Because we alternate celebrating Christmas with our individual families (and celebrating with my family means travelling to The Heartland of America) we only set up a Christmas tree every other year, specifically when we’re spending the holiday in Sweden. Currently we’re in a pattern that has us in the U.S. on odd years (which seems strangely appropriate) and in Sweden on the even years.
There are some advantages and disadvantages to this system. On the plus side, it never feels like a chore. Since we only do it every other year, the process of procuring a tree (more challenging than you might think given that we don’t own a car), setting it up and decorating it is always a lot of fun. This was especially true this year since it’s our first Christmas in The Penthouse – Nordic and we actually have space for tree without it completely taking over the livingroom.
On the negative side, my mental inventory of our collection of tree decorations is usually full of holes. I can never remember how many boxes of them there are (and since we’ve moved…even WHERE they are) or the status of the lights (were they all working when we took them down the last time?), or something really critical…like if I need to replenish my icicle (AKA “tinsel”) supply.
I had done a little investigating and found Christmas tree lot within walking distance of our new place, but we had to wait for a break in the near incessant rain to go pick one out. Of course it was pitch dark by then (5:30 p.m.) and we were dealing with a new space (how high is the ceiling in The Penthouse – Nordic anyway?), so the hunt for the right tree took a bit longer than usual. Fortunately we were the ONLY people crazy enough to be buying a Christmas tree on a rainy Saturday night the week before Christmas and the guy working the lot was really patient, and I think, somewhat entertained by our deliberation process.
We got it home and let it settle into the tree stand and suck up a lot of water overnight. On Sunday I began decorating in stages: lights and garland in the morning, ornaments in the afternoon, and finally…the icicles in the evening. So it wasn’t until Sunday night that I realized the tree was going to be sorely lacking in the sparkly, silver department.
Therefore I’m on a quest to find tinsel in Sweden….something that would have been easy, cheap and very light to pack had I known I needed it when we were in the U.S. for Thanksgiving. I’m told that one can by it here, but I’ve never seen it in 6 holiday seasons in this country. And Dr. Darling can’t even guess what it might be called (the Swedes have a different word for EVERYTHING) so I don’t even know what to ask for! ACK!