Yesterday was the first Sunday of advent. The tradition of advent calenders is well known, although they usually begin on the 1st December. My sweet mother-in-law has the last few years sent us an “adventpakke” with gifts to open on each Sunday in advent. It arrived on Thursday, our first parcel to arrive since we got here and I was almost too excited to wait until Rasmus was home to open it!

They are now sitting in our main room, waiting for the right Sunday to be opened…

Rasmus and I also decided to give each other small gifts each Sunday in advent. The first year we met, he actually gave me adventpakke for all 24 days (I wasn’t the only one he gave them too…) but with the move and being an old married couple already, that’s just a bit too much effort this year. So every Sunday it is.

I made him some spiced nuts. He loves snacking on nuts so I found a recipe from Ina Garten, adapted it a little to what we had in the cupboard and made them on Saturday afternoon. They’re roasted with a mixture of maple syrup, brown sugar, orange juice, salt and smoked paprika and are really really easy to make.

Yesterday we also visited the annual International Bazaar, where over 50 countries represented in this little country sell their very best food, drinks and crafts. It was so much fun! We started with Pakistani food, Luxembourgish sparkling wine, moved onto Sri Lankan snacks, had some Argentinian steak with Malbec wine, some Ostrich steaks (not sure what stand that was from), finished up with Turkish baklava and came home with Romanian wine. Talk about a good lunch!! My gift from Rasmus this first Sunday in advent was a bottle of Finnish Mesimarja liqueur, made from a rare kind of Arctic brambles. It’s delicious!

This first Sunday of Advent really marks for me the start of the Christmas season. The Christmas music is now allowed in our home and I’m reading old December magazines for their decorating ideas. It’s so easy to get caught up in the commercial rush around it all these days, but I’m determined to do my best to enjoy a simpler Christmas this year, to really use Advent as it was intended as a time to slow down and reflect during this time of waiting on why we really celebrate Christmas.

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