Holiday Cards

Happy Holidays!

This year I am sending over 75 holiday cards to family, friends, and colleges. I love holiday cards. I love getting them, and making them. What I don’t love is sending them (or paying for it anyway :). This year since I have a brand new address and wasn’t organized enough to get my cards ready early I sent out an email with a change of address the last week of November to make sure any cards coming my way made it here. This was a great because I got some fun emails with updates from some people but I also got a lot of emails saying that people were looking forward to my holiday card and what ornament I would make this year.

As a kid every year we got a holiday card and Christmas ornament from one of my mom’s old friends. I loved seeing what they made each year. Since the end of college I have been sending a picture card with a small handmade ornament every year. I had been contemplating sending my picture card via email this year, thinking that I would save money on postage and making it easier. I definitely hadn’t planned out an ornament planned. Last year (2011) I made small wreaths out of braided ribbon I bought on sale after the Christmas before. I started to make the ornaments in early November so by December when I made my card I was all done. So what could I make in less than a week.

I decided to go with something very Swedish…a woven heart. Sticking with the “Swedish” theme I bought some blue and yellow paper and got started. Note: I made these quite small to fit in an envelope but you can make them basically any size that you can get a sheet of paper folded in half.

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1st, make a pattern where the height of the heart is about 1.25+% the width and rounded at the top

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2nd, fold colored paper in half,  cut along fold, fold in half again.

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3rd, cut out half hearts using pattern–width of the pattern is the most important dimension to cut correctly. Save any extra strips of paper from the ends of the sheets for handles.

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4th, plan and cut 3 even strips out of the heart, starting at the folded edge. The height of the cut should be the same as the width of the piece. (there are many more complicated patterns with wider and skinnier strips but with ones this small a simple pattern is best)

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5th, weave the strips in and out of each other. Remember there is no right or wrong all the ways of weaving will be the same.

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6th, add a handle from the strips left over after cutting the hearts or cut new thin strips for handles.

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DONE!!!

Then I made a quick picture card, one picture from last Christmas in Chicago and another from this Christmas in Denmark, both at Christmas markets. Saying: same Lisa, same Christmas market tradition, different country

Finally I saw a great idea for holiday cards that were a year in review on a few blogs and pinterest and decided to make a sticker to put on the back of the photos with my 2012 in review:

2012-year in review copy

After a fight with the printer to print everyone’s addresses and return address labels, and the year in review labels for the back of the pictures. 4 hrs and remaking the files 3 different ways using the label making software, reinstalling the printers 3 times, and a college accidentally printing on one of my label sheets when the printer choose to use my manual feed paper instead of the normal drawer, I stuffed all the cards, put postage on them, and shipped them off.

Happy Holidays!

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Christmas Concert (yes that is not Holiday)

One of my favorite holiday tradition that I had in Chicago was that my 2 best friends and I would got see Chanticleer (an all male acapella group) for their holiday concert in early December. This year I got to go to my uncle’s men’s choir concert for the holidays. My favorite thing about all male singing groups is the lack of squeaky female voices. After a fabulous concert in an old church that featured some really amazing solos we went to a local farm house for a great dinner. The whole night was a huge success.

At the dinner I got to talking with the couple across from me and we discussed the political correctness of holiday parties. Recently in Sweden there was a discussion in the media about the poltical correctness of some natinoal holiday traditions that are now considered offensive to people of other religious or ethnic backgrounds. For a long time Sweden was a very homogenous society but in recent years the number and veriety of immigrants have increased making some of the older traditions be seen in a new light. Now I think some of these political corectness questions are a little silly since the context of the references came about in a time period where mulitculturism wasn’t a problem but we have similar issues in the US about the holiday season. While our government is supposed to be separate from religion some religious culuture permiates all level of society. This becomes even more evident at the holiday time with the fight about wishing people “Merry Christmas” and how to celebrate holidays at schools, in public settings, at work, in the government, and on TV.

Now I have a few friends (most Jewish) who are highly offended if someone wishes them “Merry Christmas” at a store or in a public place. I feel this is kinda silly. I do send out holiday cards each year, not Christmas cards. I always say “Happy Holidays” on my cards because a few of the people I send cards to are Jewish or simply don’t celebrate Christmas. However as a non-christian who celebrates Christmas and loves the holiday I don’t really understand being offended by any good wishes during this time. I feel like Christmas is a cultural phenomena in the US and thus wishing someone a Merry Christmas is the same as wishing them Happy Holidays or Happy New Year.

so Merry Christmas, Happy Holidays, and Happy New Year to you all!

Tivioli! and the rain…

Every year while living in Chicago, I would go to the the Christkindlmarket with my best friends. We would show up early in the morning as soon as the market opened (11am) and browse the stalls. After getting cold enough we would have a glass of Glühwein and keep shopping. Around 1pm or so as the market got busy we would have finished and would get a bratwurst with sauerkraut to go.

When I got to Sweden just a few weeks ago, I was discussing the holiday schedule with my aunt and uncle. I told them about an article I had read in one of those “plane magazines” on the 5 best Christmas markets in Europe. Number 1 was in Prague (where I totally want to visit) but 3 or 4 was Tivoli in Denmark! So close…my aunt couldn’t remember how long it had been since she had been to Tivoli but years was the answer. We started to looking at calendars (3 adults at the kitchen table with their smart phones ;). Finally we found one of the only days we could go….

I had 3 goals: (1) have fun, (2) find some fun holiday decorations or Christmas presents, (3) get a picture for my holiday card!

So the day was finally here and it was rainy and cold (traditional Skånes winter I am told). We decided to go for it and took the train over the bridge to Denmark to avoid driving and parking in the city.

entering a "winter wonderland"

entering a “winter wonderland”

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