Christmas will always be my favourite holiday. The Christmases of my childhood must have made an indelible impression on me. Back then everything was permeated by an atmosphere of utter calm and harmony.
The preparations and expectations played an important role. I vividly remember the baking before Christmas. My brother and I helped mum and gran rolling coriander cookies. We weren't really allowed to taste the pastry, but we were still frequently standing by the tap to have a sip of water. Coriander pastry makes you thirsty.
Lots have happened since then. And I realize the Christmases of my childhood will never come back. Lately I've often decided to spend my Christmas abroad. It's nice to get away from the winter cold for a while. But at the same time it almost feels like skipping the festival. You go through Advent, and then suddenly you're on summer holiday!
Consequently, I guess I prefer celebrating Christmas in my homeland after all, with winter, cold and maybe even snow. It may sound a bit sad sitting on one's own on Christmas Eve. And - yes! I'd much rather celebrate Christmas the way I did before, with mum, dad, my brother and gran... But of obvious reasons this is no longer possible. And instead of crying over spilt milk, I guess one should rather try to make the best out of it.
And that's what I do. On Christmas Eve I prepared the traditional pork ribs, with potatoes, sauerkraut, prunes and sauce. And afterwards I relaxed in front of the television, watching various Christmassy programs, my regular cognac replaced by aquavit. It's Christmas, after all.
The days between Christmas and New Year's Eve are often a slight anticlimax. But recently my closest relative invited me home to him and his family on 26 and 27 December. Many other relatives were also coming. Family is important, and one should stay in touch while one still can. Unfortunately, I had already booked a trip to the US in this period. But there will be other Christmases. And hopefully also more opportunities for family reunions.
I wish you all a Very Merry Christmas, and all the best in the New Year!