Tomorrow is my daughter’s birthday. The day after that we’ll be attending a Star-wars Preview. (My grandson, Colt, is ecstatic about that!) Saturday the clan will gather for our annual family Christmas celebration—Liljulaften, Little Christmas Eve. It’s an old Scandinavian custom that my mother put to good use when my first husband had to be with his mother every Christmas—NO EXCEPTIONS!!
From the time I could read newspapers, I loved reading the advice columns, most especially Ann Landers and Dear Abby. At the time, I had no idea that those two very wise columnists were actually sisters with a somewhat prickly sibling relationship. The thing is, I still read a whole selection of advice columns on a daily basis. (What better place than those to go looking for motives when it comes time to write my next murder mystery?)
Each year about this time, I read about one or more families who are being pulled this way and that by the old holiday tug-of-war—where do we go for Christmas—my parents or yours? And each time I read one of those letters, I wish those people had a mother as smart as Evie Busk was, a woman who, when encountering a line in the sand, said … well … screw it! Let’s just celebrate some other time.
She did. We did. And we still do. The big advantage of Liljulaften is that nobody else knows it’s there. It’s not a national holiday. If you forgot something you need for dinner or if an unexpected guest shows up and you need one more present? No problem. The stores are all open.
The kids come. The grandkids come. They’re welcome to stay on, but if they need to be somewhere else for Christmas itself? No problem. Vaya con Dios. They can be wherever else they need to be whenever they need to be there.
And then, once Liljulaften is over? We’ll be looking after our grandson while school is out. On Tuesday we celebrate our thirtieth wedding anniversary. After that there’s Christmas. And New Years.
It’s a season of one celebration after another. My mother used to say, “It’s a great life if you don’t weaken.” And I’m trying not to.
Still, December is daunting. And fun. And busy.
And, with any kind of luck, the Christmas cards will go out before the end of the week.