Monday, December 31, 2012

Happy New Year 2013

Happy New Year 2013 ...

... greetings from the beach!

Friday, December 28, 2012

New Year's Eve Celebration in Lugano

Don't stay home, come celebrate at Piazza Riforma! The actual celebration starts at 23.00 with Radio Channel 3's best DJs re-proposing the most famous music pieces of the last 30 years, accompanied by lights and images. Towards midnight the exciting countdown will begin.

On New Year’s Eve in Lugano, thousands of people gather on the Piazza Manzoni, turning it into a giant open-air dance floor. From 11 pm a beautifully staged show of lights and colours commences, reaching their exuberant climax at midnight. Soon after, free dishes of lentils – traditionally said to bring luck in the New Year – are distributed to revelers.

Monday, December 24, 2012

Merry PinK Christmas

Thursday, December 20, 2012

More fun facts about Christmas

With all the stress and expense of Christmas it's easy to forget that its supposed to be fun. I've put together some fun facts to get you in the mood for merriment.

Kissing under the mistletoe, our favourite sprig of green leaves and white berries, dates back to a 17th century English custom. At that time, a berry was removed every time a kiss was made, which meant there were no kisses when there no berries. We seem to have since forgotten about the berry removal - allowing us to fully concentrate on the kissing!

Long before it was used as a "kiss encourager" during the Christmas season, mistletoe had long been considered to have magic powers by Celtic and Teutonic peoples. It was said to have the ability to heal wounds and increase fertility. Celts hung mistletoe in their homes in order to bring themselves good luck and ward off evil spirits.

Holly, Ivy and Greenery
In Northern Europe Christmas occurred during the middle of winter, when ghosts and demons could be heard howling in the winter winds. Boughs of holly, believed to have magical powers since they remained green through the harsh winter, were often placed over the doors of homes to drive evil away. Greenery was also brought indoors to freshen the air and brighten the mood during the long, dreary winter.

Legend also has it that holly sprang from the footsteps of Christ as he walked the earth. The pointed leaves were said to represent the crown of thorns Christ wore while on the cross and the red berries symbolized the blood he shed.

A native Mexican plant, poinsettias were named after Joel R. Poinsett, U.S. ambassador to Mexico who brought the plant to America in 1828. Poinsettias were likely used by Mexican Franciscans in their 17th century Christmas celebrations. One legend has it that a young Mexican boy, on his way to visit the village Nativity scene, realized he had no gift for the Christ child. He gathered pretty green branches from along the road and brought them to the church. Though the other children mocked him, when the leaves were laid at the manger, a beautiful star-shaped flower appeared on each branch. The bright red petals, often mistaken for flowers, are actually the upper leaves of the plant.

Christmas Card
The Christmas card, probably the most popular way to express holiday sentiments, was started in England in 1843. The first Christmas card was printed in the United States in 1875 by Louis Prang, a Massachusetts printer. By running nationwide contests for the best Christmas designs, Prang helped launch Christmas cards into a multibillion dollar industry.

Christmas tree
The decorated Christmas tree can be traced back to the ancient Romans who decorated trees with small pieces of metal during Saturnalia, a winter festival in honour of Saturnus, the god of agriculture.

Did you know that Christmas trees are edible. Many parts of pines, spruces, and firs can be eaten. The needles are a good source of vitamin C. Pine nuts, or pine cones, are also a good source of nutrition.

Saint Nicholas
Saint Nicholas of Myra, the original Santa Claus was the patron saint of children, thieves and pawnbrokers.

If you received all of the gifts in the song 'The Twelve Days of Christmas', you would receive 364 presents.

Wednesday, December 19, 2012

7 Facts about Christmas

“Christmas, children, is not a date. It is a state of mind. ”
Mary Ellen Chase

Take a peek at a list of fun facts about how the most important holiday of the year is a celebrated around the world! Did you know that...?

In Greek, X means Christ; that is where the word “Xmas” comes from!

Christmas World Records
The world’s largest Christmas present was the Statue of Liberty. The French gave it to the US in 1886. It is 46.5 meters high and weights 225 tons!

“Green” Christmas
It can take up to 15 years to grow an average-sized tree of 6-7 feet or as little as 4 years, but the average growing time is 7!

Christmas Songs
Bing Crosby ‘s ‘White Christmas’ was released in 1942 and is considered to be the best-selling Christmas song of all time!

Christmas Statistics
1 in 10 – The number of the presents received that will be broken by the New Year
7 in 10 – The number of dogs that get Christmas gifts from their owners
33 – The average amount spent per person on last-minute purchases
25 – The percentage time spent in queues when Christmas shopping
832 – The number of homes Santa visits every second to deliver all his presents
5340 – Average number of times Visa Cards are used every minute during Christmas time

2010 Average Budget for Christmas Presents
SWITZERAND: 547 € - USA: 520 € – UK: 474 € – GERMANY: 270 € – ITALY: 325 € – FRANCE: 366 € – SPAIN: 383 € –  NETHERLANDS: 206 €

Traditional Christmas Sweets
SWITZERLAND: Tirgel (Honey biscuits), Brunsli (Chocolate biscuits), Zimtsternli (Cinnamon Stars)
FRANCE: Buche de Noel (a Génoise or other sponge cake, baked in a large Swiss roll pan)
USA: Pumpkin Cake (with cinnamon and ginger, frosted with cream cheese frosting)
SPAIN: Nougat (made with sugar or honey, roasted nuts)
HUNGARY: Beigli (roll of sweet yeast bread with a dense, rich, bittersweet filling)
ITALY: Panettone (is a type of sweet bread loaf originally from Milan)
SWEDEN: Pepparkakor (heart-star and goat-shaped gingerbread biscuit)
UK: Christmas Pudding (steamed pudding, with dried fruit and nuts, usually made with suet)
PORTUGAL: Pain Perdu (French toast made with bread and eggs, milk, sugar and cinnamon)
GERMANY: Lebkuchen (large cookies made of honey)

Monday, December 17, 2012

Best explanation ever ...

Every year when the holiday season starts I wait for the question: "Mummy, does Father Christmas really exsist?".  I, myself, still want to believe in him therefore will go through quite a stretch in the hope that my kids will believe just one more year!

My answer so far was: "Do YOU believe in Father Christmas?" or "If you believe in him I'm sure he'll bring you lots of presents?

This year (and to be perfectly honest, my two kids are both way out of Santa-believing-age) I have come across a wonderful explanation. A letter from a boy's parents that has gone viral on facebook.

It was just to beautiful not to share.


Friday, December 14, 2012

Candle making for Christmas

When I was a little girl, I used to look forward to December every year when I could finally go down to the Bürkliplatz to make candles out of bees wax. The whole place smelt of it and until today the scent of bee's wax transports me back into that tent in Zürich.

This weekend you have the chance of accompanying your kids to make candles at Piazza Manzoni. A  small workshop for children has been set up for children. Guided by good teachers, they can create  a very special Christmas gift with their own hands. In my days the candles can be colored and shaped to your liking.

Venue: Christmas Candle making for children
Where: Piazza Manzoni
When: Saturday, 15.12 and Sunday 16.12
Time: from 11:00 to 19:00

While you are down town, why not take a stroll through the Christmas market in the main streets of the city? For the next 10 days before Christmas, a market extending to the pedestrian area of ​​the city center will feature stalls selling delicacies, handicrafts, fine fabrics, oriental fragrances and charity projects.

Venue: Christmas market
Where: Downtown Lugano
When: Saturday, 15.12. 2012 to Sunday, 23.12.2012
Time: from 11:00 to 19:00
On Monday, 24.12, 2012 from 11:00 to 17:00

Thursday, December 13, 2012

Christmas decoration stores

"Never worry about the size of your Christmas tree. In the eyes of children, they are all 30 feet tall. " Larry Wilde, The Merry Book of Christmas

Running a little late with your Christmas decorations? Looking for a new outfit for your Christmas tree? Or just feel like a stroll through a deco/furniture shop?

The two interior decoration stores Interio and Pfister have kitted themselves out for Christmas. And guess what? It's pink! Not all of it, of course, but if you enjoy the boudoir style it's definately worth a trip to Contone.

Via Cantonale 10
6594 Contone
Tel: 058 576 71 00

Opening hours:
Mo-We   09:00 – 18.30 
Th        09:00 – 21.00 
Fr         09:00 – 18.30
Sa        09:00 – 17.00

Special openings:
16.12. 10:00 – 18:00 Sunday opening
23.12. 10:00 – 18:00 Sunday opening
24.12. 09:00 – 17:00

Via Cantonale
6594 Contone
Tel: 091 851 71 11

Opening hours:
Mo-We   09:00 - 18:30
Th        09:00 - 21:00
Fr           09:00 - 18:30
Sa          09:00 - 17:00

Special openings:
16.12. 10:00 – 18:00 Sunday opening
23.12. 10:00 – 18:00 Sunday opening
24.12. 09:00 – 17:00

Tuesday, December 11, 2012

Christmas Movie Afternoon in Lugano

“Everything I learned I learned from the movies.”
Audrey Hepburn

It is with great pleasure that the IWCL (International Women's Club of Lugano) and AWOT (American Women of Ticino) invite you to a Christmas Movie Afternoon.

Come and watch the Disney film “Brave” ( Everybody is welcome. You don't need to have children, just that Christmas movie spirit.

Single ticket: CHF 10.-
Family of 4 (Club member plus 3 family members): CHF 40.-
For all family members booking in advance: CHF 10.- per person

Single ticket: CHF 13.-
Family of 4 (if you book in advance): CHF 45.-
Other family packages for non-members are also available so please contact us for more details.

After the movie (at about 15.30) Viva la Comida will be offering us some Mexican snacks and the IWCL/AWOT some delicious cookies and refreshments.
There will also be other suprises in store so please let us know if you are coming by e-mailing:

Venue: Brave- Christmas Movie afternoon
WHere: Arthouse Cinema Lux, Via Motta, 6900 Massagno
When: Sunday, 16 December, 2012
Time: 14.00

Friday, December 7, 2012

10 fun ways to clean

Fun and clean in the same title?  You bet!  With most kids life is all fun and games anyway, so why not use that energy to have them help you around the house?  Kids want to do the things that they perceive as fun, and if you make it look like fun they are going to be much more interested in helping than if you make it look like work. Try these simple ideas to make cleaning fun.

Sing a clean-up song.
There are actual clean-up songs that you can find on the Internet that come complete with music, but you can also make up your own song.  Here’s an easy one to sing: “Clean up, clean up, everybody everywhere.  Clean up, clean up, everybody do your share.”  Kids typically love repetition, so feel free to keep singing the same song over and over until the task is done.

Make it a game.
The game will change depending on what it is that you are cleaning, but an example could be seeing how many blocks can you put into the box.  Tell her that you both can count them as the blocks are being picked up.  Another one is to see how fast she can pick up her dollies and put them away.  Give her a basket and have her run around the house and pick up all of her stuff and bring it back to her room while you time her.

Set a timer.
Almost everything is more fun when a timer is set, and a timer means that there’s an end to the task.  Tell everyone that you are turning the timer on for 15 minutes and they need to see if they can get everything picked up in that amount of time.  Make sure that everyone knows what your expectations are so that they know what to do and aren’t wasting valuable time running to you to find out what they should be doing.

Give a reward.
If you have more than one kid you can offer a reward to the kid that did the best job or finished the most cleaning related tasks.  Or better yet, you can give a reward to all the kids if they got everything accomplished without complaining and did a good job.  It doesn’t have to be a competition, unless that is what works well in your family.  Some people thrive on competition, whereas others are completely turned off by it.

Award stickers.
Create a chore chart and let the kids put a sticker in the box when they have completed it.  This will give them a sense of accomplishment and most kids love stickers.

Keep cleaning time short.
To keep cleaning fun it has to be completed in a short amount of time.  The fun will wear off if you keep them cleaning too long.  Teaching them to clean up as they go will make sure that they don’t create such a huge mess that it will take a long time to clean it up.

Crank up the tunes.
Most kids love to dance around and sing, so if you crank up the tunes everyone can sing while they work.  Play the Disney song, A Happy Working Song while you are working to encourage the kids to get into it.

Money hunt.
Hide a few quarters or dollar bills in certain places that the kids typically miss cleaning.  Let the kids know that they might find some money if they do a thorough job cleaning.  This may or may not work for the little ones because they may not really care about money yet.

Use pint sized tools.
Often, cleaning tools like brooms or mops are not really comfortable for kids to use because they’re too big.  Get the kids their own pint-sized cleaning tools, or try to customize your own.  On some Swiffers you can pull out the middle section and make the handle shorter.  Kids will probably be swiffering so much you will run out of swiffers, but at least your floor should be clean!

Pretend to be a maid.
Have everyone pretend to be part of a cleaning crew that has come in to clean this house.  Put handkerchiefs on everyone’s head and give them gloves.  Take on a funny accent and say funny things like, “Wow, the kids that live here sure are messy!” or “Peeeeeee-You! These kids have stinky socks!”

Doing something out of the ordinary is often all it takes to make cleaning fun and not such a chore.  The most important thing to remember is that they are still kids and their cleaning isn’t going to be perfect, but any help you can get will be that much less you have to do. Teaching them the importance of cleaning while they’re young also means that you will have given them useful life skills that they’ll continue to utilize as they get older.

For more clever ideas check out:

Thursday, December 6, 2012

Samichlaus poem

Sami Niggi Näggi,
hinterem Ofe stäggi,
bring mer Nuss und Biire,
dänn kummi hinne füre.

This little nursery rhyme is known to virtually every Swiss German child. It is performed to Samichlaus during his visit on Saint Nicholas day (today).

It says the following: “Saint Nic, I am hiding behind the oven. Please give me nuts and pears, then I'll be coming out.”

An Italian version that children in Lugano recite for San Nicoalo would be:

Quando sulle montagne
scende la neve bianca
cammina e mai si stanca
il buon San Nicolao
È rosso il suo mantello
è grigio l'asinello
son grossi gli scarponi
nel sacco ha tanti doni
Ti salutiamo e diciamo "ciao"
ritorna presto San Nicolao

Wednesday, December 5, 2012

The Swiss tradition of Samichlaus (San Nicolao)

In Switzerland, the tradition of St. Nicolas is somewhat different from the norm. Switzerland is a country of several languages so it is not surprising there are several different St. Nicholas traditions. In German-speaking areas Saint Nicholas is known as Samichlaus. Though he looks the same as Father Christmas, the Samichlaus (originally Sankt Nikolaus) does not bring the presents at Christmas. Rather, he appears on the 6th of December. Children visit the Samichlaus (usually at school or with their parents) to be judged and recite poems that they've learned. The other option - when I was little - was leaving your boots in front of the door the night of December 5th to find them filled with goddies the next morning.

Samichlaus is usually accompanied by a helper called Schmutzli (from "schmutzig" - dirty). He is dressed in a black or brown cape with a large hood. He wears a black beard and is smeared with dirt. While the Samichlaus praises the kids who have been good, Schmutzli takes the naughty kids, puts them into his bag and carries them away. This makes for a practical way for parents to make their kids behave well: "Be good or Schmutzli will carry you off in his bag!"

Fear not for the Swiss children. Described above is the original form. Nowadays Schmutzli is purely ornamental or even left out completely.

My kids used to visit San Nicola in he woods with their school class. Trust me, they never slept very well the night before.

Should you need a Samichlaus for your family you can check out the Chlaus directory here:

The evening meal on December 6th traditionally consists of a man-shaped bread (called Grittibänz, recipe here), mandarines, walnuts, peanuts (with the shells), Lebkuchen and chocolates.

So, make sure you put your boots outside the door tonight and IF you have been good you'll awake tomorrow morning to find them filled with mandarines, nuts and chocolates.

Tuesday, December 4, 2012

Advent Market in Lugano

"It is Christmas in the heart that puts Christmas in the air."

During Advent, Piazza Riforma will be populated by charming wooden houses, where you can find all sorts of Christmas specialties, decorations and original gift ideas. In other words, head down town to taste some Christmas spirit and enjoy the festive season, not only the cold December weather!

Venue: Advent Market
Where: Piazza Riforma
When: Every day until Sunday 23.12 from 11.00 a.m. to 7.00 p.m.
Monday 24.12 from 11.00 a.m. to 5.00 p.m.

Tomorrow enjoy a special treat of fairy tales and music for children: Gioacchino Lonardo and his marionettes will tell two of the most famous traditional tales: Jonas and the Whale and Robin Hood.

Venue: Marionette theatre
Where: Piazza San Carlo
When: Wednesday, December 5th, 2012
Time: from 2.30 p.m. to 4.00 p.m

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...