Magic Faraway Tree

Who do you think you will find inside this tree? A whole community of fairies perhaps?

This magic tree is called a Banyan Tree and it is holy to Hindus.

When I found this door hidden under this magnificent tree it made me wonder if perhaps it housed a troll or a hobbit, or perhaps it is the entrance to a magic world!?

What do you think?

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Christmas at Hogwarts

Dear Diary,
Today I woke up early seeing as it was Christmas morning. I came down to the common room earlier than any of the other Ravenclaws. And of course, it was beautifully decorated! The Christmas tree was even bigger this year! The theme of the tree was blue and silver, and there were all kind of ornaments! Snow Crystals, Silver Angels, Sapphire Blue baubles and of course tinsel! There was evergreen above the mantle, but instead of ribbons, the evergreen was hung with shoes! Red sneakers with green leaves on, pink boots with purple lace and yellow and blue Wellingtons. I suspect Luna had something to do with that! I found my presents under the tree. One from mum and dad which turned out to be a whole year’s supply of paint and brushes for my art! The other present was from granny and it was a beautiful first edition of “The Tales of Beedle the Bard”with the original illustrations. Granny knows how much I love books! After I had opened my presents I went into the Great Hall for breakfast. I am always so excited to see how the Christmas decorations look each year! The first thing I saw when I entered the hall was the ceiling. It was enchanted, of course, to look like the winter sky, dark blue with white snow, but the most magical part was a train, looking exactly like the Hogwarts express, chugging around on invisible tracks. From the train windows I saw little elves waiving at me, and the driver of the train was Father Christmas himself laughing and smoking a pipe. There was of course also music in the hall, softly played carols, and when I saw where the music was coming from I squealed with delight because what was playing the music were more than a hundred music boxes exactly in tune with each other! All the music boxes were different from each other though, but they all depicted scenes within a snow globe, and when I examined them thoroughly I saw that the scenes were changing every five minutes or so. My favorite scene was the one from Hogsmeade showing a young couple dancing and laughing outside the Shrieking Shack while the ghost of a ballerina was making faces at them and trying to outcompete them on the roof of the Shrieking Shack. I also loved the scene from the Yule ball in Hogwarts, Cornish pixies were stealing champagne from a fountain in the middle of the room and swinging from the Christmas ornaments in the trees. And then of course there was this year’s tree! It was magical! All covered in snow from the winter ceiling, and Christmas lights made to look like twinkling stars, and on top of the tree was a perfect half moon glowing in silver and white. When I looked closer at the tree I saw that it also had tiny fairies sitting on the branches drinking hot chocolate and playing miniature Wizard’s chess. They were a bit shy though, and jumped when they saw me so I decided to give them some space, so I settled down for some breakfast. My friends Cat and Cecil came to join me and they showed me their presents. Breakfast was delicious of course! My favorite type of chocolate cake was there and grilled cheese sandwiches and chips and cinnamon buns. Mysteriously they always have everyone’s favorites in Hogwarts, especially on Christmas morning. The candles floated in the air as always, and soon the Great Hall was full of children and teachers. After breakfast my friends and I decided to go sledding. Hagrid, with the help of some last years, had built a perfect sledding slope from the astronomy tower, and it was almost like being on a roller coaster! But I have to admit that I used my wand all the time as a break, I suspect some of the other kids did as well. By afternoon we were a bit tired and cold so we retreated to our Ravenclaw common room to have cocoa in front of the fireplace. All in all it was just a perfect Christmas Day, and I am going to enjoy the rest of the holidays as well. Christmas at Hogwarts is almost better than Christmas at home!

Happy Holidays!
From Trini

The most beautiful Christmas Tree

It was a few days before Christmas and the school holidays had begun. The streets and the trees were covered in snow and the whole world seemed ready for Christmas. In one red and white house two children, a little girl about seven and a boy three years older, were eagerly anticipating Christmas. They were so eagerly anticipating that their father was losing his mind and to get them out of the house he told them that they could go into the forest and find one small Christmas tree each to have in their rooms. The two children were ecstatic! They had never before been allowed to have their own tree! The boy was given a small ax and a saw and was sternly told to be careful. He nodded obediently and took his little sister’s hand and together they disappeared into the white and green forest. They walked for a while hand in hand before the little girl exclaimed: Look! Look, there is the perfect tree right there! She pointed to a tall spruce with dense branches covered in snow. Her brother shook his head. “No, no that is too big.” But the little girl wouldn’t take no for an answer so he gave in like he always did when his sister really wanted something. The tree was heavy to carry, but between them they managed. Now it was the boy’s turn to pick one. He didn’t want to let his sister outcompete him so he chose a tree slightly bigger than hers. This tree was even heavier to carry, and the two little children really struggled to get home. The snow seemed to have gotten even deeper since they left their house and they kicked and breathed hard up the hill to their home.

When they finally made it home their father was waiting for them, but when he saw the trees they were carrying his face changed from anticipation to anger. “ I told you to find a small tree each for your rooms! These trees are even too big to fit in our living room!” he shouted angrily. The children’s faces fell. “ But daddy, these were the best trees in the forest!” said the little girl. But when they tried to fit the trees in their rooms they saw that their father had been right. They were much too big. “ Okay, this is what we will do,” said the father after he had calmed down a bit, “We will cut a bit off the bottom of the smallest tree and keep it in the living room as our family tree, the other one will become firewood.”

The boy hung his head a bit, he was disappointed to see his beautiful tree becoming firewood, but his sister smiled from ear to ear knowing that it was her tree that would adorn the living room on Christmas Eve beautifully decorated for all the guests to see. When Christmas Eve finally came the little girl proudly told her grandparents, her cousins and all her uncles and aunts that it was she who had fetched this year’s tree in the forest. Her father, a bit embarrassed, confirmed her story, and they all agreed that that year’s Christmas tree was the most beautiful tree they had ever seen.

This is a true story about my brother and I and one of our childhood Christmases in Norway.

All the illustrations are by the magical Lisi Martin.

The Littlest Santa Claus

When I was a little girl I firmly believed in Santa Claus, or “Julenissen “ as we call him in Norway. But being a very informed and sensible child with a strong sense of logic, I did not buy into the idea of one man delivering presents to all the children of the world in one night, and in a sleigh pulled by reindeer? No, that was definitely NOT plausible. Besides, most of my presents came from my parents and family, and I also knew for a fact that many kids did not receive gifts for Christmas. Our neighbors were Jehova’s Witnesses, and those children certainly did not get any presents. So how could I believe in Santa then? Well, I had heard the legend of Saint Nicholas who gave presents to all the poor children and how his spirit inspired the idea of Santa Claus. I also knew about the Scandinavian Nisse, the little gnome who lived on farms and demanded porridge every Christmas Eve, otherwise he would not help take care of the animals and the farm and would rather make a ruckus of everything. So I decided that Santa Claus was a spirit, a Christmas spirit, that inspired generosity, kindness and compassion, and that anyone who became bearers of these characteristics could truthfully call themselves Santa Claus, therefore, Santa Claus existed, and anyone adopting the role with a pure heart became Santa. So that is what I did one Christmas Eve. I became Santa Claus.

I was probably about 8-9 years old and was the middle child in the flock of cousins. I had one older cousin plus my older brother and three younger cousins, and I was particularly fond of the two youngest boys who were just 3 and 5 years old. I had pleaded with my mother to let me be Santa Claus on Christmas Eve the whole month of December, and she had finally given in, saying it would be the littlest Santa anyone had ever seen. But that did not stop her from going all out buying me a red furry coat, a red top hat, fake beard and glasses ( I had never liked those horrible plastic masks). On Christmas Eve, right after dinner while the men were having coffee and cognac and the women were doing the dishes, I excused myself saying I had to use the bathroom, and snuck down in the basement where my costume was hidden. I was giggling the whole time, I was so excited to try out my long practiced North Pole accent, and to see the faces of the little kids as I asked them if they had been good that year. I stuffed my Santa suit full of pillows, tucked the beard into my red top hat and tried out my Ho! Ho! Ho! one last time before ascending the staircase with my huge old sack filled with presents. I felt…magical! In that moment I really was Santa Claus! I checked myself before firmly knocking on the living room door while asking with my deep and heavily accented voice: «Er det noen snille barn her?» Which means: Are there any good children here? As soon as I entered, the adults started chuckling quietly, and the little kids looked at me very suspiciously, but my older cousins played along and convinced the little ones that it really was Santa visiting. I handed out the presents while putting on quite the show, telling stories from the North Pole and doing my belly laugh every time someone accepted a present. When my sack was empty I wished them all a very merry Christmas and told them I had to get back to my reindeer waiting in the forest (I knew the little kids would check the roof through the ceiling window if I said they were on the roof) before I hunched down under the weight of my five pillows and exited the living room, waving and Ho! Ho! Ho’ing! the whole time. I climbed down the stairs and headed out in the snow through the front door while chiming a cow bell my mother had given me. The kids were watching me through the window as I disappeared into the dark snowy forest. I am not sure the grown-ups were quite aware of this part of the performance, but they didn’t stop me. I waited five minutes before I headed back to the house. As soon as I came into the living room I exclaimed disappointedly: Has Santa already been here? The small boys nodded and handed me my present from Santa. “oh, darn,” I said “Typical I had to go to the bathroom and miss the whole thing!” I heard lot of subdued laughter from the adults, but they all played along telling me I had missed a great show! I smiled to myself and thought happily: I knew it, anyone can be Santa Claus, even a quite small girl with fake beard and five pillows stuffed under her sweater!

* The beautiful artwork above is done by the magical Lisi Martin.

Light a Candle (Tenn Lys)

Light a candle! One candle will burn for this little earth
The shiny star in heaven, where we all share a home.
May all find hope, so good things can happen,
May earth and heaven meet. A candle is lit for that.

Light a candle! Two candles will shine for love and faith,
For those who show compassion and always seek to reconcile.
May prisoners have their freedom and refugees a home.
Light a candle for those who are crying and those who comfort them.

Light a candle! Three candles will shine for all those who have to fight
For justice and for freedom, for they need our support.
May no one lose their hope until all people can live as one.
Light a candle for those who fight for freedom and for their human rights.

Light a candle! Four candles are shining for Him
who loves all that lives, every lion and every lamb.
Light a candle for the heavenly king
the shepherds saw on the holy night.
Now heaven and earth will be one
in this heavenly child asleep on a bed of hay and straw.

* This is the Norwegian Advent prayer song written by Eyvind Skeie and here translated to English by yours truly 😊😊

The Year Without a Santa Claus

“The Year Without a Santa Claus” is a 1974 American stop motion “puppet” film produced by the legendary duo Rankin & Bass. The film is based on the children’s book by the same name written by Phyllis McGinley and illustrated by Kurt Werth.

This film has that old-time American charm which I just love! It is made in a time when filmmaking was not only about people pleasing and money making, but rather about creativity, art and a desire to bring something of real value to the world. I love the artistry in these old stop motion movies, like how beautifully the puppets are made, how the colors are true to the 1950s fashion ( The book was published in 1956) and the whimsical design of the Christmas tree decorations.

The story is not super impressive, but that is not the point of this movie. The charm lies in the yesteryear’s Christmas atmosphere, the sweet songs we all know and love, and in the creativity of the homemade sceneries where you can actually recognize the different materials used to transform little trinkets into movie magic.

I, as many of you know, love everything vintage, and this movie is no exception. My favorite part of the film is towards the end when Santa Claus arrives in the little town with his sleigh and presents to the tunes of “Santa Claus is coming to town”. It can’t get more Christmassy than that! ❤️🤶🏻🎅🏼❤️.

Pettersson und Findus – Das schönste weihnachten überhaupt (Pettersson and Findus)

“Pettersson and Findus” is a German Christmas film from 2016 based on the Picture book series “Pettson and Findus” by the beloved Swedish author Sven Nordqvist.
This lovely little film is a combination of live action and animation done so beautifully that even the adults will for a second forget that it is not really real. The movie, despite being German, has that beautiful Scandinavian old-fashioned charm with shabby wooden furniture painted blue, wool and felt clothing, home-weaved rugs, and of course the typical red and evergreen Christmas.

Pettersson and Findus is definitely a film for the smallest children, but adults can enjoy the little details the kids won’t pick up, like the atmospheric sceneries, the vintage interior decor and the overall sweet and cozy charm. This movie is, to me, the very definition of the Scandinavian concept of Hygge.

The story is about farmer Pettersson who lives alone with his cat Findus in a little cottage in the Swedish countryside. It is the day before Christmas and Findus has decided that this is going to be the best Christmas ever. It is up to Pettersson to make this wish come true. But Pettersson has one problem, he is not very good at accepting help, so when he falls and sprains his foot, it is looking rather bleak for Findus and his dream Christmas. Will Findus be able to convince Pettersson to accept the help he needs or will he have to come to terms with the fact that this Christmas might not become everything he has dreamed it to be.

I love the humble lessons in this film, how we must learn to not just help others, but also accept help ourselves sometimes. And how the biggest magic is often not the kind you can buy for money, but is rather found in the wonders and splendor of nature and in the love of friend.

This magical film is, as mentioned before, best suited the smallest children, but adults with a special love for Christmas, vintage and nostalgia will definitely love it too. To me, this film is a breath of fresh air in an industry dominated by commercialism and sameness. If you want to watch something different than your regular Christmas blockbusters I definitely recommend this gem of a film.

Of course, five out of five stars! ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

P.S This movie is available on Netflix 🎅🏼❤️🎅🏼❤️🎅🏼❤️