Anden Jul Dag

Steen with his sister, Musse

Second Christmas Day we spent with Steen’s sister’s family at her house. Musse has always been so hospitable and today was no different. We arrived midst the hubbub of her family there and those still coming in. I first met her when I lived her in 1970, when her husband was still alive and her three children were in their twenties. Now she is 93, just a year and a half younger than Steen. They have always been very close siblings and remain so. They text each other every morning, which is a good thing, considering they both live alone. Her three children over the years had 6 children, and now she is expecting to see her 11th great grandchild in March. It’s a close knit, bubbly family that I was happy to spend the holiday with. Imagine four generations sharing the day. They were so gracious in welcoming me once again to the festivities in their family home, where Musse has lived for 67 years. . Not all were present but we were about 24 in total, making for a crowded, fun bunch.

We began by sitting for a Christmas lunch at tables spread through the dining and living room. Food was passed, drinks were had, cheers went up. Totally delightful.

After the dishes were cleared by many helping hands the Christmas tree was pulled out from its spot near the wall to the middle of the living room. The candles on the tree were lit and we all joined hands walking around the tree singing Christmas carols. Most I had to hum as I didn’t know all the lyrics, but watching the smiling faces of the wee ones was enough to know how things went. We sang a good number of songs ending with the children’s favorite, a lively number that keeps repeating. During this song we walked hand in hand through the entire house – all three floors! Such fun!

And then they all managed to find their way to the stairs for the annual Christmas photo. What a hoot getting everyone in place and trying to get them to pose or at least look toward the camera.

The singing was followed by the opening of gifts with many thanks to be heard even from the youngest ones. Eventually we all moved downstairs to a very hyggelig place with candles lit, the lights low and a fire burning in the fireplace. Musse sat in a comfortable chair, opened a very old book and began reading a Danish Christmas story. You could have heard a pin drop, even with all the little ones there. Her voice was mesmerizing and I couldn’t help but fall into the rhythm of the tale. Once over everyone was happy to partake of coffee and æbleskiver and various cookies and pieces of marzipan. The talk became animated, with me able to catch just bits and pieces of multiple conversations. It was sufficient to just be there soaking up the love this family shares and their happiness in being together for the holiday.

We finally broke up towards evening so those with young children could drive hone before their bedtime and as may of the adults have to work tomorrow. Home to Steen’s we went for a peaceful few hours until we could have a short holiday FaceTime chat with my daughter, Mandy, who’s currently in Vail, CO.

Then off to bed for my last evening at Steen’s house.

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