Thursday, 24 December 2015


So they say it is Christmas...
It is raining, all shops are open, most have a working day, but the work time requirements of the country of my bosses gives me a day off today. Not that it matters, my only Christmas tradition is to not get dressed and to stay in pyjamas as long as possible.

I sent a few Christmas cards to my oldest relatives. I know it will brighten their day more than it makes mine difficult. The cards without envelopes were found in a give-away box last winter. I made envelopes from discarded printer paper. (Why is there always a page to trash every time I print anything?). Anyway, I paid for stamps and they left here weeks ago to arrive well early.

I also sent my mother a surprise winter flower arrangement through an on-line service, although I am sure it will not be appreciated particularly. She and I will talk over Skype later on today.

We had a winter light-night party two weeks ago with mulled wine, all children, and all close friends. We cleared the living room, got the extra chairs out of the basement, the man made complicated specialities and I went to Ikea for glögg and pepparkakor. A good time was had by all (They also drank all the wine in the house and stayed very late.)

We also walked into a Christmas sing-along concert last week on a shopping street. Not in our town so we stayed and because we got a spot right in front of the speakers, we sang it all until our throats hurt. And although we do not know how to sing, we both have lots of vocal resources (The man used to sing in a disharmonious punk band (imagine that!) and I hold my own with the football claque for my team.) The songs however... I have never ever heard such an inappropriate collection of sad songs for Christmas.
Just listen to this:
Disastrous weather (Let it snow, Winter wonderland)
War (So this is Xmas) - you know the war isn't over
Climate change - no snow in sight (Winter wonderland, Silent night, Jingle bells)
Bullying (Rudolf the Red nosed reindeer)
Broken heart (Last Christmas)
Loneliness (Lonley this Christmas AND A cold cold Christmas)
ending it with an eternal tear jerker (Stand by me).
Well if I wasn't suicidal before...

My culture does Yule and light parties around winter solstice while the religious part of the culture starts mid-November and explodes from exhaustion on 24 December. As self-destructive as you can imagine. As it is Scandinavia, the presents are handed out by what in English is called Santa Claus but actually is more one of the miniature caretakers in the forest and around the farm - tomten - that comes out for Christmas - jultomten. Anyway, presents are given on the afternoon of the 24th. Christmas is over at about 20.00 when the bars open.

The man's Continental culture does nothing for Christmas unless it fits with the person's religious beliefs. It is a church Christian religious festivity, strongly influenced by puritan, Calvinist traditions, thus nothing ostentatious, primarily family only dinners and no presents - although that is now slowly changing and one small present might be given and traded with somebody else's. (The Children get cake and presents on 5 December by Saint Nicholas so not even the children protests.)

We will go visiting family during the weekend, combining it with a weekend away, some steam train riding and some long hikes through the wilderness. I am really lookong forward to the train.


  1. Replies
    1. Thank you Yael, how kind of you. From one non-christian to another, Merry Christmas!

  2. I grew up in a Christian family and I visit them and celebrate with them, without having the same beliefs. At our own house, we have a Christmas tree and exchange small gifts, but mostly we like the time off work, special foods and treats, and general early-winter laziness. A train ride and hiking sound perfect! (It is rainy and mild here on the east coast of Canada too).

    1. I love decorated trees too. We went for a long walk looking through the windows at all the nice ones. And then there was laziness although that is normal here.