A Different Christmas
This Christmas was the first we spent with just the two of us. Well, us and four furry friends. It was bit of a hard time, since Christmas for me is a time when you get together with your loved ones. As many of them as possible, not just my dear husband. I didn't think it would mean so much to me, but apparently it does.
Christmas Eve is the main day of celebration in Finland. It's the day we get together for a family Christmas dinner, receive presents and sing songs. As a kid it was the longest day of the year, having to wait until late afternoon for Santa Claus to come and deliver the presents.
Yes, in Finland Santa usually personally visits the houses with children to deliver the presents on Christmas Eve. Most kids are quite afraid of him though, I remember I was. You had to face this weird, big man, who was deciding if you have been nice enough to get presents. Most often your family will make you sit on his lap and sing a song. The pressure!
Funny thing was how my dad was always outside taking care of some urgent things when Santa came. He missed it every year! - If someone from the family doesn't want to play the part, you can hire a Santa Claus for a visit on Christmas Eve. This is how many men (mostly young, single students) earn good money, going from house to house.
After growing up I have spent 2 Christmases without my family. First one was in 1999 in Minnesota, where I spent a year as a high school exchange student. But there I had my Minnesotan family, and so many new things to wonder that I don't remember feeling sad.
Second Christmas away from home was in Puerto Rico in 2007, but also there I had my family of friends and were invited to join the Christmas celebrations at a friends house. So, still plenty of people and that special Christmas feeling around.
This time we were house and pet sitting in New Orleans, so I was missing the people and that special feeling that for me is what Christmas is all about. To create some Christmas mood I did prepare us a somewhat traditional Christmas dinner.
For the first time in my life I cooked some Finnish Christmas dishes: potato casserole, beetroot salad with whipped cream, pepper meat sauce (last one is more a tradition of my family). Before I have always spent Christmas somewhere where the main preparations have already been done.
I was quite happy with how everything turned out. I was a bit worried about the casserole, since I needed some wheat flour for it, and only realised while cooking that the flour had baking powder added to it. Anyway, it did turn out delicious and we had a very nice Christmas dinner. And we did have enough food to last us for 3 days. Just how it should be.
In some way, I'm still waiting for Christmas to come. What we had was a nice evening, but it wasn't really a Christmas the way I expect it to be. Next year I will spent the holidays in Finland, because that apparently is the place I want to be. We still have the rest of the year to travel the world.
We are Mirje and Antti, a 30+ digital nomad couple, entrepreneurs with restless feet and passion for experiencing the world. more »