It might not even be December yet but, in my life at least, Christmas is in full swing. I think I've been quite patient on the festive front this year, to be honest. Usually the first day of September comes around and I've already got a queue of Noel reblogs waiting on Tumblr, my Christmas jumper is freshly washed (and I don't mean one of these attractive little Topshop fair isle numbers; this is bright, this is boxy, this is old) and a dozen mince pies are bubbling in the oven. Amongst my friends and family, I'm notorious for my overwhelming quantities of festive spirit (an awkward side effect being that ex boyfriends regularly contact me in December because "it just reminded them of me" but that's a story for another time) but, this year - 2012, the year the world's meant to end - I just haven't felt my usual festive pazazz.
Or - I hadn't. Past tense.
Then my cousin and my mother hopped on a plane and, in a bid to give them a trip that was actually worth coming for, we trawled around every Christmas market, light display and shop window that Gothenburg has to offer. And oh my, was it wonderful. We were tired and we were cold and really, I think by the 1000th fairy light anybody would be able to say they'd seen enough, yet pretty quickly I realised that the air was full of that Christmas fizz, that atmospheric excitement, and I was off.
Many mugs of restorative Glögg, several hours spent trying to choose a favourite bauble and a lot of attempted renditions of Mistletoe and Wine later (a bit of a fail, in all honesty, as only one of the three of us has any musical talent at all) and it feels like Christmas. Not only does it feel like Christmas though; it feels like family too, and that's saying something, given that I'm alone in bed in Sweden, miles away from home. The two just go arm in arm. As I stood in the middle of a department store trying on a rather fetching Santa Claus dressing gown (ahem...) my Dad text me to say that him and my Grandma had made a wish in the Christmas pudding for me. That confirmed it.
God Jul, if you hadn't gathered, is Swedish for Merry Christmas. My Mum's name is Julie, occasionally shortened to Jules or Jule, so we really jumped onto the God Jul bandwagon, saying it all weekend long with a range of intonations that gave it no end of meanings. It didn't really quite occur to us until last night that anybody listening in would just think we were the most festive (correction: strangest) trio they'd ever encountered, shouting Merry Christmas all over the place and dropping it casually into conversation. There are worse things to be though, I guess.
I'll leave you with some more pictures from the weekend. They all come with a heavy dose of comforting, home-from-home, Christmas magic. You'll just have to take my word for that. God Jul and good tidings to all.