Merry belated Christmas! I hope it was a good one. Mine was fine but mostly a little meh. And in all honesty, it has taken me a couple of days to admit that to myself. Maybe because nothing big and tragic happened, so I’ve felt like I ‘should’ have had a great Christmas but instead the sum of little things just made it a little hard for the Christmas spirit to really set in and it all felt so fast. And December was a month of a lot of missing for me. Missing my family, my Danish friends and missing Justin, who has worked pretty much non-stop since September.
Christmas is, and always has been, my favorite holiday all year and it has only gotten more important to me since I moved here from Denmark. It’s really important to me to do things my way and celebrate the Danish traditions I grew up with. And in Denmark, the big event is Christmas Eve, December 24th, and luckily, Justin’s family didn’t have any set in stone traditions for that night, so it has become a new tradition for us to host Christmas Eve the Danish way. Or, in a new way. We make a traditional Danish Christmas dinner, to the best of our abilities, since we still haven’t been able to track down a traditional pork roast with ‘flæskesvær’, have risalamande with cherry sauce for dessert with a whole almond hidden and then the person who finds the almond in their portion gets a little present.
And mostly, I’m just so, so thankful that my new family is open to these new traditions and play along, but since they’ve never been in Denmark for Christmas, they don’t know how much has already adapted and changed. The food isn’t quite ‘it’, instead of opening presents, we play a raffle game after dinner, we don’t dance around the Christmas tree or sing any songs.
This year we had to move the whole shebang to the afternoon because of Justin’s work schedule and I’m kinda embarrassed to admit that I was a bit childishly un-thrilled about the idea, even though it was better than the alternative, that had been floating around in the weeks prior, of no Christmas Eve at all. So when my mother-in-law mentioned that she preferred the event in the afternoon, my voice might have gotten a little bit shrill, as I announced that this was a year of special circumstances and no one should be expecting it to change for good.
So yes, I still have some unpacking to do around why it is so important to me that things are done in a certain way. Expectations for certain outcomes or scenarios are usually a recipe for disappointment and while I do think Christmas really is just about gathering and spending time together, I want Christmas Eve to be Christmas Eve and I want it to be my way. I mean, yes, it does make sense that it’s important to me that these traditions stay exactly the same because s.o. m.u.c.h. else has changed, but I still think I have some more reflecting to do.
Anyways, now we’re in that odd space of these days in between Christmas and the new year and everything is somewhat of a blur. Family time, work time, and I don’t even know what weekday it is. Besides reflecting on the holidays and the year overall I’ve also been in the midst of a deep digital cleanup and spending so many hours in front of a screen has made me desperately need a daily lunch walk.
I don’t know how it works around here, but growing up in Denmark I’ve had mandatory outdoor time from preschool through 9th grade. As a child, I hated it. But these days where I work from home the majority of the time, days can easily go by where I don’t go outside at all.
Even without the mandatory outdoor break, I would still have an outside moment daily in Copenhagen where going somewhere meant riding a bike or walking or at least, strolling to a bus stop. This year I rediscovered the magic of my childhood’s concept of daily fresh air. That, and getting dressed, but that’s another story. Getting outside for a little bit helps almost everything. Maybe the Danes have discovered some sort of universal magic formula, or maybe it’s just because I’ve been culturally indoctrinated throughout my childhood and etched into my subconscious, I don’t know. Either way, it works. On lack of ideas, the post-lunch slump, and feeling stuck.
So that is one of the things I want to bring with me into the new year: the lunch walk. It doesn’t have to be a big deal, just a stroll around the block. Just some oxygen, a change of scenery, movement. Seeing the seasons and weather change and getting a little daily reminder of the cyclical nature of everything. I think it’s healthy. I know it feels good and that’s what I want more of.
I am curious to hear, do you get outside every day as an adult and how about when you were growing up?