Sunday, December 9, 2018

Baltic Christmas Day 9 - a crafty snow day

It’s Day 9 here on 24 Days of a Baltic Christmas, and we are tucked away indoors with blankets and hot chocolate, waiting to see what will happen with the first winter storm this season. Will we get some snow out of the deal, or will it just be ice, hazardous roads and cabin fever?

There are bound to be more than a few of these rainy/snowy/sleeting/icy days this season (or for you Aussies, high heat index days!), when you’ve had to cancel plans and are stuck indoors. Take advantage of the unplanned day off, by decorating your home with a few Baltic-inspired crafts; it’ll lift your spirits, keep the kids from going stir crazy, and leave you in a festive mood instead of a grumpy funk.

Sniega māte, sniega māte,
Purin' savus spilveniņus,
Lai nāk sniegi virs zemites,
Ka bāliņi mežā brauc.

One of the simplest crafts is cutting snowflakes to place in the windows or to hang in the Christmas tree. The boys like cutting randomly, then unfolding to see what surprise they’ve created. I enjoy taking a more deliberate approach – you’ll find dozens of designs to help you create your snowy masterpiece here. Or skip the paper in lieu of feathers, for these whimsical snowballs that won’t melt the whole month.

The auseklis symbol is found throughout Latvian culture, and symbolizes the victory of light over darkness; it is a symbol of hope. These days you’ll find ausekļi everywhere, from clothing to home goods – and you definitely need some to adorn your home this Christmas. One way is to make German stars, also known as Moravian or Froebel stars; follow this link for a tutorial. If you need something a little easier, try this one – made from toilet paper rolls. 

Mēnesitis nakti brauca,
Zvaigžņu deķis mugurā;
Rīta zvaigzne, vakaraja,
Tie Mēneša kumeliņi.

My boys like collecting sticks. We’ve made a variety of crafts with them, including stick Christmas trees and star ornaments. There is also no shortage of paper star crafts, some requiring more in terms of materials/preparation while others can be made spur of the moment – like these paper Christmas stars.

Puzuri are another fun craft with deep Baltic roots. Use whatever you have on hand: natural straw, plastic straws, pasta, paper tubes… You can find our puzuris post (one of the top 24 Days of a Baltic Christmas posts!) here: PUZURIS - an enchanting little decoration

Priede, priede, egle, egle,
Sen tu mani kaitināji:
Vaj bij ziema, vaj vasara,
Zaļi svārki mugurā.

The storybook image of Baltic forests covered in snow... Although the pines that grow in the US are different, we still love making pine cone crafts, such as little elves, wreaths and birdfeeders. When the boys were younger I would set them down with pinecones and paint, and then string their creations up as ornaments to give as presents.

We Balts have strong ties to the natural world, and this is easily reflected in our holiday decorations. We bring the outdoors in, with Christmas trees and Advent wreaths, garlands and winter berries. Our ornaments are made of straw and pinecones, wood and acorns. Whether it is drying orange slices or freezing ice mandalas, we blend the old with the new, the outdoor with the indoor.

May you find holiday cheer wherever you may be, and please join us tomorrow as writer Ērika Veidis reflects on a Latvian Christmas...  

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