We’re approaching the end of the year and what a year it has been… I think that a lot of people are longing for this year to be over! If someone told me a year ago that 2020 would bring us a pandemic and that the entire world would be upside down because of a virus, I would not have believed that person. Because these things only happen in science-fiction. Right?
A Bit of Reflection
But it did happen and the virus still controls our daily life. Yes, the impact is big for a lot of people: restaurants and businesses closed or looking for other ways to reach their customers, people losing their jobs and at the same time people working overtime, working from home, schools closed, … For me personally? We didn’t go on holiday and I couldn’t visit friends in person as much as I would have liked to. Do I, personally, suffer from it? Maybe, a little bit. But it has also shown me the flexibility that I have to adapt to new circumstances.
And it has shown me how much I value my creativity! Even though there was a lot more time to spend at home, I haven’t felt bored for a minute. I have, finally, knitted my first (and second) pair of socks. I have become much more acquainted with my sewing machine and I even started a quilt. That’s a new skill for me and I am very much enjoying that process. A whole new world has opened up for me! I didn’t even have enough time yet to finish it… (do I need a longer lockdown?). And I haven’t shown you anything about it here… I’ll show you what I have been making soon.
Like many other things, Christmas is different this year. Decorations started to appear much earlier than usual and it seems people are looking forward to some cheer and joy. In the meantime, the Netherlands are in lockdown (like many other countries around us). Only a limited number of necessary shops are open, the number of people to spend the holidays with should be small and postal services are working overtime to deliver all online purchases.
It’s Beginning to Look a Lot Like…
…Christmas! Yes! Slowly the house is filled with festive decorations. I started with some lights here and there a few weeks ago.
There’s a little tree with lights in the kitchen… Do you see the gingerbread man? It’s a kitchen timer that I found years ago. I never used it (I use the one on my oven instead), but it’s so cute!
A bright red poinsettia is in the living room and hopefully, it’ll keep all its leaves until Christmas, haha! They’re so sensitive but nice.
And we did put up the tree also a few days ago. We have a real tree which we picked in the field a few weeks ago and last week we went back to cut it. Our dog had to give up one of his beloved sleeping spots in the living room to make room for the tree, but no worries… There are enough spots left for Bono to relax!
Instead of buying all gifts for friends and loved ones, it is nice to include some homemade goodies as well. I personally like to make edible gifts such as jam and cookies. And this year I added sugar-coated almonds and homemade granola to my repertoire as well! I wrote down the recipe for some of them and you can find them here on the blog:
All of them are quick makes just in case you are in need of a last-minute present. Put your makes in a nice bag or jar, add a tag or little card and you’re done! Be sure to make extra though and keep some for yourself as well!
My husband is from Germany and a tradition there is to bake cookies (Plätzchen) for Advent. His mum starts her baking traditionally in November and she’s all done by the time Advent starts. We usually get a box of homemade cookies delivered in a parcel!
I have some favourites that I like to make. Gingerbread cookies are one of them!
The last few years I haven’t baked a lot of cookies, but this year I really wanted to make all the cookies. I’ve made our favourites and I tried a few new recipes too (one of them is definitely a new favourite)!
Here are this year’s cookies:
In case you feel inspired to get baking too, I’ll link to the recipes. Except for one, they’re in German though!
- Anise Seed Cookie (here on the blog)
- A classic one: Vanille Kipferl
- Cinnamon-Almond Cookie: the new favourite! There’s a Sugar-Coated Almond on top
- Marzipan-Coconut Triangle
- Gingerbread Cookie
Especially the Gingerbread cookies are perfect for gifting! They’re quite sturdy and look nice!
There wasn’t a lot of seasonal crafting this year… all available time was put in the edible goodies this year! And there is a painful shoulder too, but that’s a different story (and it’s getting better). When I started to dive into the boxes with Christmas decorations, I found the Little Star garland that I made last year. I’ve put it up on our bookcase.
The free pattern for the little crochet stars is available here on the blog and it’s very versatile actually because you can use different yarn weights and create stars in various sizes.
- The stars are nice ornaments in your Christmas tree.
- One of the easiest homemade Christmas cards: put a star on the front of a nice card, add some glitter and you’re done.
- And, of course, make multiple stars in various sizes, put them on a string and there’s your garland.
This year I’ve sent out only a few Christmas cards and I did want to add a handmade touch… So, I added a Lovebomb ornament. The pattern is by Jane, aka Queen Babs, and it’s available on Ravelry. I made one a few years ago and it was fun to get back to this pattern again and make a few.
Pfew… It has become quite a lengthy post! Well done if you managed to hold on to this point! I like to thank you, my readers, for visiting my website and reading my posts, for your comments here and on social media. It’s very much appreciated!
Whether you celebrate Christmas or not… I hope you have a few days of peace, some time for yourself and your loved ones. A bit of time to recharge the batteries.
As I mentioned earlier, the virus still controls our daily life, but at least the outlook is somewhat positive. Let’s hope that the new year will give us all more freedom of movement and new opportunities.
Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year!