The spirit of cool-mass
It is amazing how different cultures celebrate Christmass or not as the case may be. One thing every fairy tale or christmas movie, book or story has in common is to look after those without family or those people not able for whatever reason to celebrate Christmas the same way as everyone else with presents etc.
When I lived in Ireland I often experienced this true spirit of christmas personally with people inviting me to their house, the warmth and friendliness of being accepted into their family. Friends and people you didn’t necessarily know very well getting together and extending their celebration to include who-ever would be left alone. And negotiating your way out of it was often and mostly futile, no matter what weather condition.The true spirit of christmas for me in the last number of years has always been the Cork Rotary Christmas Tree Project where people put a ribbon on the tree to remember those that can’t be with them for christmas. The stories you often heard of what people were going through and how much they missed family members was always chilling and very grounding. I miss not being able to attend there.
I don’t miss the usual Irish frenzy of shopping for Christmas presents and here in Sweden most regular Swedes are so well organised that they have it ordered and it doesn’t seem such a big deal after all. With that also comes an extreme cool-ness of people. I have a great bunch of colleagues, but when work ends that is where the contact also ends.
Moving from one country to the next brings new habits and new ways of living, which is to be expected. This time of year I find particularly difficult, I don’t like the whole commercial side of Christmas and I guess that is all I have seen here. Because of recent house moves I am staying Stockholm based for the coming days and I have to say I am contemplating renaming it ‘Cool-mass’, with minus double digit figures to go with the term it is probably apt.
In my current limited experience Sweden is a very closed society where everything is guided by rules and limited to specific boxes. Work is work and it doesn’t cross over. I would hate to be old and alone in this country, because I doubt people would care much or I don’t see it. Reaching out and including someone doesn’t quite happen. If something is to happen, you have to do it yourself and nearly impose your presence on people. If you invite people they are too polite to decline, but then would stop by for a very short period, not even enough for a chat or a real getting to know. I don’t know whether it is the weather or just the way society works, but I would love to know what warms or thaws out the coolness.
So whilst I figure out how to keep myself entertained with movies, some activities and nice food in a beautiful city with beautiful looking people and cool temperatures for company, I sure wish you and yours all the best for the Christmas period.
Some spirited gift suggestion:
“Christmas gift suggestions: To your enemy, forgiveness. To your opponent, tolerance. To a friend, your heart. to a customer, service. To all, charity. To every child, a good example. To yourself, respect.” – Oren Arnold