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ROCKING AROUND
The surface of the desk is strewn, STREWN I TELL YOU, with the detritus of Christmas: cards, postcards, envelopes, pens, lists, address books, newsletters, photo pages, school photos, a stapler. There is a small stack, slowly growing, of sealed and addressed cards. There are no less than 3 address books. Underneath it all somewhere are the final shopping lists of gifts yet to be bought: a niece, a nephew, my husband, my soon-to-be-sister-in-law, my own. The mailing date for cards overseas is the 16th, I've been told, and I still have a package to mail after those final gifts are bought. Will it get there in time?? Only Santa knows.

Today, after Anders and the kids got back from the Scout Christmas party, we went tree-hunting. Up in Odarslöv, we turned in at a gravel road to follow a sign, block-lettered in black on a sawhorse: Julgranar till självhuggning (Christmas trees for self-sawing...self-cutting? self-chopping!). They were very fine trees, and several were that particular silvery blue that reminds me of, but isn't, blue Spruce. However, after a brief walk around the small lot, we came to the conclusion that despite their finery, there were none that were OURS. They were too big, too tall, too skinny, not right. We did pick up a small one for the playroom tree though, to the kids' delight. (We have 2 trees! A tree in the playroom! Doesn't that sound like something out of a British kidlit book? Where's my figgy pudding??)

Then we headed up the hill to Dalby's Tree Nursery, where we have been lucky the last several years, in the acres and acres of trees. This year, we were even luckier, when a tree that was near the beginning of the walk up the hill, right on the side of the road, leaped out at me, and said, "ME! TAKE ME! I'm perfect!" I stood and looked at it for a bit, and asked Anders what he thought, and then decided, rather callously, that I couldn't just take the first tree that professed to be OURS and I turned my back and we went on. But you know, I kept looking back as we walked. Was it a little too yellow? A little too skinny? How could we have missed it the last few years if it really was as perfect as it professed to be?

We turned off through the bent wet grasses, on a little trail into the center of a tree lot, surrounded by tall kungagranar, otherwise known as Nordmann Firs. They have flattened needles, shiny and very dark green above, a silvery blue below. I found them referred to as the "rolls-royce" of Christmas trees when I searched for them online. Funny, because when we first moved to Sweden, I was appalled at the "charlie brown-ness" of the typical Swedish Christmas trees...they have very defined "layers" of branches and consequently look a bit sparse inbetween, and when you are used to the more typical bushy-looking trees like we used to get in the States, they just look ridiculous. :) They DO show off ornaments quite nicely, though.

Anyway, after only a few meters of walking and searching and staring down each tree, I could still hear that first one calling me. Anders was behind me, the orange saw hanging from one hand, the kids were galloping ahead zigzagging through the grove, looking for a place to have a hideout. "I don't know," I said as I slowed to a halt, "...that first one was pretty good, wasn't it?" Anders agreed that it was. I hollered for the kids and back we went to stand in front of it again. I walked to one side and then to the other. It wasn't too skinny, although it was a bit on the yellower side. It didn't have any noticeable "holes" and the top looked like it wouldn't need any surgery. "Were you right here last year?" I murmured to it, but my voice blew away over the trees. We brought it home and gave it water. It goes up tomorrow and gets lights, and we'll spend the rest of the week decorating both of them, the big and the small.

On the way home, we stopped at the post office to pick up the parcel for which we'd received a notice on Friday. It was from my grandmother: 3 containers of her unbeatable delicious taste-of-home-and-childhood gingerbread cookies! Nothing says Christmas to me like my grandma's gingerbread cookies. :) C'mon Santa, I'm nearly ready!

***

For my sister, whose heart is hurting: Rest in Peace, Gizmo
 content
mood: content
music: Sissel Kyrkjebø—Nu Tändes Tusen Juleljus


Comments

I hope your overseas mail will make it. I just had a look at the red envelope/advertisment from Posten, and according to that schedule, an overseas package should've been posted on December 2nd, and the deadline for a card or letter was the 10th, this Saturday. :-/ Express and Rekommenderat (registered?) is sent according to "regular timetable", whatever it means.

eeeeeeeek!
stupid posten!!

Oh well, not the end of the world if they don't make it. The package is going to Germany, actually, not the US, so I still have hope.

I love a house that is cluttered with Christmas!

I join you in wishing for peace for your sister.

(Anonymous)

Thanks Seester and friend!



Liz I had such a huge grin reading this--it is SO the way I've always hunted for a tree with my family. Trees DO talk, don't they? And it's funny because my Christmas holidays are very European by tradition (very German, actually) and I always had a Fir as a tree and put real candels on it (the spaces between the branches afford for this nicely)... but when I met my husband it took the world to convince him this Charlie Brown version of a tree was the way to go. He grew up with the big bushy beauties that are like nine feet tall and all needles. I can't wait to see pictures of your tree, fully decked out.

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