Merry Christmas Everybody!

Merry Christmas readers!!!  I would say "Happy Holidays", but I'm completely against when people say that.  Everyone's so sensitive nowadays that I can't even wish people a Merry Christmas without feeling bad or improper.  If someone said "Happy Hanukkah" to me, I would probably say it right back.  I want them to have a happy whatever they celebrate.  I don't know anyone that celebrates Kwanzaa, but I would definitely extend wishes of Kwanzaa happiness if I did.  So don't get on me for saying "Merry Christmas".  Especially when I'm the one wishing the well-wishes and I happen to celebrate Christmas.  And it shouldn't be a surprise gesture.  I mean, look around.  People have didn't put up holiday lights or decorate a holiday tree.  They aren't playing holiday music on the radio.    Well, actually I've heard two Hanukkah songs this year and one was by Adam Sandler so I don't know if that really counts, but you get my drift.  Everybody knows the main holiday is Christmas.  Don't go messing with my Christmas Spirit!

Here they say "God Jul" for "Merry Christmas".  I like it.  It's my second Christmas living here and it's becoming more natural to say it.  They also celebrate on the 24th.  I like that too!  One day early?  Sign me up!!!  I'm a big Christmas Spirit guy.  Always have been.  I love Christmas music and happy people.  Christmas brings both of those things to me, so I enjoy it.  Thankfully, I'm very close to my in-laws, so I get that Christmas family vibe like I used to get back home.  We play gift swapping games and eat good food.  The food is not heavy either like back stateside, so one is able to function instead of sitting on the couch in a food coma.  The heaviest thing available is boiled potatoes.  That is eaten with either thinly sliced salmon or picked herring with different flavored sauces (trust me, it's good).

We eat together, and in Swedish tradition everyone describes every bite they eat.

       - Oh, this mustard sill is very good, right?
       - Mmm, good kale pie.  What kind of nuts are in there?  Really?  Hmm...
       - I thought this meat would be dry but it wasn't.

And on and on.  I eat in silence and chuckle at all of the analysis.  I love my family.  So interesting and entertaining.  For the last two years we've played a gift-swapping game.  It's fun.  You bring a wrapped gift and put it in a pile.  There's die and a timer and the festivities begin.  The stress level goes up as everyone hopes they roll a one or a six so they can either grab a gift or swap a gift.  Everyone gets frantic as they try for certain boxes with certain wrapping as the timer ticks and ticks.  It's pretty cool.  In the end I ended up with an soft serve ice cream machine!  Bam!  Guess who's gonna try and make some butter pecan.  This guy!

For the second year in a row, we had my father-in-law and all of his kids over for dinner (I'll call them the Scareberry Bunch).  It's really nice.  I've always felt a bond with my father-in-law, so I love to be able to share Christmas with him.  I tried again this year (as I did last year and will next year) to get them all to watch "A Christmas Story" with me.  It is the best Christmas movie ever, so I thought it best to share it with some people I love.  Plus, my father-in-law reminds me of the dad in "A Christmas Story".  It would be good to compare with the family.  But watching a movie is a task with the Scareberry Bunch.  Especially Father-in-Law.  When I came here back in 2006, he would say he had this really good movie that I needed to see.  He would put the movie on and make sure I didn't miss anything.  Then 15 minutes into it, he'd pause it.  When he speaks English, he starts nearly every sentence with "I must".

       - I must... (inaudible mumbling)

Then he'd leave the room.  I would sit there, stunned for like ten minutes until he came back in ready to watch.  Now I'd have to get back into the groove of the movie.  This happens about three times during the movie.  Gotta love my father-in-law.

Swedie does this too!  She can't just sit still and watch an entire film.  I'm surprised she makes it through a movie at the theaters.  She's perfected the guilt pause technique.  She shoots straight up off of the couch and starts to leave the room.

       - What's wrong, Swedie?
       - I have to go [insert insufficient reason].  You don't have to pause it.  I'll be right back.

I've been in this marriage game for seven years.  I KNOW I have to pause it!  So I angrily pause the movie.  If I'm lucky she hasn't grabbed a nail file and some polish to completely ruin my experience.

Sis-in-law is 18.  That means her phone will be more interesting than whatever we put on.  However, she is adamant about not watching "A Christmas Story" even though she thinks we're talking about the Scrooge movie (A Christmas Carol) AND she'll be looking at her phone nonetheless.  Bro-in-law is the best of the Scareberry Bunch when it comes to movies.  He can sit through a movie with me.  But he's more generous than me.  He wants everyone to have a good time and is the type to hold a vote and come up with a plan so that all are happy and we can get to watching.  That's how we ended up watching "Home Alone 2" (my second favorite Christmas movie).  Of course, we paused it halfway through the movie so we could eat dinner.  Who wants to see a movie in its entirety anyway?  Ah the Scareberrys.  Gotta love em!

So that was my Christmas.  Family, food, films and love.  One couldn't ask for more.  I hope every Christmas can be as good as this one.  As I wish for you and yours.  Merry Christmas (i said it!) readers!  Until next time...

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