Because we live so far away from everyone and everything we knew back in Norway, I seem to be desperately trying to throw down some roots here in Washington by starting new traditions. If we can’t spend Christmas with our families, we need other little rituals to look forward to.
December 23 is called Lille Julaften in Norway, Little Christmas Eve. Christmas Eve Eve? Whatever you choose to call it, that’s when my family would decorate the tree (with the shrill tones of Hanne Krogh’s Christmas carols as our soundtrack) before eating risengrynsgrøt and settling down in front of the tv together to watch Dinner for One and that most wonderful of all holiday movies, National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation.
Last year we spent Little Christmas Eve on Skyline Ridge, where we met Tom and Jasper. Doing it once makes it a tradition, right? Why yes, yes it does! So this year we shuffled back up to Skyline Ridge, accompanied not only by those two stout beasts, but also the welcome additions of John, Scott, Josie and the yellow dogs.
‘Twas cold (as a Christmas hike should be) and we didn’t really have any views, but when we reached the ridge we decided to keep on going anyway. Tom led the way down the backside of the ridge and then up again, steeply, until we reached the Sky. Sky Mountain that is. Unfortunately we still couldn’t see anything, and the wind was giving us all Rudolph noses. We retreated until we found a sheltered spot for cookie consumption, snowball fights and mocking of antlered dogs.
It’s not quite the same as being back home, but this is a tradition I have already grown to love. While we don’t have family around for the holidays, we do have good friends…and we have the Griswolds on DVD.