Most of the traditions in our household are holiday-centric. Thanksgiving is at my in-laws’ house. We bring the green bean casserole, slightly modified to accommodate food allergies. Christmas dinner is also with TG’s folks. (What can I say? I have great in-laws, and their house is the biggest. We have kind of a large extended family in the area, so more room at the table is always a plus.)
But Christmas Eve belongs to us. For the past twenty-five years or so, we’ve hosted a Christmas Eve party for family and friends, the centerpiece of which is glögg, a Scandinavian mulled wine, served hot for the winter holidays.
There are probably as many recipes for glögg as there are Scandinavian families. Our Swedish version, which my mom made religiously every year when I was growing up, uses a base of Port wine, spiced with orange peel, cardamom seeds, cinnamon sticks, cloves, raisins, and almonds. Now, TG and I* make it every year right after Thanksgiving, so all those flavors have plenty of time to mingle in the dark of our hall closet before our party.
Glögg is an acquired taste. Our DD, for instance, despises it. (Well, to be fair, it’s tough to like something that gives you migraines, family tradition or not.) In fact, I suspect it may be the reason she decided to convert to Judaism — just to get away from the Christmas glögg. Ha! Little did she know we would ultimately convert her Jewish relatives into glögg drinkers. They come to our party, and love the stuff! (We celebrate some of the Jewish holidays with them, too. DD jokes that she converted for the food. Yanno, I can totally see that — yum!)
In a funny way, DD’s dislike of the glögg has become a big part of the tradition. She’ll likely never make glögg herself, but there’s still hope for our son, who loves the stuff. I can envision a time, in the distant future, after TG and I have gone on to our great reward, when DD and her family go to our son’s house for Christmas Eve (after he and his family have perhaps joined them for a Chanukah celebration), and they banter back and forth about her continued dislike of the hot beverage. Kind of warms my heart just to think about it.
Another of our Christmas traditions is counting down to Christmas for the whole month of December, using “Button-Beard Santa”:
When his beard is full of buttons, it’s Christmas Day! Which means it’s time for more traditions — cinnamon rolls and mimosas for breakfast. Yum!
But since this is a blog for writers, and readers of writers, maybe I should mention a writing tradition. Sure, it’s relatively new one, but it looks like it’s definitely taking hold.
A while back, one of Michelle’s (my agent, Michelle Wolfson**, of Wolfson Literary Agency) clients (Kiersten White, author of Paranormalcy, and more) decided if Michelle got her a book deal, she’d dye a wild-colored stripe in her hair. Purple, I believe. Then another agency sistah (past Deb Tawna Fenske) followed suit. Tawna stongly encouraged me to joined the head-stripe club, so I did:
So, tell me, how far would you go when it comes to making a deal with the universe to get your book published? Would you *ahem* dye for it?
For the non-writers, what’s the wackiest thing you’ve ever promised to do in order to get your way about something?
*And by “TG and I” I mean, of course, TG. I just watch and kibitz.
**Hey, Michelle, look — I linked to your awesome new blog! Quick, go write something clever.