December 1st, 2008

christmas

TO LOOK A LOT

ozswede says "get blogging" and her wish is my command. Of course, my motto is: Be careful what you wish for!

I honestly don't feel like I have anything important to write about right now...I'm in that holiday zone, finally. Plus I'm deep in the archives of NotAlwaysRight, laughing my head off on every page.

All the houses in Sweden have their advent lights and Christmas stars in the windows. We took a couple of hours today at work, 3 of my colleagues and I, and drove to our print-house where our account manager had invited us for a holiday lunch. The first julbord of the year! If I hadn't already cancelled TWO of them, I'd have a grand total of 7 (!) already booked on my calendar. Even 5 is pushing my capacity.

One thing about julbord is the dominance of MEAT. Vegetarians and vegans must despair this time of year in Sweden as they survey the buffet tables groaning under the weight of herring and salmon and cold cuts and sausages and Christmas ham and meatballs. The only vegetables on the table today were 2 steaming pans of boiled red cabbage and brown cabbage. Nothing green in sight, not even the usual sliced cucumbers which seem to garnish every Swedish meal. The only other concession to produce were the decorative clementine oranges that dotted the display.

Even after nearly 12 years in Sweden, I'm indifferent to herring, no matter how temptingly arrayed in a gazillion different sauces. Oh, I can eat a piece here or there for appearance's sake, if I feel it's necessary, but the salmon is the only fish on the table that gets me excited. MMMM....salmon. I love that stuff.

The other thing that I have a hard time with at the traditional Swedish julbord is the drinks. Typically, you start with glögg (that mulled wine that is everywhere this time of year), and then at the table there is typically beer, light beer, mineral water and the disgusting julmust which, like salt licorice, I honestly think you must grow up with to truly appreciate. It's apparently like root beer, but never having been a fan of root beer, this stuff doesn't appeal at all. If you're at a dinner party, add aquavit. And afterward, of course, coffee. In this paragraph of drinks, there isn't one beverage which I'll willingly swig. The Swedes who know me have gotten used to my beverage preferences, but I still get askance looks and bewildered comments when I say no thank you to them all and politely, if resignedly, take a glass of water from the cooler or tap, if soda or juice aren't on offer.

Anyway, it was good, despite the lack of preferred drinkables, and the salmon was lovely and for dinner I ate the next-to-last meal of thanksgiving leftovers.

My Christmas shopping is nearly finished...just stocking stuffers and a few things left for the kids, plus birthday presents for 3 family members that celebrate this month: Martin is turning 11 this coming weekend, and my brother-in-law and mother-in-law follow at the end of the month. The annual holiday letter is written, however humdrum it may be, and cards are being addressed and envelopes stuffed.

Now to find time for cookie baking and Christmas tree hunting, and the first thing Anders has to do when he gets home this weekend is to get the big, heavy boxes of decorations down from the attic so that I can make the house reflect my holiday state of mind. 3 weeks left to Christmas vacation! Woo hoo!

What about you? Are you ready for the holidays, whichever kind you're celebrating?

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Super Stupendous Simply Tremendous Birthday Wishes to georgiamars!
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