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A cosy Czech Christmas from Canada

We have loved bringing you our Adventide series over the past weeks and for this fourth, and final, instalment, we are thrilled to welcome Veronika Goisova, Czech photographer and mother of three, who lives in Canada. We have so been enjoying Veronika’s Instagram feed throughout December, (that gingerbread advent calendar!!), and feel very excited to share with you this closer look at her family’s traditional and gentle approach to this magical time.

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Advent time is for sure the most special time of the long Canadian winter. Both my husband and I are Czech, so our Christmas is all about Czech traditions. Although the winter weather in Canada gets pretty cold, we still go out into nature for walks, gathering nature treasures just like we do the whole year round, but at this time we gather mostly for our Christmas decorations. Pinecones, branches, evergreens, just anything to make our house festive and inviting. And there is nothing like coming back from a frosty hike to a festive, warm cinnamon smelling house, having hot drinks and home baked Christmas cookies.

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Winter days may get long with three kids spending a lot of time inside, but I’m trying to embrace it, make a gift of it, enjoy togetherness and truly slow down. We bake many kinds of Christmas cookies with the kids, roll or dip beeswax candles, decorate oranges with cloves, make stars with branches and paper and salt dough ornaments and cranberry garlands.

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Our advent calendar is a big part of our pre-Christmas time, every year we have a gingerbread, and a book, advent calendar. For each day of Advent, the kids have one book to unwrap. I’m hiding the Christmas books again a few weeks after Christmas so they remain a well loved surprise for next year. Every advent Sunday we have a special breakfast whilst lighting up another candle on Advent wreath.

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Christmas day is of course the biggest highlight after all the fun preparations.

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On December 24 we decorate our Christmas tree, singing carols and taking it very slow. We watch special Czech Christmas movies whilst getting ready for our special dinner after which we unwrap our gifts.

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I would like to share with you our favourite Gingerbread cookie recipe:

650g flour
200 g icing sugar
50g butter
100g honey
4 eggs
1tsp baking soda
3tsp spices(cinnamon, clove, star anise, nutmeg)
3tsp cocoa

Let butter soften on lightly warm stove, add honey and mix together – don’t cook! – when completely cold mix eggs in.
Mix dry ingredients – flour, sugar, soda, cocoa, spices and add to wet ingredients.
Knead a dough with your hands, its not easy but keep going.
Let it rest till next day in the fridge, after few hours outside of fridge cut a piece and roll to about 3-5 mm and with cookie cutters make cookies, bake at 180 for 7-9 minutes, you can brush it with egg white while still hot to make it shiny, for icing mix egg whites and icing sugar.
I hope you’ll enjoy them as much as we do, we bake a double batch every year!

Happy Christmas x x x

Thank you Veronika

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