Christmas Aromas

Today was another day filled with the sensations of the season, specifically the aroma of Christmas. All day the smell of baking gingerbread has filled our home, along with the excited voices of our children.

The kids have been looking forward to this day, the day when the baking begins. Now the biscuits are cooling and awaiting decoration, those that are left. Of course, it is hard to resist eating a few during the day.

This is a marvellous Czech tradition, though it is a lot of work for my wife. But there is so much more satisfaction to be had when something is made with love and joy. In Britain, we have become very lazy. I am not sure if anyone makes anything anymore, it is certainly a good time of year for the supermarkets.

I think the way that the British consume, and seemingly don’t grow or make things themselves anymore, is quite shocking to the Czechs, who are still a nation of producers. I have to admit that I am on the lazy side of this equation myself. But I am more than happy that my children will be brought up to make more themselves, and enjoy it. 

© Neil Hayes and neilsworldofenglish

Christmas Markets

This Sunday was spent at a traditional Christmas market in a small village near where I live in the Czech Republic. This village, called Kuks, is famous for its historical buildings, and the market was located at the bottom of the gardens that belong to this chateau. But it is more than a chateau, it also has a building which was used as a hospital, although you would have to see it to believe it. The old hospital building is a beautiful piece of architecture and is fronted by some stunning statues.

The market was a typical affair, lots of craft items to buy. As well as mulled wine to drink, and lots of food to eat. The typical market food in this country is not exactly healthy, but warming on a cold winter’s day. Hot potato pancakes, grilled sausages, freshly cooked hot pastries. You go home a little bit fatter, but very satisfied. These markets are very popular, so you must be willing to queue patiently for the choicest items. Unfortunately, patience isn’t always my finest quality.

The train ride home was a sleepy one, we were all a little chilly and tired. But it was a lovely day out with my family when we had the chance to eat, drink and soak in some history and culture. And, of course, continue to get in the Christmas spirit. 

© Neil Hayes and neilsworldofenglish

Christmas is Coming

I know, I know, it is still only November. But we have started the Christmas shopping, actually it is almost finished. Anyone jealous? There will be no Christmas-time trips to the shopping centre for us. Everyone else can keep that stress for themselves.

But we are not shopping today. We just felt like getting in the seasonal mood, we couldn’t help ourselves. It’s a cold, rainy day and we are getting in the Christmas spirit. It’s not difficult when you have a four and a six-year-old.

So we have listened to Christmas songs, read some of the kids Christmas books and now we are sitting down to watch a Christmas classic. Home Alone, one for all the family. I know there may be other movies which are considered more worthy of the term classic. But it’s time for some popcorn and laughs.

Getting in the Christmas mood means smiling more and feeling good. Being grateful for what you have and giving to others. I don’t care if it’s early, Merry Christmas everyone. 

© Neil Hayes and neilsworldofenglish