I am collecting recipes and stories about Swedish Jul as it is celebrated in the upper Midwest for a book to be published by the Minnesota Historical Society. To keep my mood in a forever-Christmas place this summer, rather than locking tomte away with the other holiday decor he stands in our living room reminding me to Think Jul.
Last week T and I trekked up north, WAY up north, where I spent the afternoon with three of the most generous, funny, smart women I've ever met. They invited me into their homes and told me wonderful stories about their Christmases, families, lives. We ate beautiful smörgås (open-faced sandwiches) and enjoyed a fika with egg coffee, homemade strawberry ice cream, and cookies. I left them filled with their kindness and restored (and my car filled with eggs from their chickens, lettuce from their gardens, notecards from their art studios).
Christmas is all about gratitude and celebration, and these women reminded me that Christmas doesn't just have to happen in December. If we are lucky, sometimes tomte appears in July.