Christmas Day

Woke up way too early — was up at 7AM. It was really cold outside, and nothing was stirring. This is the only day of the year when Tim Horton’s Coffee shop is closed. Otherwise it’s open 24/7. Even if I wake up at three or four in the morning, there always a couple of cars moving somewhere. Not so this morning.

I ate too much and too late yesterday, felt slightly uncomfortable and that’s why I woke up.

Gerry’s son Kevin arrived yesterday evening and later we had a turkey dinner.

We didn’t go anywhere or do anything today. It felt like those Christmas Days of my youth when everything stood still like this. We looked at Kevin’s photos from a Caribbean cruise he went on recently, and he got to see all my pictures from my Swedish trip.

Tonight, as I was browsing back one year in my blog, I realized I’ve now had the BlackBerry for one year. Two more to go! I regret it deeply. Not that there’s anything wrong with it, but the whole idea of having a smart phone at all. I have no use for it really — a regular cell phone would have done for emergency calls. I’ll have to live with that decision for two more years no — there’s no going back, but after all that time, lots will have happened in the world of electronics so we’ll see what it will be like then.

seven

Seven posts left, this one included, in the WP-challenge!  Then I’ll go on posting whenever I feel like it, which may be every day, several times a day or … every week. I like blogging, so I won’t give that up.

It’s Christmas Day. I was up at 7AM, and still McDuff and I are the only ones awake here. Gerry’s son is here, visiting from Quebec.

Even though I know that to many people this is the ‘main’ day, to me it still feels like after Christmas Eve it’s almost all over. We had a big turkey dinner last night … rather late, compared to when we usually eat, and I still feel kind of stuffed this morning! That was what woke me up, actually.

In the midst of all my cleaning yesterday, I realized I had to go to the grocery store after all … didn’t have enough coffee in the house! A nice little snowfall started … merely a flurry … as I took off, flakes landed on my nose and lashes as I walked to the car and it was beautiful. I could have taken a walk to the nearest grocery store, but I have a hang-up about coffee, so I had to go to the other one, where they have my brand. In the store it was unexpectedly calm and cool … everyone smiled and said Merry Christmas!

In one way, I would like to go back to bed for another snooze but I think it’s too late because I’ve had too much coffee now. We have no plans for this day, so I may have a rest in the afternoon. The lad has brought some play station and perhaps he’ll busy himself with that.

Hope you’re feeling good, and don’t over-eat! I think I did, and I’m paying for it today.

 

is there anything left that could be said about Christmas?

I suspect most has been said, both in the blogosphere and Facebook. In my stream, in Facebook, there are almost exclusively posts about what they’re cooking and how busy they are. I hope they aren’t too exhausted to enjoy all that food.

Today, in the local news, I heard that they had opened two centres for people who needed counselling during the holiday season. I think that’s a good thing. I can appreciate that people get depressed for a variety of reasons. Not only lonliness and nostalgia for lost loved ones. To toss a whole slough of people together, that normally don’t socialize at all with one another during the rest of the year, can sometimes put a strain on people. They might not even want to be together, but because of traditions and family expectations they have to …

Quite often — especially where I come from — there’s alcohol involved in the celebrations, and that can certainly make old grudges surface. I worked in a small clinic and learned more than I really wished for, about what was going on behind the polished façades.

I think of all the children that have rather learnt to fear Christmas, rather than longing for it … the ones in abusive homes … be it alcohol/drugs or other, unfathomable abuse. Children, who will never get an iPad or the latest smart phone for Christmas … what memories of Christmas do they carry with them later in life!? Children that only saw a Santa that was so drunk so he missed the chair when he tried to sit down … in the best of cases, and the ambulance in the worst!

Then we have all the people who waste all their money on expensive gifts that they really can’t afford, so that they hardly can pay the rent/power- and phone bill in January! Their kids have to have that iPad and latest smart/super phone, because  «all the other kids have one»! Must be getting very expensive to be a teenage parent these days!

Typing down all this, makes me even more aware of how unbelievably fortunate I’ve been throughout life! In my family, there wasn’t any booze or fights … Christmas was peaceful, Mum was the sole provider but she managed to scrape money together for gifts and we never lacked anything the rest of the year either. I’ve been alone for Christmas at times, but never lonely. There’s a big difference here.

Still, I sometimes have mixed emotions about Christmas. I dislike the commercialism about it. It also makes me sad that there are people who are so inconsiderate of their loved ones feelings about Christmas that they don’t do what’s expected of them. It’s such a short time, so how much would it cost to pay a visit, make a phone call to the ones who love you and be thankful that you have people who do love you.

new theme

I’m very pleased with this nice, new theme they just announced. When I read in the email that it was Justin Tadlock who had created it, I immediately thought it was one of those premium themes, but not so! It’s free! Click the link for more info about it. I like also how my little Christmas animal came out in the header 🙂 Doesn’t take much to keep me amused!

I remembered his name from back when I had self-hosted WordPress. For a long time, I used one of his themes, called Structure. It was quite awesome, but somehow it all turned into a pay-site, and I found another good one. I like themes that have lots of features and options.

In connection to last night’s post about Christmas traditions, Swedish national TV announced today, that DonaldDuck will be streamed live online LOL. Only in real time, so I won’t be able to watch it at 3PM but rather 10AM due to the time difference.

Are you ready for Christmas?

That’s a question that Joss brought up in her blog yesterday. I started to write a comment there; it was getting longer and longer …almost turning in to a blog entry of its own. The question has lingered, brought up memories, today as I was doing some cleaning here. Christmas evokes many memories and emotions with people and I’m no exception.

We all have traditions with regards to holidays, and they vary throughout life. I don’t have the same traditions now as I had as a kid, sufficeth to say, as my mom is no longer alive, but back then we celebrated a rather typical, Swedish Christmas. Getting out of bed on Christmas Eve morning was wonderful. The tree was dressed — it was never lit until Christmas Eve, the house smelled good from all kinds of cooking and baking. Even though my mom wasn’t all that interesed in cooking normally, certain things just had to be done for Christmas — that was just ‘the way things should be’. Breakfast would be rice porridge with sugar and cinnamon, a certain dark brown bread. Later on we all had dinner together with her brother and his lady friend, but we had to be back home for 3PM when Donald Duck was on TV. This is (was?) a rather strange, Swedish tradition ever since 1957 I believe it was. The whole country came to a stand-still on Christmas Eve at 3PM because of this. Everybody watched it and knew it by heart because it was the same show each year. Recognition can be powerful. We all watched Santa’s Workshop and waited for some little santa to paint chess boards with checkered paint!!!

When that was over … that was about the time Santa would arrive. I don’t remember how old I was when I realized he wasn’t really ‘real’, but I do remember one year when I got convinced he existed! Santa was late … I kept nagging my mom, wondering WHEN he would show up, so finally she told me to call him and ask. She gave me a phone number. That was it! If Santa had a phone and even picked up, then there was no doubt any more!

Now the anticipation of receiving gifts had been building up for a long time. To be honest, as a child I think gettings gifts was the peak of the Christmas. I can’t speak for everyone but I think it is for many kids. Strangely enough now, thinking back, I can’t remember any particular gift that really stands out in my memory, but I do remember one that my brother got! Maybe because how happy he got and how unexpected it was. He’d been wishing for a certain kind of leather jacket that was popular at the time … perhaps he was sixteen … but he had never expected to  get one.

Early on Christmas Day it was time for Church. 6 or 7 in the morning, depending on which church you went to. We always went to my mom’s ‘home church’, quite a ways outside town. I might add that in Sweden, it’s Christmas EVE that is the big thing.

As I got older, started to work and had a home of my own, things changed slightly. I did all the things that you, as a woman, should do — I cleaned my little apartment as a maniac, regardless of whether it was necessary or not, I cooked most of the foods, I baked even though I didn’t like to bake, but I did cut back on a lot of stuff. On Christmas Eve I had my Mom over, most of the times, and later on we went to my brother, who now had a big family of his own. Then it was all over and I was back with my friends doing what we usually did.

I remember my co-workers, who were all older than I … they were married and had families … talking about all their plans for Christmas … how they were going to either visit with, or having relatives over all the time …lots of events for each day of the holiday. Sometimes when I listened to them, I could feel a slight twist of … not envy, but perhaps longing. It all sounded so nice but also somewhat stressful. Later in life, I’ve talked with one of them about this … she who had the most to do … and as she thought back at these times, she said that she used to feel envious of me!

The last Christmases before I left Sweden, I was living alone and was perfectly happy with that. I’d come to terms with my life and with Christmas too. At that age, I’d cut back a lot … thought it over … and only had the foods that I really liked, brought out a few but dear Christmas decorations, went to midnight Mass in town. I was content with that, but I could sense that I was being pitied by some. One of my friend’s kids … he felt so sorry for me so he asked his mum if they couldn’t invite me for Christmas Eve! She knew better, and explained to him that I was happy with my way of living … she knew me that well.

Little did I know back then, that I would meet Love and move to another country … create new Christmas traditions … having different foods … different decorations, except one that I brought with me 🙂