I started to write an answer to the "home vs.visit" thread but since I celebrate christmas so differently than most of you, I had suddenly written an essay, just trying to explain why my answer was going to be "home".
Well, where to start?
Here in Iceland we celebrate christmas on the 24th. All stores and restaurants are closed (I know that hotel restaurants are open because of the turists, itīs getting more and more popular to be in Reykjavik for christmas, or at least New years). Some stores close at 2 or 3 pm but christmas start at 6 pm. Then people either go to church or have dinner. Iīm always at my parents house, in my hometown on the north-east side of the country (only 2500 inhabitants) and we listen to the church bells on the radio at 6 oīclock, kiss each other "Gleðileg jól" (merry christmas) and then we have dinner. We eat ptarmigan (grouse) that my father hunts and after dinner we open the gifts we give each other (we donīt get gifts from Santa since people here donīt belive in him, thatīs another story. Donīt worry, we have someone else, and I will tell you all about it if you want to.) Then we eat the dessert (right after dinner we are too stuffed), then we open the christmas cards and read them outloud and then, usually around midnight, we go to the cemetery. Thatīs just something me and my parents like to do at that time, it is not something people do around here. Most people do that earlier that day and we do that too but thatīs just for lighting a candle. We live next to the cemetery so itīs just a few steps and thatīs the only time of year when it is completely silent. And it is so beautiful with many many small crosses and a lot of outdoor candles everywhere. We go to the graves of my grandparents and other members of the family and friends.
Earlier that day I go with my parents and we deliver the christmas cards and I try to kiss&hug as many of my friends and family as I possibly can. On the 25th, Christmas day, we stay at home and eat, read and watch tv. A lot of people have family gatherings that day but my parents both have a large number of brothers and sisters, all of them have children and most of them have grandchildren as well, so we donīt all meet that day. My mom works with the elderly so she often has to work for the holidays and then me and my dad visit her there.
We are not always just three for christmas, my boyfriend has been with us once and my brother and his family was with us last year and that was fantastic. He lived in Danmark but just moved back home so he will be with us this year again. And my sister lives in Norway with her family and she usually comes to visit in the summertime instead because she doesnīt get that many days off around the holidays. And then it is the weather, you can never know about the weather around here. Too much snow? Too windy? Itīs always a lottery, will you get a fly home?? Last year my boss gave my the day off, 23.december, so I could fly home the night before. Luckily, because the weather was crazy the next day. My brother was coming from Danmark that day but his flight from Reykjavik to my hometown had been cancelled so he drove all night and got home to mom and dad at 7 am.
Well itīs getting late and Iīm looking forward to wake up tomorrow because then christmas will be closer then today.
Hope you all liked reading a little bit about my christmas.