Swedes often get the eve of a holiday, the actual holiday and the day after a holiday as, well, holidays! It's great to extend the celebration. The day after Christmas, known as Boxing Day in some parts of the world, is a great day to have off. Time to relax after a very busy season. This year it happens to fall on a Saturday so most would be off anyway, but it's still nice to think that today is a holiday!
We had a wonderful Christmas. Christmas morning was quiet with just me and Doug and the dog. We had decided to go easy on the gift giving this year since we have a big vacation in the United States in January and we like to shop while we're there. Plus, sometimes it's nice to just focus on other things. It's a lot easier limiting the gift stuff when you do not have children. Tanner didn't even get a new bone this year! But we did write one another cards, always a meaningful exchange, and we did give one another some small thing. Except Doug's wasn't really small! There's a new thing happening in Stockholm. Roof-top tours! Apparently you can now walk around the roofs of the buildings in Gamla Stan and get a bird's eye view of the area. The walk includes a guided tour with all kinds of interesting information about the city! So he gave me a walk for two which means we have a great evening ahead of us when the days start to get long again! It was very thoughtful and totally unexpected. I gave him a couple of books which is boring but also what he likes!
Once we were finished with our time together, we both needed to kick into high gear as we have a Christmas Day Open House that we invite anyone from the congregation to come to.
It has become a great tradition that people love. Our specialties of the house include Hot Apple Cider (a drink most have never tasted and love), spicy meatballs, homemade salsa, Mexican layer dip, prinskorv (tasty little Swedish sausages) wrapped in dough (pigs in a blanket), shrimp cocktail with cocktail sauce that is heavy on the horseradish, bacon wrapped water chestnuts, and many other scrumptious treats.
We make the food ourselves. This year we had great help from several in our congregation who came early to help us put the dishes together. Doug puts the tables up and does such a nice job with getting the house set up. Homemade chocolate chip cookies and toffee along with clementines and chocolates adorn the sweets table!
Additionally, we turn our extra bedroom into a home theater and show a movie, this year Up was showing. It's awesome in there! I wish we could just keep it. We'll watch a movie or two today before we tear it down and take the equipment back to church!
It never ceases to amaze me how people love to come to this party. It's so much fun to see people gathering and enjoying on a day when lots of us could feel alone. The house is filled with people...this year, about 80, and people are laughing and eating and enjoying themselves and it just makes me warm inside. I am so thankful that Doug is willing to work hard on this and that together we can create a situation for people to feel a sense of belonging, a sense of warmth and community.
As the day ended yesterday, I was filled with joy. I felt that the joy of Christmas and the love of Christ had been shining around me all day and I was so content. Today I am pondering these things in my heart and I am so happy for the day after Christmas...a day to relax, reflect and revel in all that happened in the past couple of days.