Next Weekend is the first of the four Advent Sundays leading up to Christmas. I'm not sure how important the time of Advent is in other countries, but it Sweden it is Big. After dark, gloomy and usually rainy November, we are desperate for colour and lights and anything that brings a sense of warmth, and we make the most of it; the churches as well as the tradesmen and the media.
If you've been following my blog over the past month, you may remember that Halloween/ All Saints Day with us is a rather solemn holiday almost all about graveyard decorations...
... But the very day after All Saints Day, i.e. Sunday 1 November, this was what met my eye when I entered the supermarket:
I usually try to ignore these guys at least until a week or so before Christmas, but it's not easy - they're everywhere...
Preparations continue all around. November has become a sort of pre-advent to Advent. Last week, they put up the big Christmas tree in the town square:
Nice one this year, with a lot of cones:
The lights weren't put up in the tree yet when I was there with my camera (Friday).
This week I'm going to get wrapped up in preparations myself, because I too want everything to be ready before the 1st Advent weekend. Well - the things that in my opinion should be ready by then. That does not include full Christmas decorations, but it does include the window lights and Advent stars, and the lights on the balcony, and changing curtains in the kitchen and some table cloths, and the special Advent candle holder with four candles. (We light just one of them on the first Sunday, then two, then three, four.) Personally, I like the time of Advent more than the actual Christmas. Not too fond of the extra rush in the shops, but these days I don't have too many people to buy presents for. But I like the lights, and the hymns that are only played this time of year (played in church, or at home - not as background supermarket music...), and Christmas cards, and...
At the same time, this year, Christmas will be hard, because it will be another "first" traditional family holiday to get through without my mother (who died in May). Whatever we do to try to make it as normal as possible for my dad - it won't be normal.
PS. Tomorrow (Tuesday) there will be a somewhat unusual Christmas tree on show in my Picture Book.