"Are you ready for Christmas?” was the question of the week. Perhaps, it's a conversational breaker, such as asking about the weather or perhaps they are genuinely wondering. What exactly are people referring to when they ask that question? Are they wondering if I have the house decorated, presents bought, cookies baked, or food prepared?
I am proud to say that I've finally realized that we don't need to go overboard to celebrate Christmas. Surely, I've baked some cookies but not like in the past where I'd start in October. Surely, I've prepared some food for Christmas Eve, but not weeks ahead but rather a few days in advance. And yes, I bought some presents, not for 35 people as I've done in the past but for my 3 children. It's nice to be able to ignore the commercial frenzy created around Christmas.
I'll spend my Christmas Eve with family and friends, good food, and Christmas carolling. We have our traditions such as drinking our glögg (Swedish mulled wine), a smörgåsbord for dinner, and rice pudding for dessert. We'll also follow traditions and sing silly songs while we have a "snaps" (a shot of aquavit), in between courses. As a little girl, I would watch my grandmother gently shake her head "no" as my father was about to pour the aquavit into the tiny little shot glass placed in front of her dinner plate. My father would ignore her indication of no, and Grandma would glance around the table with a smile on her face as my father filled her glass . This ritual would repeat itself yearly, so I was waiting for the moment when she'd make a face as the liquor went down her throat, and her face would slowly turn red. The adults would all laugh and glasses would be refilled for the next song and “snaps”. I now know how she felt. I'm not too keen on the aquavit but I don't want to be a party pooper, so I go along. The purpose of the aquavit was to cleanse your stomach and pallet in between meals, especially after eating herring.
For the rest of the Christmas holiday, I plan to take it easy and enjoy the things that bring me happiness such as a brisk walk in the cold; curling up on the sofa with a good book; a relaxing yoga session; laying a puzzle with my daughter, and meeting up with friends.
"So, am I ready for Christmas?" Sure, bring it on. I've managed to avoid traffic jams, line-ups at the mall, and hopefully an over-charged credit card come January so I'm feeling good.