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DECK THE HOLIDAY'S: 12/17/12

Monday, December 17, 2012

CHRISTMAS IN SWITZERLAND!!!






    Imagine a white robed angel whose face is delicately hidden by a veil, held in place by a jeweled crown, walking into your families Christmas gift exchange. The glow of the candles on the tree enshroud his form with a beautiful orange glow, as he enters and hands out presents from the basket held by his child helpers. A bit different from a traditional American Santa stories, this Swiss traditional story of the Christkindli is a well-known tradition in Switzerland. Most Swiss children eagerly await the arrival of the Christ Child in his reindeer drawn sleigh to come bearing gifts for everyone.











    For the week preceding Christmas, kids in Switzerland dress up and visit others bearing small gifts. Bell ringing competitions between villages to call people to midnight mass have become common traditions, as have the gathering after the service for families to share giant homemade donuts (ringli) and hot chocolate.
    Because Switzerland's traditions stem mainly from 4 different cultures, Switzerland offers a wide variety of traditions and celebrations at Christmas time. Aside from native Swiss influences, Swiss Christmas times are also influenced by German, Italian, and French customs and traditions. Gifts are given by some on Christmas Eve, and by others on New Year's Day. Though many celebrate gifts brought by Christkindli, others believe the generous spirits of St. Nicholas or Father Christmas and his wife Lucy to be responsible for the gifts. The manger scene still holds significant symbolism and importance in heralding the arrival of Christ, but the Christmas tree is also an icon. Carols are sung by Sternsingers dressed as the Three Kings in 4 languages. It seems that Switzerland has remained neutral even in holiday spirit.











 
    Other holiday celebrations in Switzerland include the Chlaujagen Festival or the Feast of St. Nicholas, it is celebrated on December 6th. A procession of lifetrager parade down the street wearing huge illuminated lanterns shaped like Bishop's mitres on their heads. Regardless of which tradition a Swiss family follows, it would seem that Switzerland has the Christmas spirit. I imagine, Christmas in Switzerland must be quite romantic and fairy tale like. As the German speaking Swiss say, "Frohliche Weihnachten"!, or "Merry Christmas"!

DIY 8 POINT SNOWFLAKES!

This diy comes from www.bontempsbeignet.blogspot.com. Enjoy making a few of these for a neat holiday window display.


Faux Sneaux Flakes


As a person who always seems to get scammed out of a good birthday (November 20th) with one of those combined birthday/Christmas gifts, I know how poor Thanksgiving feels to be overlooked every year. But this year, I have to say "Sorry Sucka!!!!" to Thanksgiving (well, the decorating part at least) to make way for some fun, wintry Christmas decor. That's right kiddos, I'm startin' early. And what's the best kind of seasonal decor? The FREE kind.


Last year I showed you how to make 6 point and (those non-anatomically correct) 8 point snowflakes, and I'm back again with a more detailed tutorial. Because, 1) I've misplaced most of my flakes from last year and have to stock up again, 2) I've been getting a TON of google search hits for paper flakes, and 3) cuz it's cheap as all get out and don't we all like that? Yes, I thought you would agree. See, that's why we're friends. Cheap people unite!Here's how ya do it...

Take a plain ol piece of printer paper (8.5x11")


...and fold it in half.


On the folded side, find your center mark...


...by folding it in half again and pinching the bottom corner.


Just pinch the corner, like this (see on the lower right?)...


I drew a little line so you can see where the center mark is...


Now fold the bottom corner up from that center point so that your bottom right corner is now pointing up near the top left corner


Press down to create a fold.


Then do the same with your lower left corner.
Fold that up to meet the top right edge.


Then fold that in half.

It will look like this...


Now you'll want to trim the excess.
See that short piece in there? You want to cut off everything that's past that edge.


Like this...


So you're left with the triangle piece (on the left in the pic below).
You can toss the extra bit that's on the right


Now draw your design. Try not to cut to far into the smallest angle (over there on the left in the picture below) because that will be the center of your flake. If you cut to far in, it will tend to fold in on itself. Keeping the center in tack will give you a strong flake. That's an oxymoron... but it's true.


I penciled in the areas that will be cut away.


Then cut, cut cut.


Once it's cut, slowly and carefully unfold the paper.



Be sure to press down on the seems as you open it.
It tends to want to fold back up on it's own.


Once it's open, you can place each flake in between the pages of a big, heavy book to get them super flat.


Then string them along a piece of fishing line or floss across the ceiling or tape them to your window.
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Wondering what designs I made to get the flakes in the collage pic up top?
Well wonder no more!
Here's the folded, cut piece (above) along with the open design (below)...















Now that I've completely overloaded you with paper cutting, go make some flakes and decorate.

SANTA CLAUS, ST. NICK AND CHRISTMAS FIGURES AROUND THE WORLD!!!


 
 
 
 
    Christmas is a Holy Christian observance that is often celebrated with imaginative, fanciful traditions from folklore and legend. Santa Claus is a legendary personality, similar to St. Nicholas, Father Christmas, Sinterklass, and Julenisse. Christkindl, representing the Christ Child, started bringing small gifts to children in Germany during the Protestant Reformation led by Martin Luther, St. Nicholas, Santa Claus and German Christkindl.
    Christmas personalities are authority figures who bring gifts to good children. In some cultures the Santa Claus figure is feared because he knows all and sees all and may decide children are bad and leave nothing or something like a lump of coal.
    As people move around the world, traditions mix and change with time. The United States is a melting pot of cultures with different traditions observed by the many ethnic groups in the country. Likewise, many cultures may adopt the traditions of neighboring countries.
The following are some different Santa figures and traditions around the world.



Christkindl

 
  • Austria- St. Nicholas Eve is celebrated on December 6th. Christmas Eve is when families gather for dinner. Christkindl, a young woman dressed in robes, visits Austrian homes and gives gifts to children.




St. Nicholas

Pere Noel












  • Belgium- Dutch speaking Belgians are visited by St. Nicholas on December 6th. Francophone's are visited by Pere Noel on December 6th.


Father Christmas

  • England- Father Christmas fills stockings or pillowcases with presents for children.



Jouloupukki

  • Finland- Finns know that Santa Claus, also called Jouloupukki, lives in the Arctic Circle in Northern Finland. Since Santa lives so close to the children in Finland, he is able to visit them while they are still awake and able to greet the "Jolly Old Elf."



Christkindl

Weihnachtsmann











  • Germany- There are different traditions in Germany, depending upon the region and religion. St. Nicholas Day is observed by Catholic Families, Christkindl, an angelic figure in a white robe representing the Christ Child, visits many Protestant homes. There is also a Santa Claus type figure called Weihnachtsmann who brings gifts.


St. Nicholas


  • Hungary- December 6th is St. Nicholas Day, an important winter holiday in Hungary. Children leave their shoes out for St. Nicholas to fill with chocolate candy and other goodies.


Father Christmas

  • Ireland- Children in Ireland leave stockings or pillowcases at the end of their beds, hoping that Father Christmas will visit and fill them with treats.


La Befana

  • Italy- The Italian equivalent of Santa Claus is La Befana. The elderly, witch like woman flies above Italy on a broomstick to give gifts to the children on Epiphany Day.



Papa Noel

  • Lebanon- Papa Noel is the Santa Claus in Lebanon. Children wait for Papa Noel to leave presents near the manger under the Christmas tree.




St. Nicholas and Black Peter

  • Luxembourg- St. Nicholas is accompanied by his servant Black Peter (Houseker). Children leave out plates for St. Nicholas on December 5th to be filled with fruits, nuts and sweets.



Magi

  • Mexico- The Magi leave gifts for children on Christmas Eve.



Sinterklaas

  • Netherlands- Sinterklaas is St. Nicholas in the Netherlands. Dutch children put wooden shoes filled with hay and sugar for Sinterklaas' horse. Good children receive shoes full of sweet treats.


Julenisse





Nisse



Fjonisse


Santa Claus


 

  • Norway- Elfin beings called Nisse are part of the Norwegian folklore. Norwegians offer Christmas Eve porridge to the Julenisse who lives in the barn to avoid elfin trickery and mischief by Fjonisse, who lives in the barn and cares for animals. Santa brings gifts for the children on Christmas.



Magi

  •  Puerto Rico- The Magi, or three Kings-Malchor, Gaspar and Baltazar, visit and leave gifts for children in Puerto Rico.


Grandfather Frost and handmaiden


St. Nicholas





  • Russia- St. Nicholas delivered Christmas gifts in Russia until communist rule, when Grandfather Frost took over. Grandfather Frost usually wears a blue suit instead of the red suit of Santa Claus. A handmaiden accompanies Grandfather Frost.



St. Nicholas


Slovenia- St. Nicholas and mischievous elves visit to scare children who have misehaved during the year.



Santa Claus


  • South Pacific Islands- Santa Claus arrives on the beach in a magical canoe.




Tomte

  • Sweden- The Christmas gnome, called Tomte, is supposed to live under the floorboards of the house or barn. Tomte brings a sack of gifts and distributes them to kids.



Christkindl

  • Switzerland- The Christkindl appears as a beautiful angel dressed in white and lights the candle on the Christmas tree and distributes gifts to children.



Santa Claus

  • United States- Santa Claus flies in a sled drawn by flying reindeer and slides down the chimney to deliver gifts to children. St. Nicholas also visits many homes on St. Nicholas Day.