Tuesday, January 13, 2009

Twenty days of Christmas? Who knew! More importantly, why would anyone extend the holidays all the way to tjugondag Knut, January 13, Saint Knut's day, when Swedes traditionally take down the tree and children plunder it for the candy canes and chocolates that hang there?

Maybe it's just that if you're like me, it takes that long to be assed to take down the tree after all the extensive holiday entertaining.

To be honest, I'm a sucker for a Christmas tree. I have been ever since I was a little boy.

I blame my parents. Oddly, they grew up in strict Calvinist households with no trees and not much Christmas celebrating aside from church, exchanging a few presents and a bit of holiday noshing. But like many Americans who grew up during and immediately after the Second World War, they were determined to give their children luxuries they never had. So Christmas in our house was a major production, something that as a boy I used to plan for starting in September. And in the most extreme years - my last two grades of high school - the mountainous pile of loot under the tree was so obscene that my parents eventually racheted the consumption down more than just a few notches.

But I still have a nostalgic love of Christmas trees. So to be honest, it takes me 20 days to get to the point where I am so sick of the tree I have to get it out of my apartment.

To be fair to myself, it took only 19 days this year.

"Isn't it nice to have everything all clean and put away?" asked the husband, once everything was disposed of and tidied. He has no nostalgia for trees, and no great fondness for the holidays in general.

Yes, well, of course, I answered.

The Swedish word for the day is julgran. It means Christmas tree.


Anonymous said...

Mmm. My Christmas tree is still up. Partly because it's such a job to get it down and partly because it looks so pretty when it's lit. It will be nice to reclaim that corner of the living room. But it will be darker, too. I think it has to be gone by Valentine's day.

Marn said...

My spousal unit adores the tree, too, and every year we can count on a major bickerfest over it. I do get tired of endlessly vacuuming needles.

Ah, well, it *wouldn't* be Christmas without the traditions, right? The tree bickering is one of them, of course :)

Hope you and your husband have a fabulous 2009.

An American in Stockholm said...

At my parents' place we could have our tree up to nearly Easter. That was in part a love for the most ornament-packed tree there could ever be (each year). EVERY ornament, literally, was put on. The other side of the feet dragging was the foreboding task of putting all of that away.

Our tree this year was tossed at the Epiphany. The needles had decided to make an early escape.