A Christmas Reflection
It is Christmas Eve.
When I was little the anticipation was for today at 6 pm. That time marked the ceremonial beginning of Christmas at my German grandmother’s. The record would play with the church bells ringing and Santa would arrive. We would hear his bells before we saw him. I vowed every year to remember to ask about Rudolph.
At Oma’s the feast was always the same: ham, her unique potato salad, vienna bread, lime sherbet punch, deviled eggs and a relish tray.
As we got older we couldn’t wait to leave the house to get there. I have no idea how slowly my dad drove to stall on the way there. Even as an adult there was magic for Christmas Eve and we always began at 6 p.m.
After she died in 2000 the holiday was never the same for me. It was not as magical. My mother did not have the ability to recreate the atmosphere nor did she want to. She changed the time, the menu and the schedule.
I thought I would never feel that magic again until a couple years ago I came home to the house decorated for the holiday, the fire roaring, food and drink made and I was transported back again thanks to my husband.
Sadly, the house we are in now does not yield the same hygge feeling. The people are the same but there is no fireplace. There is a different energy here. I do have my memories.
The more I read about Finland, Sweden, Norway and Iceland I feel I would be comfortable there. A lifestyle of being outside in the snow, saunas, reading, and great coffee sounds perfect to me.
Next year I must remember to begin the Icelandic tradition of Jolabokafiod — the Christmas Book Flood. It is a tradition of giving books and chocolate to friends and family and to spend the day reading. The perfect way to spend the day in my opinion.
Today it is 51 degrees and there is no snow. There is no traditional menu tonight but I have books given to me by friends. I think a day of reading is the perfect way to spend today. Maybe I will take the kids to the used bookstore later to pick out a book or two to begin anew.