First of all: Thank you Lizzie for inviting this idle CC-member into this December project. It has made me take the time to sit down on my couch and take a break from the last busy days of Christmas-mania.
Christmas is the time of year where everything can be a bit emotional for human beings. Many have the feeling of being alone, some feel that it's time to close the chapter of this year and have a fresh start after the season, conflicts arise due to disagreements between new couples trying to build their new, common Christmas with elements from personal traditions, many people struggle with fitting Christmas into their economy. It's no secret Christmas can be rough. But I think it is possible for everyone to find _some_ beauty somewhere in Christmas.
I want to share my "evening before the evening" with The Community.
Since forever Norway celebrate Christmas at Christmas eve, not Christmas day. The 24th is not a working day after 12 o'clock. Many companies are closed and still it is illegal to buy wine and stronger drinks like vodka this day in my city (rough experience for fresh Airbnbguests arriving the city this day!). This is why the evening of the 23rd is referred to as the "evening before the evening".
As a child I had finished school two or three days before and had been slumbering in my pj's all day to get into the right state of mind for the holidays. But the morning of the 23rd the slumbering always became harder to achieve. It was the day before! For me this is the day Christmas begins. During the day my mother had a pile of things to finish before the evening the next day. And while she did all this she was waiting for my father to come home from work so she could share her pile. Suddenly the doorbell rang and people came bringing presents, were invited in for different cookies and cakes before they rushed on to the next home. I of course, and my sister, ran to and from the door to welcome everyone. But most of all we wanted to check out the presents. Which we NEVER got a hand on!
At 5 p.m. my father arrived bringing in the Christmas-tree from outside. He could barely take his jacket off before my mother asked a ton of questions which he always replied to with -No, I did not finish this task since I JUST came home from work. Dinner was ready and we sat down to eat... One tired dad, one busy mum, and two girls not being able to not shake and twist their feet under the table.
After dinner the tree was put in it's foot and the decorations were taken from the attic. Some carried by us girls, others carried by my father since it was fragile and easy to break. My father then put the lights on the tree first. EVERY year without checking for broken bulbs.... EVERY year telling us girls to wait for the decorating since he had to locate the broken bulb on the three... We were the same amount of disapproved each time. And finally he made it. My sister and I went on putting the old decorations on to the tree. Each year in awe of the beauty of some of them. Each year with my mother coming to check up on us and then telling us to not decorate only one side of the tree. My father went to the kitchen for the MAN-job: cutting the dried lamb's rib into lengths that would fit the kettle. Lamb's rib that his mother had made us from her sheep in the country side. Lamb's ribs that I never liked and still don't (I have sausages on Christmas eve along with the potatoes and mashed rutabaga. And of course lefse sent from my grandmother.). The dried ribs needs to be watered for 20 hours before cooking as it is very salty.
When we had finished decorating the tree, and the livingroom, and the hallway, and the toilet.... And our bedrooms..., the time had come for the ritual on tv: an insane short movie about a comtesse and her servant celebrating her 90th birthday. After this ten minute movie the children were of to bed. Trying to get some sleep since if sleeping Christmas would come sooner. Childrens logic sometimes work!
I'm 37 years this Christmas. It is still my parents, my sister and I celebrating Christmas eve. But I have my own house and don't decorate my parents house for Christmas on the 23rd. But the traditions are still representing strong feelings to me. I don't like people decorating their trees and houses before the 23rd because then the advent-decorations should still be up (in "like" I of course let people decide about their own traditions :-) ).
And at 37 I still hold 9 p.m. sacred to turn on the tv and watch this short film. I have no idea how this became a Norwegian tradition, but the national televison planned not to send this movie 5 years ago. The population were furious and the broadcaster had to air it.
So with this totally political incorrect film I wish all of you a very nice Christmas. Also the ones that don't celebrate this holiday.
Mariann :-) ❤🎄
Thank you for taking the time to post this! A lovely sharing - and how wonderful to hear of the Norwegian traditions (and how you are keeping them).
Enjoy the week to come, and have a fabulous New Year.
I'm Swedish, moved here as an adult! I even worked in beautiful Norway for a while, on a cruise ship doing the fjords, Sweden and back, that sort of thing.
Neimen! Så kult! Vad tycker du om Australien? Hur hamnade du där? Har det varit svårt att lämna Sverige?
The fjords are the best. I live by most of them and am spoiled rotten... :-)
@Mariann Interesting to learn about your holiday traditions. We definitely have some common traditions and others are brand new to me. Thanks for sharing!
I just saw the movie. Was not expecting it to be in English. So silly!
It is indeed silly! :-D But Christmas is not right without it. For many years I was working late shift and my father had to tape it so I could watch it before going to bed. It's funny how strong those traditions affects us if broken...
I sure hope I am in better control on Christmas day than poor James!!
Although I am sure I have been known to become just a little bit unsteady on my feet at times.
I love your traditions Mariann, do you remember our posts about your costume, and you went to great pains to tell me the tradition behind it and how you honour it!
Your Christmas and mine are far different I am afraid Mariann, Christmas day is forecast to be 37c and the next day which we call 'Boxing Day' for some obscure reason is forecast to be 39c. This will be my first Christmas in 74 where I/we have not had Christmas dinner with my family. My sister asked, but Ade is not up to handling two Christmas dinners in the one day so, we are having Christmas evening dinner with her family and we will catch up with my sister and her husband in the week between Christmas and New Year.
It's a bit sad really, a lot of tradition has gone into three quarters of a century. I have had some memorable ones for both good an bad reasons., One of our nicest, we were able to have a christian family from Cambodia here and we turned on a wonderful week for them which I am sure their children will never forget that time.
My worst, I was 8, it was Christmas morning and Christmas lunch for the whole family was always held at our country property. All the children were sent outside to play, mainly to get them out from under the adults feet while the spread was being prepared.
My father had been trying to kill a snake in a large concrete tank he was going to convert into a swimming pool and had left a .22 calibre rifle leaning up against the wall. In the process of playing I picked up the gun and pointed it at one of my cousins and said, "Put your hands up you are dead" and I pulled the trigger! The bullet went straight through him fortunately missing all the major organs! An ambulance was called, and that was the end of Christmas day 1952.
Richard was ok no lasting damage and no hard feelings but, my relationship with my father was never the same from that day, he thought I was a bit irresponsible playing with guns and I thought he was a bit of a dickhe*d leaving a loaded rifle where children had access to it. We continued that way until the day Ade and I married. At the wedding reception in the bridegrooms speech I said that Dad and I had not always been on the same page but, I thanked him for always being there for me, he started to cry, we gave each other a big hug....... and we mended a few bridges in that moment!
But, that is why, to this day I will not tolerate guns, being around them or having anything to do with them in any way whatsoever!
Hey Mariann, thanks for a lovely post and have a wonderful Christmas possum, I will try and not be like James, but I will definitely raise a glass to you on the day!
I remember our bunad-talk @Robin! So before I reply to your full comment I just wanted to add some pictures of some more costumes (that you call it. We say costume exclusively about dressing up in a costume for carnival or Halloween etc, so for me I just can't bring myself to call these beautiful clothes for costumes...)The first picture is of Her Majesty Queen Sonja (to the left. To the right is our Crown Princess wearing the Hardangerbunad). She is wearing what is considered to be one of the most beautiful bunads in Norway. She's now 80 years old! Imagine seeing Queen Elisabeth wearing something similar?
The next photos are of the excact same bunad. But with different shirts and stiches. If you want to see more colours use the famous G****e search engine for "Aust Telemark Bunad" or "øst Telemarkbunad".
And the last two pictures are of my favourite the "Setesdalsbunad". The very last picture is from all dressed up for a wedding or some other big event. Since I have no connection to that valley I can't have it for myself. ButI love my own bunad from my own city :-)
These clothes are worn at Christmas eve by some people. And to church earlier in the day.
So then @Robin... You are now right in the audience of the people I talk about having to deal with nostalgia this Christmas. Life happens. Traditions change. Some for the good. Some unwanted like yours. You just gotta deal with it I guess. As hard as it sounds. But I think you have lived a long lesson of learning to deal with it the last couple of years. It's rough. But I strongly believe that it is possible to find something new and nice to every strain coming along. I have to. I can't stand the idea of living in bitterness of what might have been.
Last Christmas I was recovering from severe illness. I still am. But I have had an adventurous 2018. Something had to change. So I quit my job and became a full time student in August. At 37. I live on spaghetti and bread. Can't buy new stuff unless I really need it. But life is good! Both because I tell myself it is. And also because it really is. I meet a bunch of new youngsters full of life and curiousity. I learn something new. And I confirm things I already knew. I'm lucky. But I'm also proud of myself for making a decision :-)
So we were supposed to make this a happy project... And here you come along with your attempted murder! What a horror! What a shock! I can only imagine... I consider weapons as tools. I think most Norwegians do. My grandfather was an avid hunter. Took out both moose and raindeer. At one point he also owned a part in a fox-farm. When he died some years back we went to clear out his and my grandmothers house. She passed the year before. I was working hard to help out. Came up the stairs to the second floor only to see his two beautiful rifles lying on the floor. One shaft was made by his brother in law. I had never seen them before even if I knew he used to hunt. But I never saw a weapon-cabinet either. I think he had them in his wardrobe... Anyway! I saw these handcrafted tools on the livingroom floor, then within two seconds I also saw the bullets lying two or three meters from the rifles. And I panicked... Never understood what happened. But I got the distinct feeling that the bullets somehow would manage to jump into the rifles by themselves. I just froze up not being able to take the last two steps of the stairs. Begging my father to confirm that the rifles were empty and to please move the bullets to a different room. My father is no fan of hysteria. But this day he just looked at me and took the bullets into the bedroom and closed the door. I could breathe and went up and looked more carefully at the beautiful work done on the shaft of the rifle. We took both of the rifles and the bullets with us in the car back home to give it to the brother in law. It was his work, he is also a hunter and the rifles were registered so he could have them. My father does not have a license to hunt so he didn't want them.
Why the story? Dunno... Maybe to show what effect guns can have on people. Even if one have a normalized view of guns: they are a tool that need proper handling. I walk through parades of guns on a almost weekly basis. I have spoken of Norwegian gun politics before. But this day I just froze. So I can understand both yours and your father's view about the shocking incident. You were both right. And you were both wrong. And I most certainly can understand why you don't handle guns! Again: what a shock!
So.... Today I started of with taking a young man's life into storage. He's going 6 months to Sydney as an exchange student after Christmas. :-) And then I went on going to the funeral of an 89 year old man. Life is full of contrasts. Yesterday I talked to this young man about his expectations. Tomorrow I'm going to the daughter, granddaughter and great granddaughter of the older man to celebrate a birthday and exchange gifts for Christmas. The first Christmas without his presence. But it is somehow nice. I know there will be stories about a life well lived. And those stories encourage me to make my own stories to be told after I'm not here anymore. :-)
So be like James! Make stories! :-)