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Hello and welcome to the December edition of Expat to Expat! As you can see we have a new logo and would love for you to add it to your post!
The questions this month center on holidays and traditions which can be a really hard time for us away from home but also a time of finding joy in new and unexpected ways.
1. Has your idea of the holiday season changed since becoming an expat?
My idea of the holiday season has changed since moving to Sweden in that I have realized it is what I make of it. For so many years my idea of holidays was shaped by outside cultural ideals and what my family had always done. This included not only Christmas but Halloween, Thanksgiving, New Years, Fourth of July and on and on. Now though that those outside forces are gone or non existent for many of those days I am able to do them in the way that I want and will be a blessing to my life rather than a strain. With that in mind and Christmas at hand I am not feeling so morose over not being in California or Southern Sweden with family as Mr. H and I can create all the joy, excitement and wonder that this holiday season is about just the two of us to our exact needs and wants.
2. How do you build new holiday traditions, while keeping ones that remind you of “home”?
Over the years Mr. H and I have been able to create a wonderful hybrid of old and new traditions that keep our current life and our idea of home in place but it has not been without a few trial and errors. Part of it has been what makes sense where we are living, for example we both love Christmas trees and had one in California with a mix of ornaments from Target and IKEA but since we have moved back a tree and all its accoutrements has not been in our budget.
My family though is very big on stockings, as you can see from that picture, and as I have the stockings my mom made for her and my dad when she was pregnant with me they are up each year and when I look at them I now have mixed memories of being a kid and having my own little family Christmas with Mr. H.
When we were in California we wanted to include some Swedish aspects to our Christmas celebrations and as a whole julbord (Christmas dinner) was too much to procure we found other ways to make Mr. H feel homey. Like making a pepparkakshus (gingerbread house), getting a traditional window light and a straw goat.
Funnily enough since being back in Sweden we have only done one out of the three which is getting window lights but like I said you just take each year and instance in hand and do what you can.