Christmas has always been a special thing to me; it is not an official holiday where I grew up as a child and therefore we can celebrate it stress free. Unlike the traditional holidays, there is no need to prepare for a feast or wish for good fortune or be forced into conversations with unfamiliar relatives… the children simply shared some candies and wish each other merry christmas and that was it. Most of the time we were not even allowed to go home since I was staying at a boarding school. It was better to spend christmas with other children anyway in my opinion, as the 8-year-old me discover a wrapped present (a pencil sharpener) weeks before christmas at home. The disappointment was so enormous that I was convinced that Santa Clause does not visit non-english speaking countries and christmas is overrated. Although I did have lots of imaginations about how christmas is like on the side of the planet, after watching movies like Home Alone and such. Later as a teenage, I realized that students give apples as present in the high school I attended but I have no idea why, since I’ve never found any reference about christmas apples in books like Harry Potter. I actually still don’t know today. Marzipan chocolate makes me feel depress because the association with pencil sharpener that I had to pretend to appreciate. Everything about christmas seems so wrong before I moved to Sweden.
The first christmas here in Sweden, oh dear… I probably did everything that one is not supposed to do on christmas. We were invited to christmas parties and met funny Swedes and of course it involves lots of alcohol and love-making without the love part… and the rest of the holiday season I was way too hangover to realize that I was left alone in a country far away from home at christmas, which is pretty sad while everyone else is spending cozy time their family.
Recent years I finally made peace with christmas. It has been difficult if you have any idea how I hated winter in Sweden. Lack of sun light, bitter cold and slippery icy road in greyish landscape, Christmas has became an escape, and I can just stay at home, light up lots of scented candles and bake. Discovered the scent of Christmas is such a pleasant thing! The Swedish tradition with baking saffron at the first advent. which has became my absolutely best friend in winter time. From the beginning of December, all the convenience store in Sweden smells like saffran and gingerbread. I usually started christmas baking with Stollen, which is rather time consuming and need to wait for weeks before eating. And then saffran rolls with marzipan and vanilla filling (so wonderful that I love marzipan now), and Gingerbread and muled wine after that… Maybe that is why people like to start working out after new year.
I must admit that I still don’t know how to celebrate christmas properly, I’m a terrible presents wrapper and always send out presents too late and never does the decoration right. But I am certainly having fun and enjoying the comfort and coziness with loads of scent and flavours. It feels sad that christmas is over so soon. After new year and my birthday, it seems like the endless winter is ahead of us and I never learnt how to cope with it. Oh well, life is a daily thing and it will go on at its own pace. Soon enough it will be spring and the sun will shine again. Can’t wait!