Tuesday, December 25, 2012

Happy Holidays!

What I love about Christmas in this country is that it is celebrated twice every year: on the 25th of December and on the 6th of January (mostly by the Armenians). Sometimes it's our diversity that tears us apart, but it also brings so much richness to our local culture. The Christmas spirit is felt well into January here, and the Christmas lights stay up for two weeks longer than most parts of the world.

I've noticed decorations getting more and more creative and extravagant by the year. There was a contest in my building to see which department would put up the best decorations. I thought I'd do my bit and wish everyone a Merry Christmas the way I know best.

I started with these pretty snowflakes made from tracing paper to give that crystal effect. They looked great against the rain-washed window panes.

Here's an excellent tutorial by Sara Adams.

This Christmas tree angel by David Brill doesn't have to go on top of a tree; you can easily decorate your nativity with it, like the person who got this little guy did.

A lovely fir tree

The fir tree looked beautiful on its own, and any kind of decoration would have ruined it. This Christmas tree variation by Jo Nakashima looked a bit more "Christmas-y". I used a different paper pattern for each segment to make it look ornamented. The fir tree it still my favorite though, and it made a very nice gift indeed.

Although Jo says "NO glue!"
you might still want to cheat to make it a bit more sturdy.

Now we're home for the holidays, so I attempted to make a little nativity. I based my first attempt on this nativity scene, but it did not have the success I had hoped for. No one I showed it to could guess what it was. It seemed very obvious to me, given the time of year, the figure leaning religiously over the infant, etc. With a better setting and perhaps better lighting, I thought it was pretty spot on. However, my sister (my best/worst critic) thought that St. Joseph was a rocket, Baby Jesus was a table and Mary was a crooked wizard hat. 

So I had to go back and rethink the whole setup. I adapted this Joseph from the first (later, the wind blew him off the balcony), and I converted the first Mary to Chiyo Araki's Mary (I hate to waste pretty paper. Um... I mean, any paper at all! Save a tree!)

I'm pretty happy with how these guys turned out. They are all based on this Saint Joseph model. I made my own variations so their robes, hats and faces would be different. I got this lovely patterned origami paper for Christmas, and I thought it would be perfect for giving the Three Kings' lavish robes. Sadly, these Wisemen were too big for my nativity scene.

And this camel was about as small as Baby Jesus. So in the end, I was not able to put it all together to give me a proper Nativity. Maybe for Armenian Christmas.

And just for kicks, if you're sneaky, here is some quick mistletoe to catch someone under, made from two pairs of holly leaves.


I never understood the rules for mistletoe. Do you have to kiss anyone if they happen to be standing underneath it? What if it's your great-aunt or your annoying cousin?

And finally, I made this wreath from 14 pairs of holly leaves. Here is a very simple diagram for making the holly leaves. In retrospect, I am not a huge fan of the ribbon.

Merry Christmas to everyone, 
whenever, and however you celebrate it!

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