I haven’t done one of these in forever.


  1. Cheap :: Sunglasses.
  2. Brace :: “Take a — !”
  3. Delicate :: Jewelry.
  4. Era :: Gilded.
  5. Naked :: …as a jaybird.
  6. Bad TV :: Sitcoms.
  7. Gift :: Generous.
  8. Forgive :: …and forget.
  9. Staple :: Flour and sugar.
  10. Last :: Tango in Paris.

* * * * *


We have the Yule log burning on the TV.

I am typing this as I wait for Matthew to arrive for Christmas Eve. He is probably expecting the traditional Scandinavian smörgasbård, but my holiday spirit is almost completely lacking this year. Smokey and I went out for lunch mid-afternoon at the little restaurant in town. Their salad bar is generally pretty good, and they have the best soup in the county — except today. I swear it was the C team in the kitchen and on the waitstaff. The split pea soup was thick but mediocre and beef & bean was completely blah. I commented to Smokey that our waitress came across as borderline retarded but I decided later she was just beaten down, a victim-in-waiting. We wanted to take her under our collective wing and be nice to her and boost her self-esteem. Maybe that is how this year’s Christmas spirit will be manifested (in our imagination; I doubt the waitress would be willing to be adopted.)

Re: smörgasbård. Although one of my grandmothers was from Norway, the only Scandinavian Christmas tradition my family ever followed was opening gifts on Christmas Eve. I never had lutefisk or lefse until I was an adult. Actually, I’m not sure lutefisk has ever passed my lips, although I have had lefse on numerous occasions. But I was introduced to the Christmas Ever smörgasbård by Smokey’s family. His paternal grandmother came from Denmark and served a December 24th supper of [what she claimed were*] traditional Scandinavian dishes — rye and pumpernickel breads, ham, gaffelbiter** and ordinary pickled herring,…

Matthew is here! I shall return.

…crabmeat and pea salad, and a relish tray that included watermelon pickles and green and black olives. Dessert was Danish butter cookies. After she passed on, Smokey’s mother continued the tradition, although she substituted tiny canned shrimp*** for the crab meat in the salad. I continued the smörgasbård tradition on and off for many years but with better ingredients. [/snark]

Grandma Jensen was a bit of a character. She spoke with a strong Danish accent and looked like everyone’s idea of the perfect granny. However, the first time I met her, the night before our wedding, she had a cigarette in one hand and a Manhattan in the other. Her husband had been dead for a few years, unmourned due to his rampant alcoholism and sour disposition. He tried to kill her and the four children with the fire ax once, but Grandma took everyone into the bedroom of the apartment and blocked the door with a chest of drawers. Happily, he passed out before he succeeded in hacking his way through the door. The chest was in the basement of Smokey’s house when he was growing up and still bore the marks of the ax.

Well, that was a pleasant story.



Wishing you all a joyous Christmas and a happy new year. I hope you are able to be together with your family and/or friends and that everyone gets along.!
Feliz Navidad! God Jul! Glædelig Jul!



* Smokey’s dad claimed that she did this simply because she didn’t want to cook. He remembered his grandmother always making a ham dinner on Christmas Eve.

** The gaffelbitte we had were different and presumably better than the ones at the link. They came in a tiny glass jar and were not nearly as vinegary as other pickled herring. Delicious!

*** The canned shrimp were always rather mushy. Not my idea of proper shrimp.


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3 Responses to I haven’t done one of these in forever.

  1. gayle says:

    When I was growing up, our only Christmas Eve tradition was shouting “Go to sleep!” at the children… 8)

  2. k says:

    Ingebretson’s. Gets me every time.
    I actually decorated this year – well, put up the tinsel tree. But I cooked food, not pizza. And I made a cake, which has not been frosted yet. Baby steps.

  3. Nicole says:

    Yikes, that’s quite a story. Glad it had a happy ending.

    I personally like the tiny shrimp, but I’ve always gotten the fresh (frozen) version and not the canned ones. I love them in salad.

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