This year we have to free our imagination, let it run in endless moors and spaces, otherwise we will fry on the grill. Too many friends are suffering the psychological collapse and this Christmas risks creating even more division. don’t stop, hold on.
Then react with your imagination and create a new scenography for your home. Creating new spaces, building very different atmospheres, helps and stimulates imagination and curiosity.
I don’t know why, but the alpine setting “makes a lot of Christmas”. Strange, because Jesus was born in Bethlehem, an arid area with lots of stones, earth and dust. Sometimes in winter there is snow there, but nothing to do with the Alps. I’ll talk about Christmas in Bethlehem later on, now I’ll stay on the stage, apparently not very spiritual, actually every help to make the family feel better in this crazy year, is a little step towards Christmas.
5 ideas for an Alpine Christmas – the windows
The first step in creating your Alpine atmosphere is snow. While I am writing here in the mountains it is snowing, it is beautiful, it seems like the world is shrouded in wonder. I look out the window and see all white. You can do it too, even if you live in Dubai, with spray snow cans.
Put newspaper sheets under the window so you don’t get dirty. Make paper templates in the shape of a snowflake or icicle (I like them very much) or cut them out in the shape of a fir tree. Place the template on the glass and then spray plenty of spray snow. Simple, cheap, and very intimate.
5 ideas for an Alpine Christmas: a sweet decoration
Since my first Christmas when I was married, we lived in Madonna di Campiglio, in the Dolomites. I always made a little marzipan house full of sweets. It recalls the fairytale by Hansel and Gretel, then it was adapted to the Christmas holidays, especially in the mountain huts. You can find it already made in the pastry shops, but it is really fun to prepare it. If you have children, do it together, for once not having any restrictions on sweets is good for the head!
The little marzipan house
For the dough I use white flour, a little honey, water, salt. Not too much salt, because it happens that a few pieces of the house end up in your mouth earlier than expected. For the glue, which is the most important part, mix icing sugar with a little lemon juice, keeping the glue thick. Get small candies of many colours, covered chocolate drops, mash mellows for the fireplace, liquorices.
Spread the mixture by half a centimetre, cut the components of the house (roof flaps, fireplace, the 4 walls), a base wide enough and the figures of the people you want to put in it. The first few times it is useful to prepare a cardboard template, so as not to mistake the measurements. Cook the components in the oven. As soon as they are cold, cover them with glue and fill them with candy.
As soon as everything is consolidated, assemble your little house and add a lot of glue to the sides. Stick with toothpicks or sticks until everything is solid. It will be beautiful!
Candles and fireplace
Recreating a fireplace is not easy, but it can be fun. Get some pieces of wood and put them in a corner of the living room. Draw the flames on the cardboard and put them on top of the wood, alternatively make them with coloured paper.
Every once in a while go in front of your fireplace and sing a song, lay a very hairy carpet in front of it and relax, or use that corner for an apéritif with white wine and cubes of speck.
Prepare special candles and place them on the windowsills and on the table. In order not to spend too much money, don’t take the already decorated and scented candles, but buy coloured candles of different sizes in stock and put them in old glass jars decorated with stars or old purple. This way you won’t run the risk of fire and the decorations will be personalized.
The scent of cinnamon
Here too we steal the scents from the Christmas in the German Alps, which taste like cinnamon. The best cinnamon comes from Sri Lanka, who knows how it got to Bavaria!
You can spread the essence with a diffuser, which is now easily found. Or you can make hot mulled wine, which is very mountainous. Boil some good red wine with half an orange, a chopped apple with peel, plenty of cinnamon, star anise, cloves and a little sugar.
Cook everything for 20 minutes over low heat and imagine you are in your alpine hut.
Polenta and stew for your alpine Christmas
To give fullness to your Alpine Christmas, polenta is certainly not to be missed. I prepare it on the wood-burning stove with the copper pot. You can use a thick pot that keeps the cooking slow: boil 3 litres of salted water and add mail flour by beating it with a hand whisk until it becomes thick but not too solid. Cook for 45 minutes, stirring regularly with a wooden ladle. Turn the polenta over on a wooden chopping board and bring it to the table.
There are many recipes for the stew. I brown the diced beef in a little butter and a pinch of salt. When it has changed colour I add some strips of good lard. After a couple of minutes I add two glasses of red wine, turn down the heat, close the lid and proceed to cook for at least three hours, adding to the need of good stock. If you prefer to make it in red sauce, instead of wine put the tomato sauce and paprika and cook only two hours.
Merry Alpine Christmas!