My cousin left a comment on my last post that made me think that things are done differently in Sweden these days. And of course things do change everywhere. But I treasure my memories, so back to my childhood where we went shopping for the Christmas tree the week before Christmas. Imagine that – so late, compared to the way it is done here and now. In Sweden we celebrate Christmas with a family dinner on Christmas Eve. After dinner the presents, jul klapparna, are shared. In my family we dressed the tree the evening before Christmas Eve. On the morning of Christmas Eve, the tree was up; it was fresh and smelled heavenly. I will never forget the Christmas Eve mornings of my childhood.
The evening before Christmas Eve was bustling with activity at our house. We dressed the tree and wrapped our presents. My parents waited until we went to bed and then wrapped ours. Everything was hush, hush and secret. The presents were wrapped and sealed with lack (I can't remember the English word for that red stuff that sealed envelopes and documents in olden days, so please let me know if you recall) and stamped with an insignia my Dad had.
I love this photo of my parents when they were first married, I'm sure they are both composing their poems here.
Both my parents were very good writers and my Dad was a great poet. He would write poems for every occasion and never more than at Christmas time. He came up with the most wonderful verses and rhymes that were then attached to each present. Rhymes on presents were a tradition in our home, but I don't know if it's a Swedish tradition or where it came from. The rhymes always hinted at what the present might be. So my brother and I had a lot of fun looking at the rhymes the next day, trying to figure out what might inside the packages. I still remember how thrilling it was to wake up on the morning of Christmas Eve, full of delight and anticipation. On a dark and cold morning the tree with its pretty ornaments, the candles and the star on top always took my breath away. When my brother and I were small, there would be just a present or two under the tree. We would get one or two that morning to keep us quiet and occupied until the evening when Santa, in the form of our Grandfather, would come walking through the snow carrying a large burlap sack full of presents.