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SOON THE BELLS WILL START*
I don't feel very Christmassy. Even though my cards were all signed, sealed and mailed over a week ago, and I've been to a Christmas market and bought and shipped several presents, I am just not in the Christmas spirit. I suspect part of the reason is that we are not decorating for the holidays. Normally by now, we'd have a tree (even if it wasn't yet all the way decorated) and the smell of fresh pine would have filled the house. There are no cheerful Santas or tomtes or reindeer or angels peering at me from various nooks and bookshelves. The nativity creché is not quietly glowing from the corner of the living room. The stockings aren't hung from the bookshelves with care (they're in a pile to be packed). Even the advent lights and the stars in the windows aren't enough; they don't have enough power by themselves to pull the season down over our house and make it stick.

Maybe it's because I haven't been listening to Christmas music, or because I haven't been out in the stores shopping. Even at the julmarknad we visited last weekend, where there WAS Christmas music playing, it was easy to ignore and we were in and out of buildings so we didn't hear it all the time either. Maybe it's because there's no snow on the ground, or in the air, or in the forecast. It's been pretty much a solid week of grey cloud cover and rain. Not very conducive to that holiday feeling.

At work, our common area table is covered in Christmas goodies, just like every year: huge boxes of candy from vendors, cookies and gingerbread tins from some of the regional marketing people we work with. We have decorations up and occasionally someone is blasting Christmas music, but I feel rather removed from it.

Maybe it's just because we won't be home for the holidays.

Except I WILL be home for the holidays. So, maybe it's just not yet. Maybe it's not Christmas until my family is gathered, jet-lagged and quarrelsome, laughing and hogging the couch, baking cookies together and grocery shopping together and yelling at the kids to get up already and taking turns in the bathroom and playing old board games and doing all the things families do together. It won't be perfect, because my sister and my brother and their families won't be there. It won't be perfect because my dad and my uncles and my aunts and my granddad won't be there. But it will be be close, because my mom and my husband, and my son (!) and my daughter will. And we'll visit cousins and see my grandma, and visit with really good friends, both long-time and longer and I bet by the end of the holidays, I will be so far into the holiday mood that I'll never want to come back again.

***

This week is full again, as we are trying to get all the last things done on the list of stuff that one has to think of before traveling. Plus we are helping to move Anders' mom on Friday, as she has finally gotten a place in an assisted living facility after a very long wait. They gave her a week to decide and then a WEEK to move. Insane. So we are going Thursday to start packing (and choosing, and getting emotional over the whole thing) and Anders is taking the day off Friday with his sister to move as much as possible and then we'll be REALLY trying to get all the last things done before we actually jump straight into the holidays with both feet.

Last weekend, I had a lovely dinner with my two friends and since we still haven't heard anything about reimbursements for our Marrakesh trip, we decided to try to find something else, since the longer we wait, the worse chance we'll find any good prices. We discussed whether or not to still try for Marrakesh, but the shine seems to have worn off that, and after several other destinations were suggested and discarded, we landed on the idea of Lisbon. None of us have been there, it's warm that time of year, and seems exotic enough to fulfill our requirements. We'll see!

Then, on Sunday, I talked Anders into going into Malmö to a traditional Swedish Christmas market, at an old estate where they had several buildings and barns and gardens and tents full of handicrafts and food and even antiques. I bought some little stocking stuffers and we enjoyed the atmosphere, and on the way home, I talked him into going to see a movie on the spur of the moment and it worked! So we drove straight to Lund and went to see Bohemian Rhapsody, which was great, because we both like Queen and despite a pile of historical inaccuracies, the film was fun and moving and funny and Rami Malek's transformation into Freddie Mercury was nothing short of mindboggling. At one point, during the Live Aid concert scene, I honestly couldn't tell WHO I was watching and it didn't even matter, he was that good.

Tomorrow is a lunch with friends, and Thursday is a team lunch with all my excellent colleagues, and then I'm getting Barky whipped into shape for the holidays. If that doesn't put me in the Christmas mood, nothing will! Except maybe the company Christmas party on Friday night (which Karin is also attending, how weird!)! Maybe it's all the incremental events that will ramp up the feeling, despite not having a tree of our own. I am a little unsure whether I will get anything written before Sunday and access from the hinterlands of Michigan will be spotty, to say the least. Happy holidays to you!

*And the thing that will make them ring is the carol that you sing, right within your heart.
 dorky
mood: dorky
music: NOT CHRISTMAS CAROLS


Comments

It is so funny how, as you age, the style of Christmas changes so much. At first, it is quite disconcerting, but you slide into new habits and sometimes wonder how you did everything in those past Christmases.

It is now just the two of us and we don't have children or even family close by, but after the move and getting everything straightened out in a new country, we have settled into a new style of doing things, very low key, but oh so warm and cosy and perfect.

I think that you hit on the reason yourself - those things that are important to your Christmas (the family around you) are not there, so it feels as though that Christmas spirit is missing. Not many sleeps now until you are reunited and the fun can begin.

I'm lucky in that all my Christmas ducks are lined up, so I'm really enjoying the lead up to Christmas and feel in the Christmas mood. We will do Christmas at home and no one else is invited. We will see family in the days before and after which is hugely full on, but with small children all they want is to open presents and be helped to make whatever craft, play the game, assemble the Lego someone has bought them. Christmas for us is a relaxed day of wall-to-wall tv (which we NEVER do so it’s a treat), toys and picky food that can either be bunged in the oven, or eaten out of the packet. And it’s bliss.

I hope you get your money back from your cancelled trip. Lisbon sounds like a great alternative - you have to try Pastéis de Nata while you are there - custard tarts that are so addictive.

I really hope that you have a wonderful time back in Michigan and that the holidays live up to your expectations. ♥♥

(Anonymous)

Well, I am waiting with great expectations....although nothing is crossed off on my to-do list. I decided to make Martin go with me on Saturday to get a tree- he's trying to get me to pick him up on Saturday...I am resisting! As it will be enough work to get him up on Saturday to go get the tree! Cookie baking: I have assigned to Karin and she maybe she can finagle someone to help....All the gifts need wrapping, the house needs cleaning...but the cards are mailed...except 5, and the house is decorated...except the trees,and the Christmas music is somewhere in a drawer..But I am waiting in expectation like my little kids once waited for Santa! Love, Lizardmom

(Anonymous)
From Megsie

Alas, I think I am too late! You are probably already HERE! I hope my Christmas wishes reach you anyway...

I haven't started on anything, but YOU have a lovely, wonderful, and MERRY Christmas!!

xoxoxo

(Anonymous)
Arrrooo From Kansas

We love your photo for this post obviously and loved receiving a Christmas Card from you again this year! Hopefully ours will reach you in Sweden soon!

Heather and the Hounds

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