28 December 2005

More Christmas in Denmark

So, we ate & ate, then sang Christmas carols around the tree, and we are ready to open presents, which the kids deliver to the grownups who clearly are not in enough of a hurry to get to the best part of Christmas.

In my family, the Unnamed Male Relative and I have a Christmas tradition. Ever year, we reminding my dad that we "always" get to open some present on Christmas Eve. This is patently false, but we say it every year anyway, and every year dad says "NO!" and wait for Santa to deliver the stuf that he always brings while we sleep. Then we get up early on Christmas morning shouting, "Santa came! Santa came!" (We may be old, but we are not grown up at Christmas!)

The Martian's young nieces were horrified to hear that American kids have to wait until Christmas morning to open their presents. In Denmark, Santa (julemanden) is just more the leader of a band of tricksters, nisse who are nice to good children and who play nasty tricks on bad children. They are all about knocking over the salt, making a mess in your bedroom, or giving you a bad hair day, rather than bringing presents to good children. The sleigh, reindeer, delivering gifts overnight... that's all crazy American stuff. Danish kids think Americans torture their children by making them wait all night. "How can the kids even get to sleep?" they wanted to know.

You can see in the picture some of my jul loot: a new Logitech keyboard/mouse with lots of tricks. I'm typing/clicking with it now, attached to the Mac, but without all the functionality that it will have once I get home & install the drivers on the PC. I don't think I have ever seena mouse with so many functions; I have no idea what I'll do with all the options!

You may also be able to see The Martian's sister holding the small pink scrapbook that I made for her daughter. As expected, the kids looked through the books quickly before moving on to toys. But the moms... Heh. I am pretty sure that they are addicted to the craft/hobby even before they get started. I did give them small scrapbooking kits for gifts, and they are excited about trying it themselves, now that they have seen one possibility. There is also a crafting chain store here in Denmark that carries more scrapbooking 'stuff,' although not yet at the level of the American stores. Heh.

What you can definitely see is one corner of the trash pile that resulted from the crazy unwrapping fest. Fourteen people unwrapping gifts makes a big pile of paper & ribbons & boxes & stuff.

While The Martian's brother-in-law cleaned up the mess, his sister was in the kitchen because (of course) we had to eat some more. This time it was just coffee and candy -- the latter including some of the konfekt that we made the day before. As if we could possibly eat any more. (Well, somehow we did!)

After chatting a bit, playing with some of the new toys and relaxing, we eventually left the whining, overtired kids to go back to The Martian's mom's house in Aalborg, to sleep a few hours before starting another day of over-eating.

The Martian earned big points with me by holding back a small present, so when he woke me on Christmas morning, he could say, "Santa came! Santa came!" He's a good Martian!

The first stop on Christmas day was his grandparents' new home, where we chatted and shared clementines. Then we walked (brrr cold!) down to his dad's place for lunch of a variety of Danish traditional Christmas foods, including sild (herring, not my favorite), and some pork goo (sylte) that neither The Martian nor his sister would touch with a 10-meter pole, but which his dad likes a lot. I liked it just fine; it tasted like deviled ham. They tell me I don't want to know how it's made; something about boiling the head of the pig... (la la la I can't hear you la la la).

Christmas evening, The Martian's childhood pal joined us for dinner and a few too many glasses of candy-flavored liquor (yum!). The Martian's pal & sister then went into the city to seek further libation, but I am too old to enjoy a hangover anymore, so The Martian and I chose sleep over hangovers.

I woke the next morning with a sore throat and a sniffle; The Martian had a sour stomach and a headache. I'm not sure which is worse, but I will say that Danish cold medicine works great.

The day ended at a concert by "The Original Local Blues Brothers" in Aalborg, a fun group that played great music even if the venue was so full of smoke that you could hardly see the stage. (It's very weird to be back in a place where smoking is allowed almost everywhere!) We went with a friend from Aarhus and his two cousins; afterward we (of course) had to get something to eat. What restaurant was still open at midnight? Burger King. Oh yes.

On our last day in Aalborg, I turned on my GPS receiver for kicks and saw that there was a geocache hidden only about 400 meters from The Martian's mom's house! She lives near a great hill that overlooks the Lim Fjord, and someone had a cache there. The Martian's nieces were visiting, so we grabbed them for a 'treasure hunt' while his mom fixed lunch. It was a very cold trudge up the hill, but the girls loved finding the 'treasure' and the small toys inside.

We're back in Ã…rhus now, and tonight we will eat some other strange Danish food and go see Narnia with friends. More yapping later... I have to start putting on layers to go out int he cold!


V said...

It sounds as if you are having a wonderful Holiday!
Yea for the Martian!

Jackie said...

It all sounds fantastic! Denmark seems to be a wonderful place. I'm glad you're enjoying your holiday!