Christmas is an odd phoney-ish holiday in the Scandinavian countries. I mean it really don’t have that much to do with the birth of Christ – some sources say his actual birthday was some time in April, the holiday was placed in December to replace the old yule solstice celebrations. Our traditions up here don’t have much to do with Jesus either – we put up lights everywhere (which fits well with marking the longest, darkest nights of the year) and decorate our homes with elves and a heapin’ big tree.
In fact we even still call it yule in Scandinavia (jul, jül, jól, joul, joulu, jõulud). The only links to Christianity as far as I can see is that some people use angels for decoration, that we usually put a star on top of the christmas tree, and that we sing christmas songs. Of course that’s not gonna stop us heathen atheists from celebrating either way. Christmas is a good opportunity to spend some quality time with your family, sing some good songs, and keep the economy going with Blatant Consumerism™.
In my family we’re making it hard on ourselves by only giving to our closest family (parents, grandma), drastically reducing the number of presents under the tree compared to what it could be like with the extended family. We compensate by shamelessly buying each other 2 or 3 gifts, labelling superfluous presents as though they were from the cats. Thus, this year’s harvest:
- The Dark Knight (DVD)
- The Bourne Identity, Supremacy, Ultimatum (DVD)
- Fallout 3 (PC DVD)
- Prince of Persia 2008 (X-Box 360)
- PC Gamer UK 1-year subscription
- Nikon soft case for my D-SLR camera
All great gifts. The two surprises were The Dark Knight which I had not wished for but is terrific, and the soft case which I had wished for but forgotten that it was on my list. Furthermore, I got a couple of tremendous surprises in the form of presents from Nick and Gelo, who sent me Jet Set Radio Future (via Amazon) and Blazing Angels 2 (via Steam), respectively. Both fantastic gifts which set off a bit of a Steam-powered gift giving thing as I decided I shouldn’t only send presents to people who gave me some first. In the spirit of supporting the little guy, I chose to maintain a theme of “indie games” for all my gifts, and as usual I find that I’ve enjoyed giving stuff even more than I enjoy getting it:
- Mount & Blade
- Depths of Peril
- Defense Grid
All in all, great christmas. Oh, and the best pork rinds ever. Ever.