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