My husband started the morning by showing our young boys the indestructible power of an old Commodore 64 joystick. Now, I could write about how we are low on money and I eat mostly crackers at the end of the month just to save while apparently my husband NEEDS to buy two old Commodore joysticks for the Commodore that collects dust on our shelf and is never played…
But that’s not what this is about.
No, this post is about the dangers of letting young boys know that something has been labeled ‘indestructible.’ This word doesn’t exist in a young person’s vocabulary. Instead, it is automatically processed as a challenge. I have a feeling that even though these joysticks aren’t hooked up, they won’t last long.
My son likes to tell the story of a friend who claimed his new phone case protected his phone so that the screen would never break, and then demonstrated this by throwing his phone directly on the edge of a piece of concrete where it of course the screen was completely crushed.
I think this destructive habit never really goes away in boys or men. It’s the reason fireworks sales are huge.
Once at the optometrist, a man in front of me complained to the receptionist that he was not happy with his ‘indestructible’ glasses. He said, ‘I throwed ’em on the floor, stomped on ’em with my boots and the lenses got all scratched up!’
Again, it’s not a selling point, it’s a challenge. A challenge that should be reserved for water balloons or pie. Cause at least that would make me laugh.
Heads up. My kids have been singing this since November. Apparently it’s getting even bigger. Warning: Extremely stupid…. but extremely catchy.
I guess what I’m trying to say is you’ve been warned. Embrace it or buy some noise-cancelling headphones.
Even though I’ve lived in Sweden for almost 17 years now, I still see many commercials through the eyes of an American laughing hysterically at weird “foreign” ads. But honestly, how can I not when things like this are common?
This is an ad for a glassses company.
And this is an ad for a mobile phone company.
Today is Knut’s Day, January 13, where many Swedes celebrate julgransplundring (‘Christmas tree plundering’), stripping the tree of its ornaments and throwing it out of the window. As that’s not very nice to the environment, most people take it to a recycling center these days.
We have gone to a few Christmas plundering events. Lots of food and songs and dancing around the tree.
Also, I have to admit that when we lived by a forest, I threw the Christmas tree off the balcony ever year from the second story window. These days, we have a silver plastic tree, so no mess to clean and we just keep it in the storage room.
I did one of those Face Swap photos on the phone the other day with my 9-yr old son. They always leave the faces looking quite distorted, so my son said,
“Mamma, no offense, but I don’t want your face.”
I laughed and said that was just fine, but then he continued:
“So now I don’t need to cut it off and wear it over my own face.”
(As usual, it’s amazing how statements like these tend to give you an area all to yourself on the subway.)
I have a feeling my kids snuck this article into “The Local.”
They’re heiffing mad and they’re not going to take your bull any longer.
Our family was playing a board game together on New Year’s Eve. My youngest son needed to draw a certain type of card for his next turn. He said:
“Please God, let me draw the right card!”
I said, “God probably has more important things to do than help you find a game card.”
He then drew exactly the card he was hoping for and yelled, “No he doesn’t!”
I’ve spent the last 5 days alone with the kids and their various friends who come over to visit. My life has a running background soundtrack of Pokémon, Minecraft and Skylanders. It’s non-stop.
How can they talk this long? It can’t be possible.
They might not be human.
Also, you know when you get a snippet of some annoying song in your head? Well, I’ve had that experience at various points all week when that happens with a live chorus. They can repeat one song line over and over and never stop until someone (me) goes crazy.
“Ducktales, woo-hoo! … Ducktales, woo-hoo! … Ducktales, woo-hoo!”
(No other lines, just that line…. OVER AND OVER)
“Christmas, Christmas time is here, time for toys and time for cheer.
Christmas, Christmas time is here, time for toys and time for cheer.
Christmas, Christmas time is here, time for toys and time for cheer.Christmas, Christmas time is here, time for toys and time for cheer.”
(As if the entire song wouldn’t have driven you crazy anyway, now it’s just the one line.)
I’m just writing this down so it’s understood that when I start writing complete nonsense soon, people will understand how I lost my mind.
(I’d like to add that I was interrupted while writing this for my youngest child to say, “There’s this video with a dinosaur and he goes EEE! EEE! EEE! and then the other dinosaur goes “GEE GEE GEE!” …. which is now causing 3 children in the next room to start screaming/singing EEE EEE EEE! GEE! GEE! GEE!)
Because when I read ads like this,
all I can think of is this…
Who do you think Sophisticated Beet Man is bringing this Christmas greeting to? If it’s Demure Carrot Woman, then he’s out of luck because she’s spending Christmas with Distinguished Onion Fellow.
In Sweden, Santa delivers gifts personally.
Santa visits Swedish homes (after Donald Duck) to hand out gifts personally to the kids. Unfortunately, this usually happens after dad or another male member of the family has just stepped out to check for the newspaper and he misses Santa every year.
When my husband (often the only adult male at our Christmas celebrations) found out that the American Santa Claus visits children while they sleep, he happily accepted that tradition instead and that’s how our family celebrates.
The Christmas gift poem is not as widely done these days, but some people still practice the tradition. The gift-giver writes a couple of rhyming couplets on their presents, hinting at what’s hidden inside, which is then read out before opening it.
A lovely scent of mystery
in a bottle you’ll admire
a few drops at time
may set hearts on fire.
My husband used to do this on my gifts until we had kids and now we are too exhausted to come up with that many rhymes.
This Disney Donald Duck Christmas special has been shown at 3pm every year on Christmas Eve since 1959 and almost all Swedes organize their celebrations around the show. Most families, like ours, open gifts when the show is over. It’s an hour long show with the same set of cartoons since 1959. Everyone has the cartoons memorized.
Honestly, most of the country tunes in to watch this. If you were going to rob a store or vandalize a car in Sweden, 3pm on Christmas Eve would be a good time to get away with it.
Every family has at least one Advent Calendar, usually with bits of chocolate on the inside. There is also a tv calendar and a radio calendar.
The Christmas Calendar (Julkalendern), which dates back to the 1960s, is an annual TV series airing one episode a day in 10 minute increments. Each year it’s a different story.
There is also a radio calendar with a different Christmas story than the television, airing a 10-minute episode each day.
The TV calendar this year is a story set in the early 1900s about a girl and a professor who build a hot air balloon to travel to find the land of Santa Claus.
The radio calendar story this year is about a girl who shakes a snow globe and is taken to a magical land.
We listen to the radio calendar every morning at breakfast, and watch the television calendar every evening.
It’s a good way to practice my Swedish, though many years the stories take place in the 1800s to early 1900s, so I may have picked up a few unused words here and there.
A straw Christmas goat guards the presents under the tree. The tradition is very old and is thought to date back to Viking times during the harvest when the last grain was thought to be magical, or it’s something to do with Thor. Who knows?
Through the years, it has evolved from a prankster, to a scary creature demanding gifts, to bringing the Christmas gifts, to making sure the presents and decorations are correctly done, or for good luck. There are even more old traditions than those.
In the Swedish city of Gävle, the biggest straw goat is erected in the town square every year since 1966, with the idea of bringing in tourists. Well, the tourists certainly come now, but not to see the goat standing. It’s because the goat is famous for being illegally set on fire almost every year. They have tried fire-proofing it, hiring guards, setting up cameras, etc., but it rarely survives until Christmas. This year, it only survived one day before being set on fire.
Some of the interesting destructions include:
1976 – Goat run over by a car
1988 – During a severe blizzard, volunteers guarding the goat retreat into a nearby café for a break and some coffee, assuming that no one could possibly start a fire in the raging storm. They were wrong, and the goat burned.
2001 – Swedes tricked an American tourist into burning it down by telling him it was an annual tradition.
2005 – Burnt by unknown vandals reportedly dressed as Santa and the gingerbread man, by shooting a flaming arrow at the goat.
2010 – (failed attempt) – Two men tried to bribe a guard to leave his post in an attempt to kidnap the goat by helicopter and fly it to Stockholm.
I’m not really sure if this is an actual Christmas card, or just a general “My headless goat wants some apples” card that people often send. Though I prefer “headless ostriches who want bananas” on my greeting cards.
Why does my husband ask me for a Christmas wish list if he isn’t going to buy anything I put on it?