Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Happy Holidays from the SAFE team!

Merry Christmas, Buon Natale, Feliz Navidad, Joyeux Noël, Frohe Weihnachten, God Jul, Nollaig Shona, Feliz Natal, Mutlu Noeller.

Christmas is universal. For many Christmas is deeply religious. For others Christmas is all about presents.

Do you have a Charlie Brown Christmas tree or a huge 9 footer with all the trimmings? Do you spend time at a local shelter feeding the homeless or are you the one doing the family baking? Do you read to the children who are stuck in the hospital during the holidays? Do you go skiing or have a neighborhood snowman build-off? Are you like the kids and LOVE presents more than anything? Do you love being the one who does most of the spoiling?

Anhoki asked the SAFEteam to tell their Christmas story with soap...and this is what they came up with!

...is my interpretation of our family Christmas in a bar of soap. Christmas, for us, begins the day after Thanksgiving.... when everyone is out fighting the crowds for the BEST deal on whatever it is they are looking for. While everyone else is fighting the crowds I am putting up our Christmas tree. Christmas music fills the room and the furkids are dancing across the floor to avoid the Christmas lights as we string them on the tree. The kids...well they want lights in their rooms, want to know where the snow is, and want to know if THIS is the year they can go ice skating. It doesn't snow here anymore...just ice..and everywhere. Eggnog, warm and fuzzy slippers and laughter is all we need. We love driving all over to look at Christmas lights. There is a live nativity scene at a local church that is just breath-taking. With all the animals and people dressed just as they were in the beginning. It's beautiful. Christmas morning is wild. Opening presents at home before heading to my grandparent's house for breakfast. The WHOLE family is there. Parking is a nightmare and IF we're lucky...there's ice on the roads. Remember...it doesn't snow here until AFTER Christmas. A HUGE breakfast for everyone before we open gifts and then set around and watch football....or fall asleep..whichever comes first. It's awesome. Anhoki's Hillbillie Christmas is a down home, warm and festive, hillbilly blend of sweet fruits, spices, woods and a tiny touch of floral. This is one of the most unique blends I've ever come across and it is very much a favorite. It definitely speaks the holidays to me.

For our family, Christmas is a deeply spiritual time. It is the culmination of 40 days of fasting and preparation, and while the feast and the presents and the tree are all a big part of what we do, it all centers on the Nativity of Christ.

I thought a long time about how to translate that into a bar of soap. What I finally realized, in the end, is that you just can’t. It’s too big, and too special, and above all too holy. So after a lot of thought, what I tried to do was capture that feeling of peace and joy we have late Christmas morning when we’re all dead tired from being at church until the wee hours the night before, but we’re all too excited to sleep. The stockings have been opened and Mom, Dad and Grandma are drinking strong coffee while the kids play with their stocking stuffers and munch on chocolate – the one amazing day a year when chocolate in the morning is OK with Mom! The Christmas carols are playing in the background, especially the one Irish Christmas CD that for our kids means Christmas is finally here. The lights on the Christmas tree have to compete with the colors of dawn over the lake … it won’t get light until almost 11 am on Christmas Day, and the colors in the sky, reflected and sparkling off the icy lake, are tough to beat. We will all look over at Dad in his chair and remember the one lonely Christmas a few years back, when Dad was in Afghanistan and everyone tried to be cheerful anyway, and every now and then someone will run over and give Daddy a big hug just because.

I used the traditional Christmas colors of red and green on my soap because our family cherishes the old fashioned Christmas customs that we bring back every year – the Advent Wreath, the tree, and of course the presents. But the top layer is snow white, symbolizing the purity of the Christ child for whom the day is celebrated, with the glittery gold Star at the top of the bar. We at Swan Mountain Soaps wish you and yours much Joy this Christmas season!

Decking the halls and trimming the tree is one of my beloved holiday events. When the challenge came across from the SAFETeam to express a holiday tradition in a soap, I knew exactly what I was do. I have hundreds of ornaments that I have collected since before I could talk. Santa's, elves, cookies, animals and more, all shapes, sizes and colors, I pull them out every year and as a family we get to work decorating the tree so that it will twinkle and glow for Santa.

This soap is all cold process soap. Made in many stages, the centerpiece is the Christmas tree filled with bits of soapy lights. That tree was one whole 18 inch log carved into the tree shape, so each and every bar is unique, just like real trees. Of course, no tree is complete without presents, so several presents surround the tree. Set against a sky blue backdrop, wisps of white snow fill the sky, while the top of the bar boasts more sparkly mica snow, and a bit of gold mica adds the star to the festive tree. The soap boasts the scents of Christmas also, holly, cinnamon, orange, and mint form a soft scent that makes you swear you are at a holiday gathering.

Evergreens & Holly by Beyond the Picket Fence

A walk throught the forest on a crisp cool day....That is the inspiration for this soap. It brings me back to cutting down Christmas trees with my parents. Hours and hours spent in the woods picking the PERFECT tree. What kind of tree to get? How big? My sister and I would both pick our favorite tree and stand next to it. Claim it as our own and give nasty looks to any passer-by (MINE!) Dad would continue to search until it really was just too cold out. Then back-and-forth...who's tree would win?

I always held the tree while my dad cut the trunk. And then we would carry out to the car. We almost never gave it to the guy with the tractor. It was my favorite task because it left my gloves with the faint smell of sap for the rest of the winter! I would put on those gloves and take a big whiff every day!
Vote for your favorite in the poll on the sidebar!!!
While you are at it, tell us your holiday story! One of the comments will win a FREE bar of the winning soap!!! So tell us your traditions...share a recipe...tell us what you want this year!
Please leave your email or shop name so that we can find you if you win!!! Good Luck!!


The Skin You're In said...

Wow, voting is so hard. The choices are not only wonderful in this challenge but the descriptions are completely awesome...I must choose one...I have to think about that. I'll come back and vote in a wee bit.

becky n said...

That was a hard choice! Great stories and lovely soaps.

One of our traditions is that we get some kind of Heifer Project animal for our grandchildren each year. We make up some kind of game for them to figure out what it is that they've sent to someone - whether it's a hive of bees or a llama. One year I made a jigsaw puzzle from felt out of the animal and each kid had a different piece to add. One year it might be a scavenger hunt to find the telling clue. It makes them aware of the need to think of others and they have fun doing it.

becky at www.geminiriverrocks.etsy.com

bkdsignature said...

They are all great creations!

My most favorite holiday tradition is baking a whole bunch of goodies for the entire week before Christmas. We then hand them out to neighbors and serve them at our holiday party. I love that we have a holiday party. That's my other favorite tradition. Eating the goodies for breakfast on Christmas morning is fun, too. :)


Randi Lyn A. said...

Very creative entries!! Great job ladies!!

Ten Digit Creations said...

Well, y'all drive a hard contest! Very creative on everyone's part! It was tough, had to go back and forth several times, but ***Swan's*** is my choice.