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12-22-01
Guest Editorial

A Swedish Chrismas!

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    Hi everybody!

         I was asked by Douglas to write the editorial and I must say that it was like getting a cold shower. New language, new audience and everything but I decided to give it a go despite cold feet and a cold. And remember folks that if you donít like it you know who to blame.
    For those of you who donít know me, Iím JoJo, a crazy Swede. As youíll notice when you read this.
           Me and most Swedes are quite familiar with the American way of celebrating Christmas but like always itís not the other way around so I thought Iíd give you a little lesson to a crazy gathering at the JoJo residence. Keep in mind that this is about me and my family. How many other Swedes who have it like this will be left unsaid.
         Telling you everything will take up way too much space and probably bore you all to death so Iíll just take the key things. The things that make Christmas.
    For starters we dont start Christmas in November. Here itís more like the week before. Good way to not get fed up before itís time. And we donít celebrate the 25th weíve got the 24th.
         Also there is a big difference in the outside decorations. We donít have our houses covered in lights. More like a bush or two is enough for us. Unfortunately weíll probably be Americanized in that area too soon.
    Snow is very important, I think, to get that real Christmassy feeling. Weíve had no snow since I was a kid, just rain and I was afraid it would be the same this year but the other day mine and every kids(and grownups) wish came true. It snowed. Not much but at least it looks white and thatís most important. If it will last ítil Christmas is another question but we could always hope.
          3 oíclock, the magic time when itís Donald Duck. It is another very important thing that we just canít be without. Itís an hour of the goodies from the Classic Disneyís movies like The Junglebook, Lady and the Tramp, Snow White and so on. This has been a tradition for Swedes for almost 30 or more years. Everybody, old and young, know every word by heart. They tried to take it away last year I think and the whole of Sweden was in uproar. You would think there was a disaster. TV said it was not cultural enough and we should get something Swedish instead and in a way I agree but you just canít take away something thatís been so important to people for that long. One of our favourite parts is from Robin Hood when they are taking the money from the king and the snake Sir Hiss wakes up. You see, granma hates snakes and she looks so funny and screams when he comes on. And we love to torture her with it.
         I would lie if I said that the presents didnít matter cos they do but when you where younger it was the amount. Nowadays itís the thought behind it thatís more important. The kids especially are experts on this. When they do buy, they buy with their heart and not the mind (wallet) like most grownups. They notice details and always have wonderful explanations to their gifts. Like last year when I had said I didnít have a stocking to put up and that I wanted one that was huge so I could get many gifts in it. For me it was more of a joke but one of my nephewís(8 years) sewed me one ícos he remembered me saying I wanted one. You can imagine what it looks like being sewed by a young boy but itís the most beautiful stocking Iíve ever seen.
         We should take after the kids more in this area I think.
         Well then we have this inevitable thing called food. I mean we all got to eat but it sure is a lot more fun during Christmas when youíve got so many goodies to choose from. Now I think that our food table differs a bit from yours. Iím now gonna try to list my favourites. There might be some difficulties ícos of the language and I donít wanna make you too hungry. My favourites that I just canít be without is mumís liver paste(I can eat loads), grandpaís pickled herring(divine), something we call roulad-itís pork rolled and flavoured with mustard(WOW), meatballs and ham. All homemade. The others eat a lot more like cabbage prepared in four different styles-Long cabbage, green cabbage, red cabbage, brown cabbage; all of which includes sugar. Nothing for me though. Well this is just a small part of the enourmous amount of food weíve got. You literally roll from the table. As if that wasnít enough we got home made candy, nuts, oranges and so on. You donít have to eat for days.
           Julmust vs Coca-cola is the current war in Sweden. Forget about Israel or Afghanistan. Itís here the battle is. The battle of the sodas. Iím sure most of you are wondering what the heck is she talking about. Well let me explain it a bit better for you. Julmust is a traditional soda that everybody drinks around Christmas. It looks like coke but it has some distinct differences. Taste being the most important. It tastes of Christmas!!! For me and most Swedes anyway. Itís hard to explain to an outsider but I can say that as I understand it they serve it in IKEA stores around the world. One American said it tasted like a mix between beer and coke. Hmm, not sure about that.
    Second itís tradition and tradition is hard to erase. Now this is something the coke company has a hard time dealing with. They donít wanna miss out on those extra dollars they could make for those three months. Not that they will loose any big sums ícos after all they have the rest of the world. Even in far away places you have never heard of they drink coke. Incredible. So far Iím happy to report that Julmust is the winner by a long shoot.
         Sometimes I wish I could just lock myself in with a good book or a movie instead of spending Christmas with a noisy family(you need earplugs) and all the stress around it but I believe that these traditions are very important ícos in this crazy world we live in we need comfort and security and that is what traditions can give us. Now more than ever.
    Oh by the way, donít forget folks to put Viagra in the water under the tree to make it stand up longer ;-)!
         As for the new year I got a few things to look forward to at leats. Most importantly we are going to warmer seasons(thank god), Douglas will be back over here(maybe) and my favourite is the fact that Iíll be able to drive my car again. Iíve been longing for that for many years now. Iíve recently gotten a new wheelchair that will enable this and as a bonus Douglas has promised me a race. A Formula 1 race, right Douglas?

      Jojo in Sweden

To my nieces and nephew that are serving in our armed forces as we fight this war, I'm proud of you, I love you, pray you will return to us safely. I thank God for your safety, bravery, and dignity. 

dse