The first sign of Christmas

By Catherine


Yesterday was the first Advent and here in Sweden that's the start of Christmas season. When you have one foot in two different cultures you cherry pick; so the Christmas boxes came out after Thanksgiving.

Little more than a year ago I had a small stroke, so I'm not comfortable flying yet. It's strange not spending Thanksgiving in Dallas and I miss family and friends. I miss the warmth of Texas winter too, especially when I look outside the window; the snow is still falling and the ground is covered in a white blanket.

On the other hand it's fun to take some time off and do the Christmas decorations. In Sweden the Christmas tree goes up just a few days before Christmas Eve and stays throughout January. So in our cherry-picking-culture-thingy-Christmas-tradition it goes up after Thanksgiving and stays throughout January.

In Sweden we celebrate advent by lighting advent candles, one each advent. They usually resides in a special candle holder, filled with highly flammable moss, faked red mushrooms and small gnomes, if you read my book Christmas Magic you know all about the gnome. Needless to say that fire damage escalates in Sweden during December. 

The most special thing about advent is the Christmas Star we hang in the window. Nowadays they are in every color and type imaginable, but I prefer the clasical orange paper stars from my childhood. For me; that will always be the first sign of Christmas.

Read the first three chapters in my books

Vinden ven med ett öronbedövande ljud runt huset, ett komplext och skrämmande ljud. I bakgrunden fanns ett otäckt susande som aldrig riktigt slutade. I förgrunden knakade och tjöt det i takt med att hela huset skallrade, vilket skapade ett olycksbådande dovt ljud. Vinden fick huset att kränga och vrida sig, som om det försökte skydda sig genom att röra sig i ryckiga kvidande rörelser.


I first met him on a bright summers day, when I almost stumbled over him. He was just a few feet away from our front porch, a tiny little rugged Pica Pica; or Eurasian magpie as he’s more commonly called.

He looked at me with his big, black eyes and he wasn’t scared. When I took a few steps away from the porch, he turned around and walked towards a pile of wood, that my husband had… more

She sat there staring through the airplane window. It was blue sky as far as Helena could see – no other planes, no nothing. If she leaned towards the window, she could see the clouds down below. It was the perfect weather for traveling.

"What are we doing here?" she quietly asked herself. "Is this crazy?"

Helena gazed at her seven-month-old baby boy, soundly asleep in her arms… more