OK, now that Kero's had his turn at posting about the holidays, it's my turn! ;)
On December 20th we kicked things off by making that the first night to have the candles lit for a while. We planned to light the two scented ones we had, but decided we'd also light the plain white one we'd found on the windowsill when we moved in. It didn't look like it had been used, and I did purify it "just in case" because of the fact it was sort of being used for a ritual; the candles, after all, were a symbol of the sun now beginning to strengthen, and warmth and light returning to the Earth. Anyway, here are all three candles lit:
The bits of wax from the edges of the wider ones; which didn't end up melted away as the candles burned, is now in small pieces with the candle making stuff I have, and I plan to melt it down to use to make new candles at some point.
We'd also planned on having roast chestnuts, mince pies and cocoa to kick things off, but we didn't get to the roast chestnuts and mince pies that first evening; we were too full from dinner, and too tired by the time we weren't. LOL!
Anyway, the following morning we had our first present; in my case this was some new cookie cutters and a tub containing some craft supplies (pipecleaners, pom-poms and such) from Kelly, and some glitters and glitter glues from Kero.
Then we made cookies!
First we made some "cinnamon sun cookies"... Cinnamon cookies cut withh a cookie cutter I have that sort of resembles a sun shape.
Then we made some "chocolate walnut trees and bells"... Which are chocolate cookies containing chocolate chips and chopped walnuts, cut in the shapes of bells and trees using a couple of my new cookie cutters; a bell and a tree, as you probably figured out.
Then we made "ginger choc stars and snowflakes"... Ginger cookies with white chocolate chips in them, cut in the shapes of stars and snowflakes (again with a couple of my new cutters... Though I did already have at least one star shape).
We decided to decorate the ginger choc stars and snowflakes; we spread butter icing on them, then sprinkled sugar sprinkles in various shapes all over them. I put a few of them on my penguin plate so you can see them decorated.
We also made some sweet mince pies.
I used my Mam's mince pie recipe, but I made the pastry myself.
I still had a couple left from the last batch, but while I was baking... *Shrugs*... Well, you know; I figured I might as well! ;)
We ate some cookies and mince pies that day, but we still didn't get to the roast chestnuts.
Just after sunset it was time for me to do my planned ritual.
So, I took up my bell and the special candle I'd brought for doing it...
...And went around the house with the candle in one hand and the bell in the other, holding the candle up and ringing my bell while repeating a single phrase:
"Be gone all those who wish us harm; welcome those who don't!"
And when I was done I placed the candle in the kitchen window (which is near the door) and made sure its twin was lit in the living room window (which, because of the positioning, is "sort of" the other side of the door). I left both candles on all night to see off any unwelcome houseguests, and to serve as a welcoming light for those who we would welcome. Plus, as it was the night of the 21st, that's a good night to leave the candles lit all night anyway (and the fact they're battery candles - which I thought was safer since I would be walking around with one of them - meant that there was no fire danger while I went to bed and left them alight).
And that's it for the start of our celebrations; I'll tell you more tomorrow.