanigans begin.