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I DON'T KNOW IF THERE'LL BE SNOW, BUT HAVE A CUP OF CHEER
I joke about stressmas, but the truth is, I love Christmas preparations and I love Christmas. I do as much as I can to make sure that the holiday magic is there for both myself and my family. If that means knocking myself out for a month, so be it. The thing that actually causes the stress is that I can't leave off doing all the regular daily stuff to just concentrate on the holidaze!

Christmas wouldn't be Christmas without the cookies, the tree, the ornaments, the nativity and all the hope that goes with it, the decorations, the cookies, the smell of pine and cinnamon, the COOKIES, the presents wrapped gaily under the tree, and the feeling of peace and optimism in the air. It doesn't take presents and it doesn't take snow and it doesn't take a belief in Santa.

I knock myself out putting together a letter and writing and addressing cards because I want people to know I'm thinking about them, and to fill them in on what we've been up to, and because I love getting cards in the mail myself.

I knock myself out getting all the decorations unpacked and set out, and decorating the tree because I want the people who come over during the holidays to feel like they've entered a warm and magical place full of pretty lights and colored balls and silver reindeer that might...might take a leap into the air at any moment. I knock myself out to preserve and continue the traditions that I hold dear, that remind me of home and childhood, to give those as the biggest gift each year to my own children so that they, too, will think there is something special in the air, something worth working hard to create and uphold.

I knock myself out collecting gift ideas for my family, and finding perfect presents throughout the year, because I think gift-giving should be a fun and personal thing (even if the last-minute stress to finish in time isn't always fun). It makes me feel good to give someone something they want or need. It's a joy to see the excited smiles on my children's faces and the mounting anticipation as the day draws near, and it's a thrill to watch them learn the joy of gift-giving for themselves. This year, they have both been busy and secretive with things they are making and preparing and wrapping (with much tape) as gifts for others. And yes, of course, it's fun to get things I want and need, too. :)

The music of Christmas makes me happy. Our concert today was wonderful. It was at Katrinetorp, during a huge Christmas market and we performed in the large salon of the old manor house with its high ceilings and trompe l'oeil wall murals. We sang in Swedish, Italian and English. The room was nearly full when we started and as people heard the singing, more and more came in until the back of the room was 3-deep in spectators. We rocked through Staffansvisan, Santa Baby and Rudolf Med Röda Mulen, and swung through White Christmas and Were You There on That Christmas Night? and crooned through several others. People were singing along, smiling, nodding their heads in time to the music. They applauded louder with each consecutive song. I felt like we were hovering off the floor by several inches.

Afterwards, I walked through the market, soaking up the smell of cinnamon and apples, but since I didn't have any cash on me I didn't look too closely at anything. Then I flew to IKEA and I have never, in 10 years, EVER gone through IKEA so fast. I swear it's true, I was there for maybe 15 minutes and there was NO LINE in front of me when I went to the cashier. Granted, I went straight to the bath department and grabbed the shower curtain liners I was there for, but a few other items managed to jump in my bag on my way to pay (wrapping paper, carrot-cake-scented tea lights, glass candle bases). I swung by a mall that is on the way home and picked up the printer toner and batteries and now the Christmas cards are 2/3 done and both trees have lights and the big tree is 1/3 decorated.

I may actually finish everything with a couple of weeks to spare if I keep up this pace!

Candy-Coated Cupcake Birthday Wishes to fiveandfour and tallefjant!
 cheerful
mood: cheerful
music: Blue Rodeo—Til I Am Myself Again


Comments
(Anonymous)

The concert sounds so much fun! Our choir doesn't have concerts like that. :( The Uppsala choir has a concert up there today but the concert that would take place here in Stockholm got canceled. We have to "find" events to perform - we are not invited. But now our choir leader Caroline af Ugglas is shown everywhere in media and will take part in Melodifestivalen - perhaps this interest will rub off on her choir too so that we get more "invitations" :) At least we are recorded on Stefan Sundström's CD! Haha.

(Anonymous)

Me above!

/Mia

http://mias.blogg.se

that's pretty cool! The only CD we are on is Sånger för livet from last year, but since it is 3000 choir members it hardly counts. :P

We have to go out and solicit concerts, too. There are several members who do that. Most of our concerts come through the healthcare system since our choir was originally the Malmö hospital choir many years ago. That's why we get the gigs at the elderly care homes and at the hospital itself. We have yearly engagements for things like Valborg and Julmarknads which is nice. :)

I think at least 70% of the non-professional choirs and orchestras have to seek their performances rather than being asked to perform. Some are better than others to build up a network of contacts, which helps a lot. For the leader, it is important that most of the members can participate, or otherwise it will get embarrassing if you have begged and asked nicely to hold a concert, and then you find a lot of members can't or don't want to be part of it.


things always jump into baskets at IEKA.

The IKEA store layouts are templates for the seven merchandising levels of temptation...a hell in its own right.

And I didn't even go upstairs!!

Thank you - - it was a great day thanks to my family.

::Goes back to working on her own Christmas letter::

You are the Christmas Fairy Queen. It reminds me of me, when the chitlins were small. And now I will have one back this Christmas, unexpectedly. So shifting gears here a little today, mentally anyhow~~ I'm not sure quite how it will look yet... but maybe there will be a tree...

(Anonymous)

okay, first! Blue Rodeo!!!! oh yippee! So they've made it all the way to your sweet shell-likes in Sweden! that's so GOOOOOD to know, 'cuz they so deserve major success outside of Canada and they never seem to get it!

And you are SUCH an excellent Holiday Maker! Though how you manage all this AND continue to post regularly, I will never know!

xoxox Wee

I've had their first CD for years and years, since I lived in Chicago. I love them! They used to play them on WXRT all the time :)

(Anonymous)

I actually interviewed them a long time ago when I was studying journalism. They are phenomenal in concert... such great musicians.. and so down to earth. And I would bet 4 out of 5 Canadian women have a major crush on Jim Cuddy. In person, he looks like a slightly weathered, taller version of Viggo Mortenson. Yum. We have every single one of their albums... Johnny Rocker is a major, major fan.

(Anonymous)

o, yeah... that was me, Wee, again!

Travelertrish sent me your way, and I have enjoyed reading your blog. Hope you don't mind, I put you on my friends list.

Of course I don't mind, you're very welcome :)

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