Happy St. Nicholas Day everyone! We started celebrating this mostly European traditional gift-giving day about 6 years ago. The kids put their shoes either outside their bedroom door or by the fireplace and St. Nicholas leaves a small gift there for them during the night. Joe, being the ever-smart teenage boy that he is, put out his Wellies hoping for a larger gift...ahem...nice try. Lily was very excited this morning to open her gift..."The Tigger Movie". She is watching it now with her brothers (who amazingly enough kinda seem to like it). Joe and Tim each got a season of King of Queens...a show they really enjoy watching. With them leaving in the pitch black in the morning at 8 a.m. and returning in the dark again at 3:45 p.m., there is a lot more indoor time for us now. I have to admit that it is fun that they like shows that are pretty family-inclusive. No more SpongeBob Square Pants...they like Friends, 7th Heaven (my personal fav), and King of Queens. Amazon.com is making their money off of the Americans living over here, let me tell you! We don't often get to see movies...every once and awhile, the military bases in Europe will send a kid's movie our way for a day. That is always fun (and free) for us. Those are few and far between. We pretty much wait for them to come out on DVD and read the comments of others to decide whether or not to buy it. We are anxiously awaiting Harry Potter 5! That will be a Christmas break treat for all of us (okay, maybe not Lily, but for the rest of us!)
I wanted to mention a little bit about Christmas tradition here. First off, Merry Christmas in Norsk is "God Jul". They don't traditionally put up their Christmas trees until Dec 23rd and they open and celebrate on Christmas Eve, not Christmas morning. They eat lutefisk (cod soaked in lye)...it is dreadful and all are thankful it is only a holiday dish to stomach once a year. They also drink aquavit...a potato liquer that has to cross the prime meridian (I think...maybe it is the equator...) on a Norwegian ship in a wooden barrel to be given that name. I hear that is also equally dreadful and must be taken in with food. They leave porridge out on Christmas Eve in the house in the barn for the Nisse (little trollish elves that bring both good and bad luck to farms and families) to apease them for the upcoming year. There is not really any "Santa Claus" here. They use mostly white Christmas lights and right now, although most don't have their trees up yet, nearly everyone has the 7 white candle-looking light bulbed thing that almost looks like a Menorah but is shaped like a triangle with one candle on top and three descending candles on either side. I don't know the tradition behind these but will ask a Norwegian friend soon.
If I find out anything else, I will let you know!