December is here! This month is connected to Christmas. By now all shops have decorated their vitrines and the municipalities the streets. Last weekend we even had our Christkindlimarkt (the Christmas market) in our town!
In our home we follow a mixture of Greek and Swiss customs. The past two weeks were the time for me to prepare for our house for Christmas. This year we have kittens in our house, so decorations have to stay minimum.
The first thing I decided to make is an Adventskranz or Advents wreath. It is a common custom of central Europe to have four candles that you light one after the other one each of the four Sundays before Christmas. The first one is usually during the last days of November or early December and the last one of course the closest possible to Christmas. This year they are all in December, (2nd, 9th, 16th and 23rd of the month).
The most important ingredient of an Adventskranz is the candles. I found four really nice candles on offer during November (dark red with small golden stars around), so I had that ones already. In addition, we had collected a few fir branches during a Sunday walk in the woods, so I decided to use them too, as well as some of the few small Christmas decorations we have collected during the years. The whole thing was quite simple to make, but the result was satisfying for us!
I was left with several more fir branches, so I decided to make a Christmas wreath. As before, I used materials that we had already at home: wire, pipe-cleaners, small ornaments.
I started by making a small circle with the wire we use for gardening.
I then choose one of my longest branches and by using red pipe-cleaners I secured it in place together with the wire. This was the base of my wreath. Then with the help of my husband, we were releasing parts of the pipe-cleaners, so as to secure smaller branches besides the base, so as to give to the wreath a bit of more volume. In the end we hanged the small decorations using a bit of thinner wire.
I had a couple of more branches left and was trying to think of something different to make, but in the meanwhile Aria decided she likes them a lot and claimed them for herself. Oh well, we can all have fun from a few fir branches!
Besides decorations, Christmas is not the same without the traditional cookies. With the help of my mother in law, last weekend was dedicated to our favourite Swiss Christmas cookies. In Switzerland there are countless types of Christmas cookies. We made eight different types of Christmas Guetzli:
- Mailänderli: I think one of the most typical Christmas cookies here
- Schwabenbrötli: A variation of Mailänderli with almond
- Rumringli: Cookies with a bit of rum
- Kokosmakronli: Macaroon with coconut flakes
- Zimtsterne: Definitely one of the most typical Christmas cookies both in Austria and in Switzerland
- Pfeffernüsse: The most typical Christmas cookies in the Netherlands (there they are called peppernoten) and quite widespread in central Europe too. They have a little bit of white pepper inside, thus called peppernuts
- Brunsli: Another of the most typical Christmas cookies in Switzerland
- Chräbeli: Cookies with anise. They are quite time-consuming as they need to dry for 24-48 hours before being baked
Besides these, we also made two types of chocolaty drops: cornflakes with chocolate and chocolate almonds. These are easy, as they do not need baking. Just melting the chocolate and mixing it with the cornflakes or the pieces of almonds.
So only the Greek touch was missing! I added it last week, when I made my absolutely favourite Christmas sweets: Melomakarona. In my previous post you can find my own recipe for these typical Greek Guetzli.
So now we are totally ready for Christmas! Hopefully the sweets will last till the end of the month. In any case, the branches were destroyed by Aria within a week. Now she has to find a new game!