Kind of a lot has been happening around here recently! We went to visit Andreas’s family for Christmas, saw the Hobbit (twice), and did another big IKEA trip which has resulted in our apartment already being much cozier (even though we haven’t put everything together yet).
But for now, I’ll focus on the gingerbread house! Guys, it was amazing. Andreas was pretty sick over the majority of our visit to his parents, so his sister and I did most of the work for the houses. I forgot how much I miss doing math when I used the pythagorean theorem to figure out how tall to make my house-peaks. His sister and I made a small house each which was really fun, but I unfortunately didn’t get nice pictures of hers as it wasn’t finished in the morning when I did mine in the sunlight. She was much more extensive with the landscape, making a pool, a doghouse, and what I think might’ve been a birdbath. But anyway, with no further ado, mine and Andreas’s Gingerbread House!
The front garden (notice the wreath above the door, and Andreas’s professional decorating skills on the roof)
The mailbox with a package in it!
Our snowman (with his broom) and the snow-covered tree
I think we were getting a little tired by the time we got to the back.
Andreas’s handiwork again. I was skeptical when it was just the big candies, but when he added the M&Ms, it all came alive!
This was my side to decorate. I don’t know if I’ve ever done a gingerbread house without a log pile (usually in the states I use Tootsie Rolls, but these turned out even better!)
Andreas and I worked surprisingly well together to decorate our house. He made sure the foundation was sturdy (which is where my main gingerbread house problems all begin) and it turns out we both really like to add tiny details to our sweet little house. Andreas has already proclaimed that it’s a Christmas activity we’ll definitely be doing in the future with the kids, and it sure helped make Christmas a little more Christmassy!
Christmas is around the corner, guys, and I’m excited. I honestly don’t think I’ve been this excited for Christmas since I had the Christmas Concert to look forward to in elementary school. This probably has something to do with the way that the Danes approach Christmas.
Now, we don’t have a TV (haha, I like saying that in a hoity-toity voice in my head, but really, we don’t have a TV because we didn’t buy one yet.) so I haven’t seen any of the Christmas commercials, and we haven’t really been to any mall or shopping area, so I haven’t really noticed that aspect of Christmas (the buying lots of things aspect). But as far as I’ve noticed during previous Christmases in Denmark, it’s not all-consuming like it can be in the states. They don’t have crazy ridiculous sales (which is a slight bummer for a couple trying to furnish and decorate their apartment at Copenhagen prices), or anything akin to Black Friday.
There’s also not a big religious debate about neutralizing Christmas and calling it The Holidays or calling it Christmas and leaving out a bunch of other traditions. Basically, Christmas here is a time for the famous Danish “hygge.” A time to put candles in the windows, decorate with white, sparkly, and red things, and huddle up with warm drinks and people you love as you watch the sun set at 2 pm. I like that. I have always been drawn towards Christmas, but felt like I couldn’t really celebrate because we weren’t even Christian. Here, it doesn’t matter. Most people don’t follow a religion, but Christmas is still a big deal. It’s very much a cultural holiday now, and one I am definitely willing to participate in. Once I get me some candlesticks and red yarn…
During my daily over-browsing of Facebook, I’ve noticed today that I’ve read more negative posts concerning Valentine’s Day than positive ones. Now, given the big hoopla that everyone makes over Valentine’s Day (both those celebrating it, and those vehemently NOT celebrating it) I guess I should have expected this, but I really didn’t.
Valentine’s Day has never been a big deal for me, except in elementary school where I got to decorate a Kleenex box and everyone attached candy to their Valentines. The best part was when we all got to mill around and deliver them (my love of sorting has not dimmed since then).
Anyway, I was thinking (surprising, right?) and I don’t see why Valentine’s Day is a big deal. Originally it’s some celebration of a saint who got eaten by a lion or something, and over the years it’s been commercialized and made into a day where we’re supposed to buy things for the one we love. But that does not change the fact that it IS a holiday (it’s on the calendar after all). The thing I’m going to say next would probably spark a lot of controversy if anyone really read this blog, but as it’s mostly just my sisters (hi sisters!) I’m not too worried about it. So here it is: I don’t think Valentine’s Day has been all that much more commercialized and over-celebrated than Christmas! So there! Christmas is a celebration that Jesus was born (and it’s not even celebrated in the right season!). So why do we feel compelled to buy gifts, eat lots of food, and have parties? Because that’s what you do on a holiday. So why shouldn’t we do it on Valentine’s Day, too? Personally, I feel like Valentine’s day was created to nudge us all out of our depressed mid-winter rut, and I appreciate it as just that. Anyone who hates Valentine’s day for its over-commercialization should also be required to hate Christmas for the same reason and not do anything except sit with his family and think about Jesus as a baby (hmm, that doesn’t sound so bad. I’ll bet Jesus was an awfully cute baby.)
For the record, I didn’t feel any different about Valentine’s day when I was single.
And now to the present! This is Andreas’s and my first Valentine’s Day together, and in celebration, he came on a walk to the neighborhood Netto with me (and without complaining), we bought chocolate (mine!) and chips (his!) and we’re going to watch a movie (his choice). Perfect. And to be honest, I don’t really care whether it’s Valentine’s Day or not, but it’s nice to have an excuse to do something special and fun and cuddly.
So for anyone who’s reading this, Happy Valentine’s Day! I’d share if I could
An Extra Big (Swedish) Hazelnut Chocolate Bar