Tuesday, December 23, 2008

Deck the Halls
Since I can not invite you over, dear far away friends and family, I thought I would show you how things look this season in the new house. We got decorations up the 13th, 14th, and 15th.

It's nearly Christmas Eve, which in Sweden is the day Christmas is observed. I can report more clearly on the sequence of events after we have participated, but it involves a Donald Duck show the whole nation watches at 3pm, Santa coming during the day while everyone watches this show, then eating lots of pickled fish. More to come on that. We plan to spend the day with the SwedeSister's family for a Swedish Christmas observation, then have our own American style celebration on Christmas Day.
One observation about Christmas here is that Sweden has noticeably less consumer madness than the States, when it comes to Christmas. The SwedeDaddy and I made it out last night to do some shopping, and even in the major city nearby, just days before Christmas, everything was closed down at 7pm. Imagine that, Swedes would rather work sane hours and spend time at home during the holidays than boost the GNP. Very Swedish.
Also, since Christmas eve is the day Christmas is observed, there is one less day to shop and receive mail. I was thinking this was what was tripping up the order I made from Amazon.com in the UK, until I tracked my order and read the fine print that says allow 3-5 days for shipping, or up to 28 if you are outside the UK. So, we had to go out and replace a few gifts ordered two weeks ago I thought we would be getting.....some of those Christmas gifts for the girl may be February Birthday gifts instead....Plus, we are scrambling trying to make sure we have all our Christmas Day needs met now - do we have tape? enough wrapping paper? eggs? butter? as there is no all night Wal Mart to turn to, or 24 hour Walgreens if we find something lacking for our holiday celebrations.

I kinda like the old school 70's gnomes...
And lest you confuse me with someone who blogs about their craftiness, I picked up this needle point where old craft go to die, the local thrift shop. The abundance of 70's gnomes and Christmas fabrics are exciting, the possibilities there are vast enough to make me wish I was a craftier momma. I am sure I could make a cool retro something out of all those old gnome-y fabrics. And old school gnome- fabrics are all over the thrift stores, since Swedes like to put up special Christmas curtains, seasonal and often tacky curtains just for the holidays.

On Selecting a Christmas Tree
Our motto when our daughter was young was "Listen to the Baby". We found that when you routinely meet a child's needs, they stay adept at concisely expressing them, and we found her requests overall very reasonable- calls for comfort, nourishment, etc. As she grew older, she maintained the ability to express pretty clearly what needed to happen, or what was the truth of what was going on. She was a trust worthy communicator from the start.

We were reminded of our old mantra when it came time to get our Christmas tree this year. It was a snowy weekend and we had fantasies of taking her out in a sled and selecting a tree from a nearby tree farm, cutting it down ourselves, and joyfully hauling it back home... and then decorating it, and perhaps making a few cookies by the wood burning stove.

It was beautiful, snowy, and felt very Christmas-y the weekend we were decorating. A grassroof "smurf" house we passed on our ride

We thought this all would take a few hours. 'Time Optimism" is a concept in my husband's family, a disorder he and his father are both often accused of. Well, we had a date the night before the designated tree cutting day, and our little one had a successful sleepover at her cousin's. So reality was we did not wake up or pick her up in time to execute the big tree plan. We were not in the car and actually leaving for the tree farm town until about noon. Not to mention we were pretty sure we had not moved the Christmas tree foot, so we had to locate one of those as well, in order to complete the tree decoration plan that day. I think maybe I thought our new tree would somehow be 'metric' or something, and not get along with our old AMERICAN stand. (Dumb move, my advice to all who move, and must make those keep or toss decisions that come with it- bring the Christmas tree stand. It is an annoying thing to spend money on. )

But still, in our time optimism, we were driving towards the forest and describing going in and cutting down our own tree to our daughter, which sounded like lots of fun to us, and it became remarkable that no matter how much enthusiasm we couched this plan in, she always responded "No, lets BUY a tree this year, and go cut one down NEXT year!" For a three year old, I was simply impressed with the fact that she was able to make plans for the coming Christmas, already internalizing the flow of annual holidays. But after several discussions to this effect, and her persistent request to BUY a TREE from a STORE, both the SwedeDaddy and I began to listen to her, and were finding it spooky she was so insistent. We were both reminded of the old mantra- 'listen to the baby'. It began to seem she was channeling some good advice...So we cut the trip short and headed to a tree lot we saw in town.

We bought our tree at a lot down near the local grocery store. Our purchase supported our local rotary club, or Lion's club, or whatever. Swedish trees are generally smaller, and there were a lot of "Charlie Brown' style tree's- short and sparse. But still, we found one just right for us:
Our daughter also had been saying all along "don't forget the free one for me! The little one that is just for me!" Again with amazing recall, she was remembering that the guy who sold us our tree last year. He had taken the branches he trimmed from our big tree and put them in a little wood foot, and gave her her own 'tree'. We asked the sales guy this year if he could do something like this for us, and he kindly gave us this little tree bit he had trimmed up, which the SwedeGirl set up in her room with some colored lights she had picked out to decorate her room with.

It was the day we had celebrated Lucia, so she was still wearing her outfit. She loves her tree!

Next year we plan to play the 'go find a tree in the forest' game, and do the adventure version of tree shopping. As it was, it took us another 4 hours of shopping and driving to locate a tree stand for under $45 (it was $20 in the end) so it was just as well we did not try to haul a crabby kid through the woods with an axe. It turned out getting all we needed to decorate was hard enough with out involving actual saws or sap. This year, we listened to the baby.

1 comment:

lornadoone1972 said...

hiya lovely - fabulous decos - the house looks great and i LOVE Swedegirl's tree... i think that is something we may do with teeny fleener as it is such a lovely idea... thinking of you over there and sending you the happiest happiest yule time love and best wishes from Doone, Alex and Teeny!