UO CHRISTMAS: URBAN JUNGLE BLOGNovember 13, 2017
As part of our Christmas Wishlists for 2017, we’ve spoken to some of our favourite creatives from around Europe to find out how they celebrate Christmas! Igor and Judith of Urban Jungle tell us how to keep our plants healthy this Christmas…
What are your favourite things about the holiday/winter season?
Igor: Definitely getting cosy at home! With colder temperatures I am not too tempted to leave the house and love getting all cosy and comfy at home with a cup of tea, good music, good books, a blanket, and a scented candle. Bliss!
Judith: Same for me! I love making it extra cosy with candles and more plants, as I usually bring in all the plants from my greenhouse to let them hibernate in our home. And the feeling of glowing cheeks after a winter walk is also a fave!
How do you celebrate the holidays in your country?
Igor: Germany is all festive from late November on. The advent period is being celebrated, advent wreaths adorn almost every home, the streets are decorated, Christmas markets are installed, and festive Christmas trees appear in the windows of homes as well as on public squares. It is a joyful season! The festivities culminate on Christmas Eve when kids get presents and family dinners are organized. Also, think of mulled wine and ginger bread. Like lots of it!
Judith: While the French kids write their letters to Père Noël (Father Christmas), everyone else goes gift shopping (wrapped in Christmas paper for charity!), eats Foie Gras, buys insane amounts of chocolate and gets a bûche dessert for the family dinner. French Christmas is a family holiday, which can be stressful for some or wonderful if you’re blessed with a loving family. I really like that the French tend to think of the poor and unfortunate during this time of the year by organising charity events, to offer everyone the best possible Christmas, especially to the children. The only bummer is that we don’t have Boxing Day in France…
What are the traditional dishes that you eat?
Igor: I have a sweet tooth and you’ll see me munching on ginger bread, fruitcake, Christmas cookies. And I was told that one mulled wine a day keeps the cold away. Cheers!
Judith: My absolute favourite thing to eat are the homemade mince meat pies my mom makes every year. The perfect match between sweet, creamy and spices give me this instant Christmas feeling.
Do you have any traditions that you observe every year?
Igor: Nothing too special to be honest. It is mostly the festive dinner that is a recurring tradition on Christmas. Besides the seasonal decoration of course!
Judith: Christmas used to smell after the photography darkroom, as we created our traditional New Year’s photo during these days. Nowadays we create the annual photo digitally, which allows us to enjoy a long family dinner!
How do you like to decorate your home in the winter?
Igor: Nothing too excessive in my case. My apartment is too tiny and I usually don’t have a Christmas tree. Instead I buy fir twigs, I add light garlands, and a bowl with ginger bread and cookies for the wonderful Christmas scent at home.
Judith: The big difference with the warmer seasons are the blankets: cosy throw blankets to keep warm when watching a movie, reading or checking Instagram. We don’t have a Christmas tree either, but like to hang some light garlands in the pine tree in our garden. We also burn an excessive amount of candles in the winter, which makes it extra cosy.
What are your top tips for keeping plants healthy during the winter?
Igor: Light and water are key to happy plants in winter. Both need to be reconsidered after a sunny and warm summer and autumn season. Light gets scarce and temperatures drop so it is crucial to recheck whether the plants need to be moved to a brighter spot, whether the temperature needs to be regulated, humidity levels, and your watering routine. Usually most plants go into a dormant phase during winter season and should not be overwatered nor fertilised during this season.
Judith: Gathering your plants in small or bigger groups can help your plants survive the winter season, as this slightly increases the humidity levels which benefits the plants. Plus, creating a happy “plant gang” looks nice too! And if the winter is really too long or dark for your plants, using a grow light can help to keep your plants in shape. There are some very stylish grow lights available these days!
What plants flourish in the winter?
Igor: We all know that the Christmas cactus blooms in winter hence its name. But also all tropicals usually flourish year round if the growing conditions remain equally optimal.
Judith: Just like my old-fashioned Clivia that tends to flower in the winter time. It has these bright orange flowers that are not very stylish, but it’s a heritage piece from my family, so it always makes me smile.
What are your favourite French and German Christmas traditions?
Igor: My favourite German Christmas tradition are the Christmas markets. They truly transform a usually gloomy December into a festive, joyful, and bright month with markets popping up on almost every square in town. You go there after work to meet friends, you go on weekends, you eat ginger bread, drink mulled wine, wrapped in warm clothes, a scarf and mittens. It is just fairytale like!
Judith: My favourite French Christmas tradition is the decoration everywhere. From very kitschy colourful garlands and LED-lights in every village, to the amazing shop windows of the big departments stores in Paris. French (and foreign) families bring their kids to admire the animated puppets in the most incredible settings in the heart of Paris. Another must-see during the holiday season is the Château de Vaux le Vicomte. They decorate the interior and gardens of the castle in the most classy way ever, like a classic fairytale. It’s delightful and gives you an instant Christmas feeling.
Shop the Urban Jungle Christmas Wishlist here
Shop the Urban Jungle wishlist here