As I mentioned in last week’s Monday monologue: after six years of being nervous, busy and dead tired around Christmas, this year I am learning to like this part of the year again.
One part of it is having enough time to think about Christmases long gone.
About preparing the special dinner together with my mum, big sister and grandma. About going to the church with my grandpa early to ring the bells. Walking around the village with other children and singing Christmas carols to the elderly people. Yes, some traditions are definitely only memories now… But some of them I try to keep going: for example to place the gifts under the tree secretly. Everything is there when the dinner starts, but nobody sees who placed them there.
I used to come up with a different decoration and gift-wrapping every year. Sometimes I kept it natural: I used plain paper, dryed oranges and whole pieces of cinnamon. Another time it was sparkles and stars everywhere to make it fancy and shiny. Than as I got busier, the preparations got more and more shallow. Last year I went shopping 24th of December, and used ready-made gift bags from the supermarket.
So I decided that this year had to be different.
I decided to return to the roots. Something, what brings us closer if the family (a.k.a the husband) decides to join, and what makes us feel at home easier in our new apartment in the new country. Also, I was (and still am) quiete overwhelmed by the special vibe of Amsterdam. (Not talking about weed, and frankly, starting to feel quiete frustrated that it’s the first thing coming to the mind of 99% of people when talking about the Dutch capital.) I love to cycle around on my new turquoise companion, when I need to clear my head or just want to enjoy being outside (even if it rains or the wind is stronger). And while doing so, I admire the fabled little houses all around. They may seem a bit too much alike at first glance, but actually there is quiete a diversity. And I decided to include these special and well recognisable silhouettes of our new city in our wintertime window decoration, too.
How did I do it?
I used the following material and tools:
- images of Dutch houses
(I chose this one from Shutterstock.com),
- mat black paper
(I bought it at Vlieger – Amsterdam’s oldest shop specializing in selling paper. Imagine two floors full of different kinds – even handmade! Worth a visit if you like arts and crafts.),
- semi-transparent white paper,
- silver cardboard paper,
- gel pen (light colour, I used gold),
- snowflake-shaped punch,
- scissors (small and bigger),
- paper glue,
- adhesive squares.
First I printed out the silhouettes of the houses and cut them out. Yes, the windows, too!
I placed the patterns on the black paper, and draw the shapes with the gel pen. While cutting out, I was alternating between the smaller and bigger scissors.
I glued the black shapes on the white semi-transparent paper, and cut the shapes again. This time I didn’t cut the windows.
I attached the houses to the window using adhesive squares.
I punched out snowflakes from the silver paper, and attached them to the upper part of the window.
It’s not a typical Christmas window decoration. But it’s very personal. Not only because of the motives, and especially for the time we spent together (even our friend who was visiting joined us), but there are little things on the windowsill – memories from special places we visited during the last years, and a box which reminds me of two friends who found it for me in an antiquity shop and are living far away from me now.
And a very important thing for me: I don’t have to remove it after the holidays.