The importance of Christmas decorations and my slight obsession with collections

When it comes to any sort of event or holiday throughout the year, I am definitely a follower of tradition and how “everything should be like it always has been”. I think probably more so because I am an expat and it maybe makes me feel a bit more connected to home? It is after all mainly the Scandinavian traditions I swear by, and I couldn’t really care less for things like Guy Fawkes or Halloween.

Never is this traditionalism more visible than when it comes to Christmas! And this is something that Pete has just learnt to accept. I don’t think he is actually that bothered, he is just happy with the variety of food and homebaked goods that are available during December, and relishing in the fact that he doesnt have to do much because I wont trust him to do it right. Possibly my bad. (He does have to lift the boxes though)

So this weekend I decorated for Christmas, something I always try to do for the 1st of Advent. Now I say I am a big lover of christmas, but when it comes to decorations, I personally dont think I go all out crazy. I never have any glitter or tinsel, and I hardly buy any new Christmas decorations if I don’t need them, or really, really like them.

Instead, I have a few couple of pieces that I bring out every year to their proper place, and then all is as should be! So what are those things then?

Well, first of all – no December is complete without one of these in the window. I think they are becoming more popular in the UK now, but if you go to Sweden or Norway this time of year, I can guarantee you that you will not see a house without at least one of these in the window to brighten up the dark. A lot of places also have big stars hanging in the window too, unfortunately I don’t 😦

tomtar 2
Next up, my Santa family. These are made by a potter in Gothenburg, and he brings out a new addition to the family every year. Ever since I can remember I have received one of these for Christmas, first from my grandmother, and then later from either my parents, or my brother. All of my siblings and I now have a large santa family like this that I carefully unpack every year. You can actually see the difference in the older ones and the newer ones, the older are definitely a bit tattier, but I think it’s part of the charm.

tomtar 1
Also I have a suspicion that this collection could be worth quite a lot of money if sold to the right collector. Not that I am planning on selling mine anytime soon though!

Speaking of collections, since about 1998 (with a couple of years missing) my mum who likes painting porcelain has painted a little bell for each of us with “Happy Christmas” and the year on the back. I wish I had somewhere I could hang these to display them properly, but for now, they get placed in the bookshelf. In 2011 my bell didn’t survive the plane journey home and being stuffed in a suitcase and my mum may or may not have got a panicked phone call asking her to make me a replacement. Since then anything breakable travels in the hand luggage!

My mum has also gifted me with some handpainted mugs, plates and bowls that get taken out in December. This is something that I have come to appreciate more and more as I got older!

These two Swedish Santas have also kept me company since about 1987 or thereabouts – they are a bit fugly, but I like them!
Lucky you also got a sneaky look at a baby photo of the husband. He will love me for that! Good thing he doesn’t read the blog!

Finally, you know it’s Christmas when the Christmas mugs are out! Especially the one with the beer-drinking santa, which has caused a couple of big arguments between me and my sister throughout the years as to whom it actually belonged to. I won in the end, because I was right! My sister got grumpy and decided if she couldn’t have the one she wanted, she didnt want the one that was actually hers (the one with santas wife making rice pudding in the background) so I got to keep that too! #winning!

Oh, and let’s not talk about how I collect Moomin mugs, including the limited edition Christmas ones, and that one time my sister accidentally managed to smash my favourite one into pieces. (she was very apologetic! and I really can’t be mad at her because it was an accident.) Yeah, the one that you can only get hold of these days if you are willing to pay around £95 for it on ebay as it turns out. I may have cried myself to sleep that night, clutching the remnants of Moomin shards. Pete thinks I am crazy by the way! And I probably am, but if you happen to have the Moomin christmas edition mug from 2009 laying about in your house and you don’t really like it that much, you could make me very, VERY happy! Just sayin.

Might seem silly to some, but these are definitely things that are important to me – I guess they help me remember some of the feelings I had when I was younger and these things were brought out. (also, I seem to really like collections, but that is another story) And I genuinely sometimes worry that there will be a fire in the flat and I wont be able to rescue my box of Christmas stuff! I know, I am a bit sad…

Now, the last thing I am missing is a proper Christmas tree that I can decorate to my hearts content every year, but there is a limit to how much space I have in the flat, so for now, we are tree-less. One day though, one day!!

So what about you? Do you have any special items that comes out but once a year, or do you think I am a bit weird and you won’t be back to read my blog?

Did I really write over 1000 words on Christmas decorations? OH YES I DID!

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17 Responses to The importance of Christmas decorations and my slight obsession with collections

  1. bevchen says:

    Germans have those candle thingies from your first picture too. We don’t have one though – my boyfriend wouldn’t care if we didn’t bother decorating the flat for Christmas (which is why I do it!).
    Christmas traditions were always a bit weird in my house because my parents have been divorced since I was 5 so we alternated Christmases between them, then after my step mum died my dad didn’t really do Christmas for a few years. Also, my dad and stepdad were both in the army so every few years we lived somewhere different, which meant the Christmas decorations never really had their place… it was just wherever they would fit in the house we were in at the time!


    • Yeah I guess it depends on every family. I have only ever lived in one place and spent all my christmases there, where each item had their designated place during christmas (not quite as regimented but you get the picture) Sometimes I wish I was a bit more relaxed about the whole thing to be honest, like, who cares if you havent got the decorations up before halfway through December? it would be great if I didn’t, because then I wouldn’t run about at the end of November stressing about having it all tidy and ready for “when it’s supposed to be” lol – at least I recognize my madness!

      And those candles are lovely aren’t they? I like that I am seeing more and more of them in the UK now


  2. I love your santa family and the candles! Every year we always made another ornament for the tree each so at home it’s really higgledy-piggledy and some of them are really ugly but it’s great! x


    • Yeah it’s not all about looking good, sometimes it’s more about the bits and pieces themselves. My mum used to have a row of dorull nisser (that is santa’s made out of an empty loo roll, with a ball of paper rolled up as the head and then some felt glued on as a hat) that we all made in school, which were more or less ugly as hell, but she liked them. I dont think they have survived though..


  3. Kerri says:

    That’s definitely a santa mug win there!
    We don’t really have anything special for Christmas, our families were never like that and never big on family traditions. Last Christmas was our first by ourselves and we had to buy the tree and our decorations for the first time. We only had a little tree and decorated that, the rest of the flat was bare.

    When we go home, I decorate the house and it’s the same tree and decorations every year… it’s actually kind of boring. Maybe we’ll decorate a bit more this year… eventually, we don’t do it until about the 23rd!


    • same thing every yea? that is not boring, that is called TRADITION! lol

      I was dreading it but I actually found it really nice to be able to start having christmas just me and Pete and make it our own 🙂


  4. kristen says:

    i love your love of traditions and collections. i miss all of my traditions, its so hard to make it similar here what with being on the other side of the world. no one wants to have a bbq with me if it’s cold and snowy, no one wants to play horrible backyard cricket and there is no beach nearby. sigh.


    • yeah I can imagine it makes it harder moving from having christmas in the summer to having it in the winter. That does make it a bit trickier to keep the same traditions going I guess. I am lucky in that it’s fairly similar climate wise in Aberdeen, I just with we got some decent snow instead of just.. slush


  5. Haha the thought of you crying in bed clutching the remnants of your mug has tickled me somewhat.


  6. Same here in Iceland, those candles are in all of the windows and I love them! Many windows also have a special Christmas star hanging in them, the combination of both is really beautiful.


  7. These are so cute – those hand painted bells are so much cuter than my ikea bells!


  8. Silje says:

    Oh how gorgeous! Those candles in the window are very sentimental to me, hasn’t been a Norwegian Christmas for years. Funny you mentioning your Moomin cup breaking, I accidentally dropped my beloved mug last week. It was such a cute one of Mummitroll and Snorkfroeken in love. Your decorations look so beautiful!
    Fauna Lou


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