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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?

***

Super Stupendous Simply Tremendous Birthday Wishes to georgiamars!
 busy
mood: busy
music: Susheela Raman—What Silence Said
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Comments

The first Christmas that G spent in Sweden after we were together made him realize that there wasn't a single thing at his family's julbord that I could eat. I'm sure it never occurred to him before what vegetarians might make of the traditional offerings but as we are always at my mom's for Christmas, it's not a problem.

I am not yet ready for the holidays, though thinking I might actually do something this year, which would put me ahead of last year.

Not even boiled potatoes or crackers and cheese? We had bread and butter on the buffet today, too. *rolls eyes*

Well, I wasn't there so I can't say, though usually, at non-Christmas gatherings, I end up eating a hard roll and then, naturally, cake and coffee. I've taken to eating at Farmor's before we go out.

And about time, too!

We always have Christmas at L-G's brother's house. If all the kids are there, it is 14 people and of those 14, half are vegetarian (though 2 of those are "flexitarians"). So we have a somewhat different julbord from the average. We still have the herring, smoked salmon, reindeer sausages, prinskorv, ham etc because L-G's mum and at least two of the others are carnivores with attitude. But we have a huge array of vegetarian food. That is my department - I make a theme for the year and then make up several things that people can fill their plates with - lots of nibbles, casseroles, salads, pies, dips etc. It's always colourful and appreciated by everyone. There is nothing worse than a vegetarian being faced with a limp piece of iceberg lettuce and half a tomato and told that is it!

I hate to tell you that I love Julmust and am excited that Soda Stream have a julmust flavour :)

I'm pretty lorganised at this stage. Gifts bought and wrapped, including L-G's birthday present next week. I can't even be bothered thinking about my own birthday just after Christmas (what were my parents thinking?). My cards are written, addressed and the overseas ones posted. Swedish and Finnish ones can be posted next week. And I've got this year's vegetarian julafton meal organised in my mind. I still have baking to do, but I'm feeling quite relaxed. Probably means we are in for disaster....

Flexitarian?? What does that mean? "Scruples, schmuples, pass the salmon?"

Ha, ha. It's the term we invented to cover the fact that people like L-G and his oldest son Micke usually prefer to eat vegetarian, but will eat what they are served without a fuss - ie they are flexible.

The others however are militant vegetarians, likely to create a scene if there is no vegetarian food.

Julmust is nothing like rootbeer except that perhaps one has to grow up with either of them to appreciate them. The flavor though is not similar at all. I do love rootbeer, but can not find the goodness in a glass of julmust. Blech. haha

DO NOT compare julmust to root beer! :-)

Seriously, they're not similar in taste. I tasted root beer once and had to force myself to swallow a mouthful.

I can't think of anything else it's close to!

Hehe, I'm addicted to NotAlwaysRight too. Very, very bad for productivity. A lot of things I hear about Sweden sound absolutely lovely, EXCEPT for the food, which would be a deal-breaker for me... you know, in the fictional future where I am offered a fabulous job in Sweden that I must then turn down because I am so fundamentally opposed to herring. And onions. And herring. Although the drinking songs I've heard at Swedish parties might be awesome enough to negate the food!

You don't have to eat the herring, though, I swear. And actually, it's the SURSTRÖMMING that's the deal-breaker! :D

Oh my heavens. I caught a whiff of that stuff once at a midsummer's party. I promptly died.

I'll take your julmust and raise a svagdricka! I consider that a 50-50 mix of julmust and beer, which is truly horrible to drink.

Ready for Christmas? Err.. only yesterday, I promised myself a Xmas present: to once in a while clean up my own home to look somewhat decent before Christmas. Yes, I call it a present to myself, which perhaps makes part of you shudder. :-D

(Anonymous)
*taking note*

okay, so when I come to Sweden it can't be during December because I will die without fruits and vegetables-- that's all I eat (well, obvs, plus nuts and oatmeal and quinoa, etc.) I love salmon but, maybe one a week?

Yes, I think it will have to be full on summer time for my visit to you! and I cannot wait til I can make it happen!!

~bp

Re: *taking note*

You come WHENEVER you can and we'll fill you up with lots of good things. There are clementines all over the place right now! BUT if you come in the summer? Fresh Swedish strawberries...mmmmm...and new potatoes. O! JOY!

(Anonymous)

Beat ya - Christmas cards out today, all presents were purchased by Saturday night. (Ok, unfair - I only have two people to buy for and they were Target gift cards!) I will have to side with bp as well - I love meat, but really don't like fish all that much (having grown up in a landlocked state where fish means catfish -ew!), so I shall have to visit Sweden in the summer.

I hate to break it to you but fish, especially herring, is YEAR-ROUND in Sweden! :D

(Anonymous)

I know, I know. Oh well!

(Anonymous)

And I always forget to sign my name!!! AAAAGHHH!

Heather (and lions and tigers and bears, oh my!)

(Anonymous)

And I always forget to sign my name.

Heather (and lions & tigers and bears, oh my)

Not only is herring served at least at all three major holidays (Christmas, Easter, Midsummer) but the seasonings also tend to be the same ones everytime. Well, maybe Skärgårdssill etc more belongs to the summer season, but the others: inlagd, matjes, löksill, senapssill, tomatsill and so on tend to be served all the time. Perhaps if people, restaurants and stores limited themselves to three seasonings per holiday it would be a bit more to look forward to.

Almost finished! Wow.
And drat. Drat, I believe that I proclaimed last year that in 2008 I would be done in October (like Uncle Todd) but alas, I have barely begun, aside from a couple of things I picked up in the summer. Christmas will be a lot slimmer this year, so that will help, but the hot and heavy prep begins this weekend.

Just curious - what would you prefer to drink?

I detest Julmust. It's absolutely horrid. To me it tastes the same as CocaCola which is just as bad. But then I haven't had a full mouthfull of either since 1989.

I'm so not ready for the holidays. We're having the family over for the first time ever and it's getting a bit nervous.
Plus being sick for a week doesn't help. I've still not taken the photo of the girls I wanted to send out with the card. Aargh!

*flails*

You guys have been sick for ever!! I hope you are feeling better finally.

I don't think julmust tastes ANYTHING like coke. I pretty much only drink (some) sodas, juice (any kind), or still water, so my choices are limited.

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