Tuesday, December 27, 2011

On Meeting Santa Claus - A Swedish Christmas Tradition

I used to be jealous of Swedish kids - who wouldn't be? They get to meet Santa. Every year, they get their presents one day early, and they get them hand delivered. What could be better? I mean, sure it made sense to my five year old self, Santa makes his early stops in the North, before heading out to us poor children who live far away, but I was still a bit, well, jealous.

(Note: I mean American jealous, not Swedish jealous - and yes, I think there is a difference).

But for all of the envy I had as a kid, I never got to experience Swedish Santa Trauma - which is really a right of passage for most Swedish toddlers.

Because really, a weird guy with a long beard, dressed in red - he wants to give you a hug. And what do most kids do? Scream. Cry. Go nuts.

A report back from most of my mom friends shows that about 75% of the two year olds in our social circle  had a nervous breakdown upon meeting Santa. There were tears and screams.

Our little Swede showed his Santa fears early - and thus we worked a lot to disway him. We talked about tomta. Looked at tomta. He met Tomta at day care.

So when the day arrived? I am proud to report no tears were shed and no screams were uttered.

Instead Little Swede looked skeptical, but gladly accepted his gifts. He refused to hug Santa, or even say good-bye, but he did give him a little side-eye now and then.

And our Santa? He was great. His beard almost looked authentic as he trudged in from the rainy outdoors.

All in all a merry Christmas. I have a feeling next year meeting Santa will be a much different experience for the Little Swede.

I think we will be adopting our SILs tradition of telling the story that the Christmas goat brings presents that arrive at the house at other times as well, since we had a more traditional American Christmas the morning of Christmas Eve.

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