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F is for Frankincense, Fire and Family & Friends

Posted by on November 17, 2012


Frankincense has its origins in the Middle East and was one of the three gifts that baby Jezus received on its birthday. By that time it was already a popular product in Asia as a medicin and in North African and Middle Eastern religions as a perfumed cleansing product. The product has made quite a bit of transformation over time. Where at the beginning the raw product was burnt, nowadays you can get easy to use sticks.

A lot of incense that is not used for religious purposes is these days fragranced with additional natural products like roses, cinnamon, cedar, lavender etc. The pure natural product as used in churches and temples is often considered too heavy for domestic use.

Frankincense is a great product to fragrance the house and I think smells more natural than any air fresheners you can buy. If you do not like the smoke / burning, than you can also buy the products as an oil. By adding a couple of drops of oil to water and warming that over a small candle, the water will evaporate and take the oil with it. Leaving a nice and refreshing smell in the house.

I like to burn some incense late in the evening on Christmas day or the day after to remove the smells of food out of the house. For the rest of the winter months I like to do this every now and than as it lingers for quite a long time and makes you feel warm and welcome when you get home after a long day out.


You would wonder what we would do without fire.   No nice cooked meal for dinner, no warm house and no light. Even if you do not use a direct fire for any of these, fire is still used to generate the electricity or gas you need. The best Christmas day for me would be to include an afternoon cuddled up in front of the fire place with a nice glass of whisky and enjoying the company of family and friends.

Unfortunately my current house does not have an open fire place, so we will do with the comfy sofa instead 🙂

The main fire that you will see in most houses around Christmas will be through candle light and potentially the gas oven / hob. Taking images of candles can be tricky but there are some useful tips to think about:

* keep the wick short so you do not get the smoke / wandering light
* if you have different levels of candles, group them so you can see the different flames
* do not use flash as it will most likely overexpose the image
* if a person is wearing glasses, make sure the light is not reflected in it. Although it can give you a funky image, you don’t necessarily want this on the family portrait
* when walking around, keep an eye on candles so you don’t accidentally knock them over or burn yourself

Family & Friends

For most people Christmas will not be the same without their family and / or friends around them. Christmas is often seen as the only time of year that everyone will be together and have a great time. Memories will be rejuvenated and old stories will be retold. Where possible old home movies or photo books will be dragged out to show to new family members or friends.

And of course, new memories are added and as said in other posts photos and videos are a great way to leave a lasting impression. After a family gathering like this, I always like to send the best images to everyone a couple of days later. I try to make a collage of the best images and then use those to send everyone New Years wishes. It’s a great way to finish of the festive season and start a new year.


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