Himmeli—Finland’s Geometric Straw Ornaments

Cultures from around the world use wheat, hay, or straw as an integral part of their Christmas decorations. For some, bushels of wheat are brought into the house or placed under the tablecloth to represents hope for a good harvest in the coming year. For others, straw is spread as a symbol of the straw that lined the manger of Christ at His birth. In Finland, straw takes on a much more structured form.

On the Fifth Day of Imported Christmas, we made a himmeli, using straw and thread to form geometric shapes that have given our house a beautiful Nordic feel this season.

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Advent Wreath—Germany’s Candlelit Countdown

Advent countdowns come in all shapes and sizes, from paper chains and wall hangings to boxes of chocolate or 12 pairs of socks. Every year, we visit World Market to see what exciting Advent calendars they have in stock, buy far too many of them, and spend each of the 12-24 nights before Christmas eating candy, cookies, jams, and marzipan.

This year, Gordon decided to add a less delicious but much more meaningful Advent countdown to the mix. On the Fourth Day of Imported Christmas, we are celebrating with an Advent wreath.

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Chicken Bones—New Brunswick’s Crunchy Christmas Treat

Last weekend, we told my friend’s six children that we were giving them chicken bones for Christmas. They were horrified. Granted, this wasn’t the first time that week we’d given them something weird in the name of international holiday traditions, so they were suspicious.* If you told a group of children in New Brunswick the same thing, I imagine they’d be delighted. So for the Third Day of Imported Christmas, we’re eating Chicken Bones.

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