A Very Merry Christmas to You!
It's finally time for Christmas Eve, and I just can't wait for the day to unfold. I hope that it's going to be just as wonderful as usual. This is how we celebrate here at home, in the countryside in southern Sweden.
The big day is finally here. The day that seems larger than life. When everyone has butterflies in their stomachs. Nothing compares to Christmas!
A lot of people had to make vastly different plans for Christmas this year. But we have business as usual here at home. We usually spend Christmas (we celebrate Christmas on the 24:th here in Sweden) at our house. Just us and the kids. It's sooooo cozy! This day is like a big ticking clock. Everyone knows exactly what happens when. Some of us just waaaaait for the next event. While Philip and I run frantically from the stove to the Christmas tree to the bathroom, the closet and the secret little nooks and corners where the presents may or may not be hiding. Who needs help? Are the potatoes done? Did someone just fall on the stairs? Why is the dog crying? And don't move the glass when I'm trying to pour the root beer!
Our Christmas Routine
Night - Sleep as much as possible while also keeping the kids from sneaking up and getting to the presents. Once, one of our kids actually woke up at two in the morning and started opening a present next to the bed...
Morning - The kids get a little surprise inside a santa hat on a hanger next to their beds. It's a paper cone filled with Christmas candy, a clementine and a small gift. The kids finally come down to see if Santa put any gifts under the trees. Oh, Christmas presents!! Are those candy canes in the tree? After that, the kids get a treat in the sofa and then it's time for me and Philip to act surprised. Santa was here?! No way!! We often set the table already the previous night, because we're having a special breakfast today! Cold cuts, nice cheese, fresh bread and the Christmas tomatoes I grew here at home.
Late morning - Doing the dishes, baking bread and boiling potatoes. Philip puts on a nice shirt, Christmas socks and a Christmas tie. Last year was actually the first time in ten years that I managed to get dressed around this time. I even wore a lipstick last year! After getting dressed, it's time to take a Christmas walk in the forest. Philip and I hold hands and just enjoy the day.
Lunch - Chaos! We eat the traditional Swedish herring first and then move on to the main dishes. The kids eat insanely fast. Philip and I have a toast and keep wondering why Christmas food is so filling, while fantasizing about what it would be like to eat in peace. Without having to run to fix someone's number two in the bathroom or keeping the large and hungry dog from walking away with the table on his back.
Donald Duck - Here in Sweden, we have a tradition of watching a Donald Duck Christmas special, broadcasted just once a year. So, this is what we do right after lunch. We have two large sofas now and all of us fit. I try to knit a little, but I always get so tired and usually take a little nap instead. When Pluto starts barking at Chip and Dale, our dog Kuling comes to the television and sits right in front of it so the kids can't see. After that, he jumps up on my husband Philip and gives him a million dog kisses.
Late afternoon - It's time for cookies, spiced wine (non-alcoholic), root beer and fruit. And the gingerbread house of course, while we open the presents! We try to do in a very calm and collected way by giving the presents one by one and then watching everyone open theirs. This is something we treasure. No chaos or rummaging through the gifts. We also try to keep the number of presents down, and instead put some extra thought into each gift. And if we're lucky, Santa might just come walking on the nearby pasture to leave an extra gift that he forgot to put under the tree. The pets get little gifts and plenty of Christmas decorations too! We gave the kids guinea pigs for Christmas last year, so we make sure to celebrate them now!
Evening - Everyone gets to do whatever they want. We usually have some snacks, do crafts, make a fire and just enjoy the day. I might sort my seeds and make a sketch of new growing areas. Or knit. Our youngest usually gets tired at around nine, so he and Philip tend to go to bed at that time. But this is the only time of the year when everyone gets to stay up as long as they want to. Who wins? The rest of us put pillows and a mattress on the living room floor, have Christmas candy and watch old movies together. I cut a few pieces of ham for a late-night sandwich. At midnight, it's time to blow out the candles and help the sleepiest kids brush their teeth and walk up the stairs. They're so tired after this exciting day! One of them might be able to play with their presents for a bit longer. Of course, everyone argues a bit about who managed to stay up the longest the next day!
I absolutely love Christmas! I love preparing for it, and to keep fun secrets. There's just nothing better than watching the kids so excited about this magical day. The best family holiday of the year!
What do we eat then? Well, roast ham is a traditional Swedish Christmas dish that we really enjoy. We also like meatballs, salmon, herring, different cabbage dishes and salads. This year, we decided to have lamb's lettuce with blue cheese, nuts and a delicious dressing.
I wish you a Merry Christmas! It might not be what you expected, but I hope that you still enjoy it and that there's someone in your life thinking about you on this day.
Best wishes from Sara!