Getting myself into the Christmas spirit means having reindeer and chantarelle mushroom lasagne for lunch. (It's just like celebrating Easter with a traditional seafood and bunny rabbit paella.)
But the real meaning of the season came to me some four hours later as I waited for the No. 42 bus.
The small girl wreaking havoc next to me began to sing, to the tune of "Jingle Bells," something that sounded suspiciously like djungel bajs (which would be jungle poo). Then she switched to "Deck the Halls" but all I caught was the word fröken, which means miss and is what small children call their female teachers, further confirming my growing suspicion that she was singing Swedish versions of all those charming traditional Christmas carols we sang as children: "Jingle Bells, Batman Smells" and "Deck the Halls with Gasoline" and "We Three Kings of Orient Are, Smoking on a Rubber Cigar" and "Joy to the World, the Teacher's Dead."
Then her mother told her to shut up.
The Swedish phrase for the day is fy på dig! Which is what the little girl's mother said when the little girl pushed her sister into the bicycle racks after her mother told her to shut up. It means shame on you!
- by Francis S.