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Nothing Beats A Traditional Holiday at Home by Kendra Thornton

I am honored to be sharing a post today by guest author, Kendra Thornton.

Have you noticed that people have been walking with much more purpose this time of year, that the music you hear in department stores and elevators has a magical quality, and everyone seems to be focused on finding the perfect gift for cherished family members and friends! Chicago always looks like a snow-covered wonderland, with the opportunity to experience fun as well as excitement everywhere you turn. This time of year our family always turns to the Norwegian traditions that have become an integral part of our holiday celebration for generations. There are plenty of delicious treats and beverages to imbibe as we not only celebrate the Christmas holiday but also eagerly look forward to the start of another New Year.

Everyone gathers in the family kitchen to prepare such ethnic specialties as kringla and lefse. And everyone looks forward to our annual Christmas Eve tradition of serving oyster “shooters”, accompanied by a steaming hot mug of freshly made oyster stew. And it wouldn’t be an authentic Norwegian holiday without toasting to each other’s good health and happiness with a shot of Scandanavia’s official liquor called Akvavit, which tends to burn your throat as it slides down because it is an extremely potent type of alcohol. Everyone is laughing and happy as they shout out the traditional Norwegian greeting of “Skol”, another way of saying “cheers”.
It’s difficult to decide who loves the holiday season more, the adults or the children! Our kids always pitch in to decorate the huge evergreen which sits proudly displayed in our front window and they just as eagerly pitch in to help me cook the traditional Norwegian holiday feast. There is also plenty of ice-skating during December, interspersed with rounds of cookie baking. We are always sure to have an ample supply of freshly baked cookies ready to leave out on a plate for Santa’s arrival, along with a cup of hot chocolate. The children won’t go to bed until we’ve sprinkled the reindeer dust we’ve created outside each of their window sills which helps Santa and his team find our house like clockwork every Christmas Eve.
I’ve been blessed to be able to travel all around the world on business, but nothing beats the joy and excitement of being able to celebrate in your own home at Christmas time. It simply wouldn’t feel like a real Christmas if there weren’t snow outside on the ground and my big, fabulous family surrounding me. Many people debate whether a white Christmas or a warm Christmas is the more desirable holiday. I’ve experienced both, but have come to understand that a white Christmas feels like the real holiday. Snow glistening on the evergreen trees on our property are far superior to being on some sandy beach under palm trees.
For all of the members of the Thornton clan, a cold and snowy Christmas is the best holiday gift any of us could receive. We hosted everyone in the family for a wonderful Thanksgiving this year and we look forward to having the same crowd in our home for Christmas as well. Everyone in the Thornton family wishes you and yours a fun holiday season that is chock full of your favorite foods and beverages, plenty of lively conversation, laughter and people you care about surrounding you. The Thornton Family wishes each of you the happiest of holidays.
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