Today is the Swedish holiday I always forget about, Trettondedagen Jul (literally "the 13th Day of Christmas"), AKA the Christian Feast Day Epiphany.
Which is not to say that I forget it's a Feast Day…I just forget that it's a national holiday here in secular Sweden, where most people under the age of 50 probably couldn't tell you what a Christian Feast Day is. Not that there's anything wrong with that, but I'm not sure the average Swede knows how good he/she has it on the national holiday count. "Surely the rest of the western world gets a day off work to take down their Christmas decorations, too?"
It's a regular workday in Denmark, however, which means the chore of striking the Christmas set in the Penthouse-Nordic was a lonely job for me this afternoon, especially since putting everything up was such a fun team effort involving both my brother and the anti-Christmas Swede. (Dr. Darling is not a Grinch by any means, but if the media and the marketplace didn't play it up so much, I'm pretty sure the season would pass without her taking any notice of it.)
There is one post-holiday task that my Swede embraces wholeheartedly, however, and that's the disassembly of the tree itself after I've pulled all the decorations off of it. This probably doesn't sound especially odd until I clarify that I'm NOT talking about an artificial tree that has to be taken apart and put back in a box.
No, the Good Doctor turns into a tree surgeon with handsaw and clippers, and very quickly (and with a disturbing amount of gusto) turns our once proud evergreen into a huge bag of mulch, suitable for disposal in the regular garbage or a community compost pile. I was amazed the first time I watched this process, but three* Christmas tree massacres later it seems quite normal to me…further evidence that I am being assimilated by the Swedish Borg.
*We only put up a tree when we're in Sweden, and every other Christmas is spent in the U.S. (THANKFULLY!)