For us, December is a month where we really enjoy our candles, starting with the first candle in the Advent wreath. This photo is from right after we light the 4th Advent candle, plus the many others! The white pillar candles we decorated with colored sheet wax during a craft activity at one of the churches.
This is the first year we have had lights on our tree here and I have really enjoyed it! Lights in the home for decoration are not typical here - candles are still preferred! You will notice that the tree is cut in such a way to make room for the candles on the ends of each level. The first few stores we looked at, lights were about 50 Euros so I was thinking that lights weren't going to happen, but then I tried a discount store from a big chain and they had these for a price I could bear. This really is the nicest tree we have ever had - we have purple, red and gold decorations, lots of hanging chocolates, purple candles, a red topper and a few other odds and ends of special ornaments, and lots of goodies all wrapped up underneath!
My son and I - so very happy to be together on Christmas Eve!
In the afternoon, we took a walk along the river. The temperature today is fairly mild for December, which is good because my son has been running night fevers and the cold weather gets him coughing. But today was a good day for a walk. We like to look for ducks and usually see one or two. Today we saw over 24 ducks... and a swan! My son was most thrilled with the Christmas swan and took many photos - thank goodness for digital cameras or else, in the old days, that would be an entire roll of film!
In the early evening on Christmas Eve, we leave the house and Christkind brings presents. In Austria, there is no Santa Claus, but rather an angel who brings the presents. It is a bit of a challenge to get everyone out of the house at a certain time, so a neighbor can bring the presents from Christkind into the house! Then all the presents are opened. I love it that my son stopped mid-presents to try on his new house slippers that I knit for him. He is really appreciative of every present. A funny thing - one of my sisters sent him a fleece jacket that she smooshed into a zip lock bag so it would fit into my suitcase. He even likes that zip lock bag! Perfect for storing Lego bits in, you know?
Speaking of Legos - my lovely boy. Here he is excited to get a box of Lego pieces from Christkind. This year Christkind's paper was blue.
In the evening we had DH's favorite Christmas Eve meal - meat fondu. Steak, chicken and pork, plus salads, sides, and bread. I also set out carrot sticks, pickles and sliced pears. With lots of candles. We wound down with watching Home Alone and then went to bed... because... well - even if Santa isn't traditional in Austria, he does make a special detour to our home! :)
Personally, when I was growing up, my stocking was always a favorite gift, and I think the same goes for my son. I love this photo - don't you love how kids wake up and run to see if Santa has come? Santa always brings a stuffed animal, chocolate and one "big" gift, plus all those odd bits like toothbrush & paste, chapstick, flashlight, etc. That stocking comes in useful! See that Lindt chocolate bear - Gummi Bear sued and won the rights, so Lindt can't make the bear anymore but if I tell him that - he will never eat it. So, shhhh. He hardly eats candy anyway, so if it is still left by mid-January for our Snowman party, we will melt it (and all the other left-over Christmas chocolates) in the chocolate fondu pot for dessert with pound cake, bananas and strawberries!
So, Christmas continues... why rush it - my son is growing up so fast! Today... Lego marathon (because that is what Santa brought, did you guess?), left-overs, the last day of Christmas music over the radio, and candles. A peaceful, stress-free day. Wishing all my family, friends and blog readers the same.