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Countdown to Christmas 2016 - Week 3 - Ukraine

Christmas caroling in Ukraine


Even from a very early age, I have always been fascinated with words and languages.  When I was in college, I took several languages, including Russian.  Russian was challenging, especially trying to learn the Cyrillic alphabet and wrap my tongue around and pronouncing words with a string of strangely placed consonants.  But what made the class VERY special was our instructor.  I don’t remember her last name but her first was Natasha and she was from Ukraine, then a part of the Soviet Union.  She was very kind and very understanding with a great sense of humor.  We all loved to listen to her stories of growing up and the family traditions. She and her family had a very hard life but the countryside itself sounded enchanting.  And I’m sure we learned to speak Russian with a Ukrainian accent!  So I have always had a fascination with Ukraine (and am so sad about what is happening there right now).  So, Natasha, wherever you might be right now, you inspired this edition of the Countdown to Christmas.

Countdown to Christmas 2016 - Week 2 - Italy

Carved life size presepe, Santa Maria d'Aracoeli Presepe Christmas Day Rome, 2012; photo by Margot Balboni


Traditionally, Christmas in Italy is celebrated over several weeks, from December 6th, St. Nicholas Day, until January 6, the Feast of the Epiphany.  On St. Nicholas Day, children write letters to St Nicholas asking for gifts and they hang up either a sock or put a plate on the table on the eve of Nicholas Day’s.  If the children have been good throughout the last year, they will get some fruits, nuts and sweets from St. Nicholas while the naughty ones will also get a sweet, but one looking like lump of coal. The main gift giving day is January 6 - the day on which the Wise Men brought their gifts to the Christ Child.

Countdown to Christmas 2016 - Week 1 - Norway

Christmas in Trondheim, Norway; photo by PLANET LEW


This past weekend started the fifth annual “Countdown to Christmas 2016” collection hosted each year by Julie and Blu of Blue Morning Expressions.  It is a way for handmade artisan and vintage sellers to share three of their items each week, each one perfect for Christmas gift giving.  I will pick my favorite item each week and share them here in this blog.  

Also, I plan on sharing a bit about how different countries around the world celebrate Christmas.  This week, Norway is highlighted:

Mother's Day Countdown - Handmade and Vintage Gifts, Week 9



It is with a somewhat heavy heart that I have to say that the Mother’s Day Countdown 2016 has come to a close.  The weekend of week 9 has come and gone and Mother’s Day is this Sunday, May 8.  If you haven't done your shopping, there is still a bit of time, especially if you use expedited shipping or Mom is willing to wait for her perfect gift.  A fabulous place to shop is at Julie and Blu's Mother’s Day Countdown collection of handmade and vintage items any Mother will love to receive and cherish for years to come.  This week, 57 wondrous items were shared.  The items included: jewelry of many different styles, vintage postcards, business card holders, party items, crochet, sewing, polymer clay art, lampwork and more - so many different items and techniques.  Shop now!


Mother's Day Countdown - Handmade and Vintage Gifts, Week 8



And we are inching ever more closely to the end of the Mother's Day Countdown 2016!  Inching???  Who am I kidding?  It is blowing by at rocket speed!  Since Mother’s Day will be here before you know it, NOW is the time to start your shopping and gift purchasing!  Browse the Countdown collection, hosted by Julie and Blu of BlueMorningExpressions on their BluPrint blog, and visit the shops of the artists who participated who have shops filled with amazing beauties.  Many creations you will see are one of a kind and definitely handmade from the heart.  Buy HANDMADE this year!  There is something in the beautiful Mother's Day Countdown collection for even the pickiest of Moms!   

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