Tag: Christmas

January Saving Tips

As we hit the halfway point of January, many of our bank balances have been depleted and our lunchpacks for work are made up of leftover cookies as well as some leftover Christmas salad. As for New Years resolutions we have promised ourselves to be more savvy when it comes to finances. I bet many of us have also written down a NY resolution related to saving – “spend less, save more”.

To help you on the way we’ve got a list of most useful money saving tips that will serve you in the long run keeping in mind the objective to spend less and life comfortably. And, overall, spend wisely to avoid financial deprivation both in short and long term.

Leaving shopping mall

Food

“Think before you shop” should be the golden rule from now on. Do a food audit once a month carefully examining what you actually have (also, by looking at all the jars of jam and sauces you’ve saved up). Careful examination will help you to make the list of necessary items which will be helpful once shopping. Also, cutting down takeaway and trying to cook more at home may save you a great amount of money.

Shopping

As crazy as it may sound, doing some shopping in January might be a good idea. A number of stores are offering considerable discounts for the items that you might have dreamt of a long time, and it may be one of the best times to get something you’ve wanted with the great discount offered. Also, basics like soap and cleaners are usually on sale because they’re in holiday packaging. However beware of false savings – stop purchasing the things just for the sake of discount. We only encourage you to get the things you really want and need.

Entertainment

When it comes to entertainment, planning is your best friend. Planning your entertainment, including holidays, may save you a huge chunk of money. Have a look at the deal websites offering entertainment packages and holiday deals – by doing this in advance you can save up a couple of hundred euros. Cinema, theatre and a great number of entertainment centers, such as swimming pools and bowling centers normally have discount offers on specific timing and days – make sure you plan your entertainment to save a penny (or two).

Do you have any ideas on how to save money after the crazy period of spending? Share your thoughts with us – we’d be happy to hear from you!

DIY Christmas Decorations

Christmas decorations are probably the most pleasant action before Christmas; when the most beautiful celebrations of a year are coming ahead. I believe that there‘re people who decorate their houses not only with decorations which they have bought, but also create something original and festive! I have already began thinking about how to decorate my home and therefore I‘ll share some creative ideas with you. Let’s get ready? ;) 

To make this small “Christmas tree“ the only thing you have to work for is getting a huge cone (I took it home one summer from Croatia), white paint and any festive strips of any color and appearance were necessary. I sprinkled the edges of the cone with “snow“ using white paint and later on just decorated with a “garland“. It‘s very simple yet beautiful!

tree

Some more ideas on how to use cones so that it would make a festive decoration.

cones

dazzling cones

It’s not obligatory to buy a Christmas tree and it doesn’t need to necessarily be green! Do a Christmas tree yourself and use it instead of a real one or simply as a decoration on a table or anywhere else.

triangular

green

paper trees

christmas trees out of paper

Some more small present and Advent calendar ideas that you could use and surprise your beloved ones for at least a couple of days in a row before Christmas.

Advent ideas

Mini santas

One of the easiest-to-accomplish ideas: advent calendar made out of… toilet paper!

toilet paper roll

With you to have pleasant holidays which would be full, rich and entertaining. Merry Christmas and Happy New Year, ladies!

The Smell Of Christmas

Gingerbread cookie smell, fresh tangerines, baked apples and cinnamon. My Christmas always smells like that. It doesn’t mean that I cook gingerbread cookies for the whole month of December in order to have the festive mood. I know how to cheat.

http://www.flickr.com/photos/thunderchild5/

http://www.flickr.com/photos/thunderchild5/

Pleasantly smelling house is probably the quickest way to create a special festive mood. If you happen to be going down the street and you smell gingerbread cookies accompanied by the laughter of kids, you can be sure that they are having a good time while creating the festive mood in the house. To me, certain smells are an experience which is inseparable from Christmas and, since this December is way too busy for me to cook gingerbread cookies and make stuffed oranges with cloves, I decided to create olfactory Christmas experience… cheating.

Knowing that our sense of smell is a unique sense “storing” memories and creating the new ones, I decided to “grow” my festive mood throughout the December by matching unique olfactory experiences together with experiences of taste and vision. If you catch yourself questioning why would other experiences add value to the olfactory one, I would ask you whether you can imagine eating a tasty apple cake without actually smelling an apple? I don’t think so. Olfactory sense (smell) is one of our five senses, and senses are usually complementing each other in majority of situations in our lives, i.e. the pleasant feeling of eating an apple cake is usually a mixture of three senses – vision (seeing how the cake actually looks like, whether it’s appetizing or not), smell (smelling freshly baked cake and evaluating the smell) and taste (trying it).  Therefore, to me Christmas, like a cake, has to be experienced through various senses – smelling Christmas decorations and foods, seeing them and tasting them. But this time I am digging deeper into the world of odors.

For the light and pleasant smell

During the darkest and coldest days we naturally are looking for some light, therefore cozy candles can serve a great dual purpose: light and home fragrance. To be honest, I have always been slightly bit stingy and have not tried expensive fragrant candles (can students in Denmark actually afford that?), but I have recently found amazing H&M home candles to serve the same purpose for someone with the tight budget as me. Even though the range of candles that H&M offers is relative small, but they have the best orange candle that makes your room smell like fresh Christmas oranges with cloves. I swear!

If you happen to have a little bit more than tight student budget, you might consider buying Yankee candle. Danish Company called Bella Lys sells such candles online (and many more) plus they offer a month’s candle which is generally much cheaper. Another good option is visiting a store L’occitane (Copenhagen only), L’occitane showrooms sell extremely festive candles called “Winter Forest”, which smells like forest cones. If you get a Christmas candle (cinnamon, apple, orange, cone smells) I bet your festive mood will go up.

Decorations

Home sprays is another option to make your home smell fresh, pleasant and Christmas-y. Feel free to spray curtains, pillows and/or towels or basically all fabrics that you touch or come close nearby. I usually buy them online (Ebay) or when I am travelling, since, to be honest, I haven’t really found anything festive and pleasant in Denmark so far, and H&M home sprays smell somehow “fake” to my nose. The Body Shop has some fruity and vanilla home sprays but nothing mystical, and that is what I am looking for in a home spray. The best one I have tried so far was Claire Burke home spray “Applejack and Peel”. They unfortunately do not ship their products to Europe, but you can find them on Ebay. A little bit pricey, but absolutely worth the price.

If you happen to be bored on December evening and realize that it’s dark, cold and unpleasant though feel like changing it, you could consider making some home decorations - aromatic toys yourself. Take a piece of a soft material and spray a generous amount of your favorite perfume on it. Then, take another piece of material and cut two pieces of forms (e.g. oval or square would be easiest, so it would make it a small and aromatic pillow) and sew the edges together, leaving a space to put the aromatic sheet inside. When you do so, sew it all together. You can decorate your home with such aromatic toys or hold one in your closet or a bag – it would definitely make your clothes and your bag smell pleasantly!

My Christmas, obviously, start with small aromatic joys. Pleasantly smelling house, laughter and warmth brings us to celebrate the best celebration ever. Even though I am not religious, but Christmas to me means a big fat hygge –  being together with my beloved ones and enjoying the moment. To me Christmas is like a fairy-tale where I live in. A fairy-tale, which smells like caramelized apples, sold in Strøget. Or sweet almonds, packaged in dazzling paper. Or small ginger cookies. Or simply the warmth of my beloved ones, when I hug them.

Danish Christmas: Traditions & More

Eating white rice pudding and desperately searching for a full almond inside, enjoying sweetened caramelized potatoes, and dancing and singing around the Christmas tree might seem absolutely normal amongst Danes. Only Danes.

http://www.flickr.com/photos/oufoufsworld/

http://www.flickr.com/photos/oufoufsworld/

Denmark, the country described as a mixture of Lego bricks, beer and bacon, is, after all, a charming country with slightly quirky Christmas traditions. Christmas in Denmark is based on relatively old and well-preserved traditions that have never really changed. It’s still rough, and still very Viking-like. While other parts of the world might be looking for their lost “roots” of Christmas traditions, Denmark is one of the few countries celebrating Christmas almost like their ancestors did.

 Fights for an almond

Reality in Denmark is hard: everyone stands out for themselves. Same rules apply during Christmas, where you eat much ‘Risalamande’, i.e. white, weird looking rice dish with small pieces of almonds. Your goal is to fight for a single full almond, which is put in there. If you find the almond, you’ll win a small prize, such as a chocolate heart or a marzipan pig (as if Danes didn’t have enough pork…).

http://www.flickr.com/photos/greenmambagreenmamba/

http://www.flickr.com/photos/greenmambagreenmamba/

Besides, they leave a portion of ‘Risalamande’ for the ‘Julenisse’ (read further). As if imaginary elves would starve (?).

 Nisse The Elf

During the years I’ve lived in Denmark, I’ve realized that Danes believe in humanoid mythical creatures from Scandinavian folklore, called ‘nisser’. Danes believe that those little creatures protect them from misfortune, and therefore, they decorate their homes with little elf-figures during Christmas time.

http://www.flickr.com/photos/sycamoremoonstudios/

http://www.flickr.com/photos/sycamoremoonstudios/

Some Danes even get really obsessed about collecting small Nisse-figurines and small ceramic houses and, right before Christmas, they decorate the biggest table with more or less a whole-plegged Nisse-society, called ‘Nisseby’ (city of Nisser).

Christmas cookies

Baking and decorating traditional gingerbread cookies is another old-fashioned tradition. The dough for the cookies is usually made some weeks beforehand. Sometimes, families will put Christmas cookies on the tree (as if bought decorations would not be enough), and afterwards destroy and consume them quickly.

http://www.flickr.com/photos/starshaped/

http://www.flickr.com/photos/starshaped/

The holy Christmas tree

In Denmark, Christmas trees mean everything. Therefore, it should be treated in a very special way. It’s usually decorated with the star on top (not an angel, like everywhere else) and, on Christmas Eve, both adults and children will hold each other’s hands and dance around the Christmas tree with no special intention, singing happy songs.

http://www.flickr.com/photos/emma_maria/

http://www.flickr.com/photos/emma_maria/

Talking to animals

In the old days, people believed that they should treat animals in a special way during Christmas Eve: Talk to them, give them nice food, and pet them. Today, Danes do the same. They take walks in the gardens, where they talk and pet their furry friends, expecting that animals are happy about their lives and that they don’t gossip about their landlords.

http://www.flickr.com/photos/starshaped/

http://www.flickr.com/photos/starshaped/

Christmas last for about six months

For most people (except Danes), Christmas itself is a family event. But in addition to that, Danes enjoy having as many Christmas dinners, so-called ‘Julefrokoster’, with friends, workmates and other people.

http://www.flickr.com/photos/chatiryworld/

http://www.flickr.com/photos/chatiryworld/

Knowing that Christmas dinners start from around mid-October and might continue up to the beginning of February, it might seem that Danes value Christmas more than anyone.

Therefore, if you happen to forget about the 23th or 24th – the two most important dinners of all Christmas dinners – you shouldn’t be too sad about it. You’ll still have about 10-15 more options to attend various Christmas lunches, even though Christmas might’ve passed.

  Ho ho ho!