Sunday, December 21, 2008

No parties

Our traditions, way back then, allowed nothing but work before Christmas. We cooked and we cleaned and we made presents. No matter how good our intentions were, we never were ready, and we had to sit up half the nights to finish the embroidery on a table cloth, or knitting the last sleeve on a sweater, If it was something that was noisy, like sawing on a project or hammering, that had to wait till the house was empty. Painting the project could be done somewhere provided the smell didn't wake up the sleepers. My youngest reminded me that I would become 'stressed' and no wonder. I was not very smart when I decided I could make all my own Christmas cards. And all the gifts for friends and neighbors were homemade goodies.

And then came Christmas and we spent the days with family. Sam's brother and family came for the big dinner. His mother and step father, his brothers in-laws and the three little cousins. The Wilsons were fun and helpful, Sam's sister-in-law gave our girls the neatest presents. Good GIRL things. Things I would never think of. And our girls treasured her.

Second Day Christmas in Sweden was a real holiday. Stores were closed. And no work would be done. That's when all the parties began. The period between Second Day Christmas (we called that day Annan Dagen) and Epiphany was a time of continuous parties. On Epiphany (we called it Thirteenth Day) was usually a huge children's party somewhere. They came to the house to strip the tree of all decorations. Many of the decorations were edible, such as ginger bread cookies and nuts and candy canes. They got to keep whatever they took off the tree. We had only real candles in the tree, and in many cases the tree would be hauled out of the corner of the room so we could dance around the tree. With the candles burning. Even for our School Party the giant tree in the gym would be aglow with candles and we would dance till long into the night. Our trees were probably fresher than the average tree in this country, but I never heard of a tree catching fire.

At our house, if it was our turn to have the party for the children, after the tree was denuded we would pull it through the house and out the front door and next day it would be moved to the back of the wood shed were it would linger until the evening before May 1. when it would be used for the fire down at the beach. I have mentioned it before but that was called Valborg's Masso Afton and I will tell you more about that when we get closer to May1

Meanwhile, I hope all of you will have a wonderful, blessed Christmas. I feel as though all you readers now belong to my family and I feel much enriched by your well wishes. Gertrud

24 comments:

Melissa Weisbard said...

I truly enjoy reading your blog posts. It is wonderful to read about your family holiday traditions. Have a Merry Christmas and God Bless.

Anonymous said...

Have a lovely holiday and new year. Thank you so much for the wonderful stories. I have enjoyed them all and I get so excited when something new is posted.

AmyM

Anonymous said...

Merry Christmas & Have a Happy and Healthy New Year

Fire Fox said...

Thank you for sharing those wonderful traditions and poignant memories with us! You write very well, and it is a pleasure to stop in and visit your blog! Happy Holidays and God Bless.
Alison

Stella said...

Your blog has been one of the high points of the internet year!

I am now regularly eating Spinach and Blue Berries because of you.

Blessings for a Happy Christmas and Healthy New Year.

Jo in Minnesota

Emiana said...

Three Cheers for Gertrud!! You gave us all - strangers and not - the best presents this year: stories that inspire, give courage and make the imagination soar to so many different places. God Jul to you and yours!!

Anonymous said...

Agreed with everybody - your writings have been a real treasure this year. Thank you for sharing. Happy holidays to you and a wonderful 2009 as well!

Anonymous said...

I have enjoyed reading your tale, my mother is about 2 years older than you and moved with our family to Montreal from Stockholm when I was 12. Her family was from Smaland which is not too far from where you grew up. My mom though spent the first part of her life in Stockholm.

God Jul och Gott Nytt Ar.
Marie-Louise in Calgary

Della said...

Merry Christmas and Happy New Year!!

Barbara said...

Yes, we love you and wish you the best possible holiday!
Barbara

Anonymous said...

Thank you for your wonderful Blog.

I wish my Grandmother would have created something similar ...

Have a wonderful Christmas with your family!

eborah said...

Thank you so much for sharing your memories with us.
Wishing you have a wonderful Christmas and all the best in 2009.

eborah said...

Thank you so much for sharing your memories with us.
Wishing you have a wonderful Christmas and all the best in 2009.

Melissa said...

Thank you for brightening my day through your wonderful stories. I'm so happy that you are sharing them with us.

Merry Christmas and Happy New Year! :)

Anne said...

A very blessed Christmas to you too, my dear Gertrud. Your blog was the best gift I received this year. I know I've said it before, but reading your entries makes me feel like I'm sitting in your cozy kitchen having a cup of coffee and chatting easily about memories. Thank you for sharing your memories with us.
Love, Anne

Haphazardkat said...

Your Christmas times sound wonderful and full of all that is what Christmas should be--and has somehow been forgotten.

Stay safe in all this snow! I hope your family makes it safely to you to spend Christmas together.

Thank you, again--for your magical blog.

Kat
Vancouver, WA

p.s. I have created a new blog of all the iPhone pictures I take on my daily walks in Portland.
Its at http://iphone-city.blogspot.com

Anonymous said...

I came here via Shreve's blog several months ago, and I am really enjoying reliving your life with you. Thank you so much for sharing all of these memories. I grew up on the Peninsula and still live in San Francisco, so I feel like so many of these things have happened in my backyard!

Have a very merry Christmas and happy New Year.

-Gina

Erin Ruth said...

Thank you for your wonderful stories! Have a great holiday & a happy new year!

Sandra @ The Memory Workshop said...

Merry Christmas!

Anonymous said...

Merry Christmas...Thanks for the memories...Buzz

BumbleVee said...

A very Merry Christmas Svensto.. I, like many of the others, have been enjoying your blog from the beginning. Thanks for a lovely read...

Arinn said...

Reading your stories is always so wonderful. I'm really happy you've decided to share this all with us! Happy Christmas and I hope 2009 is really wonderful for you.

Julien said...

Happy day, Gertrud! Best holiday wishes for you and your family! Your stories have made my year even better. Thank you...

Anonymous said...

Absolutely RESFRESHING,what a Bright way of looking at things and Gift for storytelling you have,bless you,terri,nebraska