Today is the eve of Yule, the big day of the three day celebration. Thanks to global commercialization, there’s talk of wanting a White Christmas, which is most definitely not happening. However, the sun is shining for the first time in over a week, the second sun sighting I’ve had since November. Winter solstice and the start of longer days has such meaning to me here, when we have practically 4 months of straight overcast and only six hours of daylight at its darkest. That’s what I want for winter solstice, a bright Christmas, forget the snow.
My in-laws are here. We spent over 100 dollars on groceries, the single largest shopping trip I’ve had since we’ve moved to Denmark, to tide all of us over til the shops reopen on Thursday. Butter, cream and milk are suddenly dirt cheap in anticipation of how much people are buying. To give you an idea, we made Danish risalamande, which consists of cooking rice in milk, then you mix in half a quart of whipped cream, top with cherry sauce and more whipped cream. Cream is a pretty standard Danish cooking ingredient. Whenever I buy pre-made food, it always has a big “don’t forget to add cream!” sticker on it.
24 hours later:
The sun is shining again today. We had a Polish feast last night. We did both the family traditional pierogis, boiled kielbasa and Polish rye bread, supplemented by some store bought cabbage and mushroom pierogi bought at the Polish grocery. My 4 year old son has continued his two year streak of being a very good little chef, helping his grandmother roll, cut and fill the pierogi dough. He declined to actually eat them for dinner, but ate butter pierogi noodles with us. Any meal he actually eats with us is a win. The meal ended with both the kids running laps around the table, a nightly tradition. My daughter managed to sneak off her diaper and known of us noticed till she started doing a toddler can-can, which is also pretty par for the course.
Now we’re working on eggs with hollandaise sauce for brunch. A roast with pan fried brussels sprouts and buttermilk mashed potatoes for an early dinner. The kids enjoyed opening a modest pile of presents, well, most of them. I feel three is a decent number of gifts for any occasion. In this case, since we had grandparents gifts too, it was more like eight and they lost steam around five, so I currently still have newspaper enrobed gifts (why buy paper that’s just going to be destroyed when people keep delivering perfectly suitable material to the mailbox?) sitting under our shedding tree. I had been warned that one shouldn’t buy a yuletræ almost a month in advance, but I figured it was December, we should have up our pagan tribute to solstice. It wasn’t the disaster people predicted, but it’s starting to shed needles like a sequin dress sheds beads.
The neighborhood is quiet, lots of people have gone other places to see family. There aren’t any garish Christmas decorations up, just fake candles in windows, red and white construction paper hearts (no one can tell me what they symbolize) and maybe so bearded nisse in oversized hats in their windows. It’s hard to believe in a week it will be New Year’s and the neighborhood will be a cacophony of fireworks that even China would approve of in gusto..