Inspiration for Christmas with dear Maria Fynsk Norup, photographer, writer and web designer. She kindly wrote a guest post for Northletters about her life on a tiny danish island, where she moved to with her family to live a slower way of life…Enjoy!
The first Christmas- written by Maria Fynsk Norup:
This year there has been a lot of firsts for our family. We made a life-altering decision this spring, in exchanging our life in busy Copenhagen for a life on the tiny island of Ærø (Aeroe) in the Southern part of Denmark (so far South in fact that when the weather is clear, you can see the North coast of Germany). So we found a house (our first), with a garden (our first), and our two girls each got a rabbit (their first pets). We moved here mid-summer, and all through the autumn and winter there has continued to be amazing new first experiences.
This Christmas is no exception. Not only is it the first Christmas on our island. It will also be the very first Christmas that we host ourselves! So we’ll have our first tree, and a chance to make our own Christmas traditions. We’ll also be celebrating it all by ourselves, as my family (including my mum) has skipped off to Thailand for the holidays (not jealous in the least..ahem). But seriously – we’re really enjoying the prospect of discovering what Christmas is made of for us, here on Ærø.
Ærø island really is a bounty island, I find… So much local produce and so many incredible little business all around, driven by passion and fuelled by lifeblood. This weekend we visited the amazing start-up “Ærø Whisky” (that will release its first bottles next year) and decided to opt in as shareholders – for which we received a tasty bottle of island made mead (mjød; a honey brew).
Keeping the weekend sweet and tasty, we decided to make gingerbread cookies with the girls (however we made the Danish version “Honning-kager”, made with honey and not ginger). And while I was away at a Christmas celebration in town, my husband built us a house…. (*big love*)
Moving to a rural area has also means that we are surrounded by fruits and vegetables – and thus by people who have traditions surrounding these homegrown goodies. One thing that the girls were introduced to this autumn was preparing pigeon apples for Christmas. Pigeon apples are picked while still yellow, and will redden over time if they are left in the light. Our bonus-grandma here on Ærø taught E and L that if you put stickers on the apples, and then gently rotate them for a few months, then come Christmas you can peal off the stickers and they’ll transform into beautiful little treats.
Today we’re starting our holidays, and with only a few days left before the big evening, we’ll probably bring in the Christmas tree, so the girls can finally have a go at decorating it (something that’s been looked forward to for a long time now!). Hopefully I’ll find time to make a wreath for our front door too (the first I made this season was made with make-do materials while we were on holidays at my mother’s at the start of the month – you can see it on my blog (if you want). Also please follow along on Instagram (@mafyno) where I share images from our life here on Ærø island and beyond.
© All pictures Maria Fynsk Norup
Thank you dear Maria for your lovely story and these gorgeous pictures! Merry Christmas guys! Take very good care of yourself and your families! I’ll be back the 15th of January. Yours, Melanie