OK, Utah probably doesn't count as a faraway land. Nonetheless, I am here... and up typing on my sister's computer because, even though I should be asleep, I have a hacking cough and insomnia and was lying awake making snerty barking noises. It was even less exciting than it sounds.
It's cold here, and the snow is still thick on the ground. It's supposed to snow more tonight. My little nieces are wild with delight, one of them because she is eager to go sledding first thing in the morning.
This weekend my mom is putting together the shindig of shindigs -- the full Swedish smörgåsbord. It's been a Christmas tradition in my mother's family since before I was born. My maternal grandfather was Swedish and was trained as a butcher in Sweden, which also involved being able to prepare and display all the goodies in a full-service Swedish delicatessen. When he came to America, he brought the smörgåsbord tradition with him. I love nearly everything, from the pickled herring to the dilled cucumbers to the tiny meatballs to the wonderful bullar bread that my cousin Tom makes. I love helping to put everything together, arranging the cold plates the way my grandpa used to do it. I enjoy chatting with family over the food, and watching the kids run wild through the house, just the way we did when we were younger.
I've felt rushed and nervous this season, always a little short on time. It hasn't felt like Christmas, not really. Now I'm finally starting to feel it.