Monday, January 10, 2011

Snow in Paris~ Missing Paris Day

Friends recently returned from Paris 
with a gazillion photos of our 15th arrondissement neighborhood
swathed in a blanket of snow.  While I do wish I could have enjoyed the winter wonderland treat for the eyes, I do not enjoy winter's cold in Europe. The cold there seems to bite into my bones harder and refuses to let go more slowly. And while our apartment has three fireplaces, not one of them can be used any longer (for anything other than their own aesthetic beauty and hiding presents). 

This weekend, in the comfort of central heating, I took down my Christmas tree decorations.  


Never as much fun as when they go up
with the promise and excitement of Christmas and New Years still awaiting.


Every year when Christmas is over and all the holiday decorations go on sale,
I buy a little lovely for next year as a small gift to myself.
(This year was a chandelier ornament to symbolize light.)


When I travel, I like to pick up an ornament that reminds me of the place I've just been.
This one came from Oslo when I visited family at Christmas there a few years ago.


Norway has some of the most beautiful (and interesting) Christmas traditions I've ever seen.
Besides eating Lutefisk and reindeer for the holiday (!), they also hold hands, form a circle, and dance and sing around the Christmas tree! I love that! 

 But THE most spectacular tradition in Norway that I find astonishingly gorgeous: every Christmas Eve at dusk (between 3-4pm in that part of the world in winter), everyone meets at the church and family graveyard where they light candles and place them at their beloved's gravesite. The churchbells ring promptly at 4:00 and there is nothing like the sight of a graveyard glowing in candlelight to the sweet chiming of church bells. 
Truly, one of the loveliest sights I've ever witnessed.

This year we spent part of our Holiday with extended family in the Pacific NW.


Sharing good will, laughter and cheer (and Pistachio Rum Cake with chocolate ganache)
with family members for the first time was a delightful treat.


May the angels shine upon us all for another year
and not just our families but our extended families, our neighborhoods and arrondissements,
our friends and no longer friends.

"An angel can illuminate the thought and mind of man by strengthening the power of vision." ~St. Thomas Aquinas






(Photographs copyright: Kirsten Steen)

3 comments:

Relyn said...

I loved reading about Christmas in Norway. The singing and dancing around the tree sounds wonderful and somehow reminded me of all the Whos down in Whoville. I also love the idea of remembering and celebrating your ancestors on such a wonderful night.

DolceDreams said...

I agree, we have so many "comforts" here that are taken for granted...like heat!
Have a great weekend,
Nathalie

A Thousand Clapping Hands said...

Dear Kirsten,
I hope that you are warm and happy. I thank you so very much for visiting my new blog and leaving me such a kind comment. If you only knew how I fret over my writing. I work myself into a frenzy of insecurity.
I will post a new (although quite old already...most are about 23 years old) piece in a few weeks...nearing Valentine's Day.
Much love to you -
Catherine