Anna-Leena Harkonen


Simon Reddy/Alamy


Christmas Galore

IT ALL BEGAN at a Christmas market and still continues: my obsessive collecting of Christmas decorations.

I bought snowflake-shaped Christmas lights and put them on top of the bookcase. I placed angel-themed pralines and green gumdrops in a star-patterned porcelain bowl. I also wrapped silver tinsel around the head of an antique doll. I simply had to.

THEN BASIC, unapologetic kitsch started to call my name. I bought a plastic Christmas village, with a rotating windmill in the middle. Unfortunately, I didn’t have a place for the village in my home, and the lights were too bright, so I gave it away.

At a Christmas fair for women, I found a miniature Christmas shop run by gnomes: they sell candy canes, cakes, and gingerbread cookies. Their house is surrounded by red heart-shaped LED lights.

I placed the miniature shop on the windowsill in the kitchen. It’s enchanting—
I regress to being five years old whenever I look at it. I also realize how much I love LED lights: no matches, melting wax, or fire hazards.

MY MOST RIDICULOUS purchase is a Christmassy room scent. Now my home smells of mulled wine and gingerbreadand I don’t even like mulled wine or gingerbread.

What is this? I thought I was not a Christmas person. I have never had any Christmas traditions, and now I have this: Christmas galore. Gnome overload. What is even more ridiculous is that I won’t be spending Christmas here.

This process has taken almost a month, which is good: Christmas must come gradually. If your home is suddenly ablaze with decorations, you may go into shock.

ONCE, IN THE EARLY hours of the morning, I had a horrible realization: My dollhouse! I had forgotten all about Christmas in the dollhouse!

I wondered where I could find a miniature tree that I could place in the middle of the living room. And little gnomes, perhaps? I could also put tinsel strands on top of the upper kitchen cabinets or around all the window frames.

Half asleep, I planned how I could make a miniature Christmas tree by gluing spruce needles together.

In the morning, the idea no longer seemed viable. Fortunately, I found a glittery spruce-shaped candle in a department store. Triumphantly, I let my son know that Christmas had arrived in the dollhouse.

“Mom!” he replied. “This is no longer funny.”

MAYBE NOT. I must admit I was relieved to find out that the Christmas market in the city center had relocated farther away—too far for me.

Then I needed to travel out of town. While there, I found my way to the local Christmas market and spotted a fabric gnome with wonderfully chubby cheeks and an endearingly small mouth.

I had to buy it. And there was so much that I couldn’t buy because there was no more room at home: a miniature nativity scene, a snow globe with a church, silver-painted pine cones in a glass jar, sleigh-shaped candleholders . . .

WHEN I HAD finally completed my decoration project, I sat down in an armchair, with a glass of red wine in my hand, to admire my brilliant Christmas tree and everything around it.

“Our home is a Christmas wonderland, don’t you think?” I asked my son.

“No. This is just weird.”

© Anna-Leena Harkonen 2021

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