Christmas started when me and my mother took the train to Stockholm to visit my father during the holidays. My parents who have been divorced for the last 25 years still manage to maintain a good friendship – most of the time, and it has become a bit of a “family” tradition to spend Christmas together.
While Christmas has a religious foundation, sadly now (and for quite some time) it seems to be more about buying stuff no-one really wants and gluttonous overeating. Years ago our family stopped with Christmas gifts but we still succumb to the second of these modern times Christmas commandments. So it is perhaps not strange that the two of them have for weeks (if not months) been very concerned with what we should eat, how much of it, and when we should cook what.
Immediately upon entering dad’s place I too food-obsessed turned on the stove to heat some food and with a fiery explosion worthy of New Years Eve (mild exaggeration) the white enamel beast died. In less than a couple of seconds I manage to think: Oh no! How could we cook the turkey without a stove? What about the ham? Prince sausage and meatballs? What about the freaking potatoes? The frozen turkey will not fit in the microwave… And really! the meatballs has to be fried! Maybe we still have time to buy a new stove… What about take away Thai food?
A few seconds later it turned out that the disaster was only a minor misshapen due to a popped Electricity stopper, and hope for a gluttonous Christmas was alive once more.
What followed was a classic Christmas á la my family. Too much food, even more chocolate and sweets, watching nature documentaries on TV (I think I watched more TV during the holidays than the rest of the year), manic jigsaw puzzling from dawn to dusk, a few cold walks and getting my butt kicked in Trivial Pursuit and Alphabet.
One thing that was very different and amazingly liberating was that I made myself completely unreachable for anyone who was not present. I turned off my phone, my computer, I did not log in on FB, with a work-related exception I did not send any Christmas cards (I regret that a little bit… but time was sparse) – I did not even check my emails. I barricaded myself from most outside impressions and allowed myself to focus on my family that I see too rarely.