First published on Creative Gallery in 2021.Read the post here →

Christmas?, I asked, only to hear my mom respond over the phone, without hesitation, No.
Ok, I replied, and that was that. Me and the kids, Benjamin at 16 and Alex at 21, at home for Christmas, unlike the normal Christmases, even though normal has never meant exactly the same every year. Venues have shifted, as has the number and constellation of family members. But often, Christmas has been spent at my mom’s place.

When I tell the kids, the idea that we don’t have to do, or eat, what we normally do on Christmas arises.
Said and done, we decide to cook dinner together, a non-Christmasy dinner. Benjamin asks Do we have to watch Kalle Anka? meaning the Donald Duck/Disney-one-hour collection of cartoons that’s been broadcasted on Swedish TV at three pm every Christmas Eve since 1960. I say No, but I probably will.

As the day approaches, I decide I will get the mulled (non-alcoholic) wine with peeled almonds and raisins, ginger bread and a saffron sponge cake – my mom had sent it our way a few weeks earlier, keeping vigil in the freezer until the time had come. And time had come. – ready by three pm, and that I would watch Kalle Anka, ensuring the kids they were free to do whatever they wanted.