So, it is Christmas in my heart.
It is four days of continuous celebration with the family and friends. It is thousands of pictures taken with my camera and iPad and other cameras owned by the other members of the family. It is lots of traditional Finnish Christmas food, loads of new games played on a game-player. It is Skyping and social networking to keep up with the friends and family who did not make it here. What a difference the Internet has made! Most importantly, it is wonderful conversations with the loved ones who are here. It is figuring out where everybody fits to sleep. It is catching up with everyone on everything that the gone year has bought their way.
The ingredients for the perfect Christmas celebration
The first ingredient is gathering the family from all over the world to one place; from Australia, UK and Finland. It is enduring the long flights through China and Amsterdam and then driving the hired cars for hours in the frozen roads to the destination. It is four generations of people speaking tree languages brought together by the ties of love and family. It is complete mayhem and a wonderful mix of personalities from the one year old to the great-grandma.
The second ingredient is building the Christmas tree. This one is a real Norway Spruce (Picea abies) with cones, brought in from the snow by the favorite broughter-in-law. It has the right kind of smell to it. It requires an engineer's touch with mounting the candles to make it safe. It needs everyone's input to become the perfect symbol for the celebration. And it asks for continuous adjustments and attention throughout it's existence until it is taken away in the new year.
The third ingredient is shopping for the right presents for everyone. It is the Secret Santa gone completely wayward as the presents pile up when 'Joulupukki' brings them and gives them away. It is the thought that counts and there are lots of love shared around. It is the little things from the healthy lifestyle to educational toys.
The fourth ingredient is the music and singing. It is a mix of Michael Buble, Karita Mattila, Gurrumul, HeviSaurus and the traditional Christmas songs, sang by the celebrating group in two languages, the goal being to sing every song in the book and succeeding. It is the sound of all the voices in harmony and joy.
The fifth ingredient is the visit from 'Joulupukki' on the Christmas Eve. Everybody knows that all the Scandinavian kids have intimate knowledge of what the Santa and the Elves look like. They do not have to relay on hearsay. It is Joulupukki himself answering those hard questions right then and there, like how did you get here even though there is no snow? The answer being that the rain-deer does fly, so there is no problem, there.
The sixth ingredient is the sauna and dressing up in celebration. It is those who are bros with it having experienced the Finnish sauna tradition from their birth and those who are being introduced to it. However, it is an important part. It is the experience of being clenched in mind and the spirit.
Mixing of the ingredients
In my experience the best way to mix the ingredients for a perfect Christmas is an appreciative attitude and unhurried space. Everyone is eqully responsble for creating the right kind of Christmas cheer which provides the best of everything for everyone.
What is fantastic in it, is that it is possible to take the best of all the Christmas traditions from each one participant and mix them creatively to form new traditions but with the same flavor that the old ones had. Forming new traditions is the exciting part in bringing together people from different cultures and celebrating the best of the best of everything.
In this new age of forming relationships and close connectedness of everybody, it is wonderful to see the young and the old feeling that nothing was lost but lots were gained by it.
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