The Velvet Café

A room for thoughts about movies

Christmas peaks before you’ve opened the presents

with 24 comments

When is your top moment of Christmas? If you ask your kids, they might, just might raise their hands for the Christmas present opening, either it takes place on the 24th of December as in my country or on the 25th as in the rest of the world.

If you ask the parents of the same kids they might vote for the sweet hours AFTER the said Christmas present opening when they can take a quick nap in the sofa in front of the TV that shows some movie they’ve already seen and won’t regret missing out a few scenes here and there. They cherish every ounce of the temporary peace while the children are occupied with their new stuff. Next day the shops will open and they’ll have to join the endless queue of other parents who need to complain about the toy that didn’t work, change the doubles or buy those batteries that weren’t included in the package. But that’s tomorrow. Now they’re in the stress free pocket in time and space for a little while longer.

One of my personal favorite moments is the very beginning of the midnight mass in the old gothic cathedral in my home city. Thousands and thousands of candles are burning in the light crowns, but can only barely lit up the huge building, the highest church in entire Scandinavia. From somewhere in the darkness one single voice is hovering: O Holy Night. And when the choir speaks up: “Fall on your knees! O hears the angel’s voices”, I can’t keep my tears away.  Beauty is beauty, regardless of beliefs.

When Christmas peaks
But I’d say that if I’m looking for the day when the Christmas feelings usually peak, this happens far earlier – namely on the night of December 23.

It never fails. It’s as if all pieces all of a sudden fall into their places. Every inch of the house smells of Swedish Christmas. It’s a combination of burning candles, fresh orange peel, glögg (a Swedish variant of the more well known glühwein), the recently made, still warm Christmas ham (which we enjoy on a slice of dark bread, covered with a thin layer of mustard) and the green smell from the Christmas tree coming alive after we’ve brought it inside and decorated it. Frank Sinatra is singing Christmas classics to me as I’m writing the rhymes for this year. All the gifts are still wrapped up in beautiful papers and expectations. Anything is possible. No one has yet become disappointed or exhausted. The air full of promises.

The Hobbit trailer
And that’s exactly how I feel about the trailer of The Hobbit when it was released only a couple of days before Christmas.

I’m usually not a fan of trailers; at the best they’re just boring or misleading, at the worst they’re full of spoilers. So while I won’t walk out of the way not to watch them, I don’t give them particularly much attention. But the trailer for The Hobbit had me.

It’s a promise, wrapped in the most beautiful paper. It’s a package, but as opposed to other Christmas gifts I can’t open it, regardless of how desperately I want to. I will have to wait, not until tomorrow, but for an entire year before I’ll be allowed to. Even unopened, this little fragment of a movie that lies one year into the future is probably my favorite present this year.

I’m already starting to lose count of how many times I’ve watched it. There’s just so much to love. The casting of Martin Freeman as Bilbo – such anperfect choice! The glimpse we caught of Gandalf, Galadriel, Gollum and of Middlearth – such a sweet revisit! Not to speak of the wonderful song. If they didn’t have me before, they had me once they started to sing.

For any other Christmas present that would be unacceptable. But in this case, it’s rather a blessing. For one more year I’ll go around, humming that song to myself. For one more year I’ll get to watch those lovely little production videos. Regardless of how the film actually turns out to be in the end, I will have had one year of pure delight waiting for it. It’s like the magic of the night before Christmas, stretched out for 365 days.

A Christmas toast
And now only one thing remains.

Dear café guest, whoever you are! I’m glad you stopped by to rest your feet and chat for a while in the middle of the season business. I hope you enjoyed your drink. Either you’re celebrating Christmas or not, at least I hope you’ll get the opportunity to sneak into a cinema and get yourself some wonderful movie experiences the next few days. There’s an abundance of great new movies to watch right now, at least where I live. Now just to make up my mind which ones to see first… But I reckon that’s a bit of a luxury problem.

Anyway: I wish you all the best and at least one truly enjoyable moment this weekend!

A lot of movie blogs will take a few days off for the holidays. If you have cravings for something fun to read and if you don’t already follow him, I’d recommend the chocolate box we got from Roger Ebert this year, full of small, delicious lines from various reviews over the years. Some of them are very harsh, but in most cases I suspect it’s well deserved. And it’s so fun to read! How I wish I had his way with words. That would be something to put on my wish list.

See you on the other side of Christmas!

Cheers – and as we say in Sweden: God Jul!

Written by Jessica

December 23, 2011 at 5:00 pm

Posted in Uncategorized

24 Responses

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  1. Perfect review Jessica. Oh how I would love to be there for midnight mass. You paint a beautiful picture. Merry Christmas!


    December 23, 2011 at 6:28 pm

    • Thank you Sandy! Yes, that midnight mass is quite something. Even if the church will take well above a thousand visitors, there’s always a queue an hour before it starts and not everyone will get a seat, some people will end up standing.


      December 24, 2011 at 9:25 am

  2. God jul Jessica!


    December 23, 2011 at 8:22 pm

  3. What a fantastic write up Jessica Thank you. The Bilbo film is now at it’s peak, wrapped in promises of greatness, and as good as our imagination will make it. I totally share your longing, and treasure the wait as well…

    God Jul!


    December 23, 2011 at 8:38 pm

    • God Jul Henke! And now I’ve also heard that they’re released the fifth blog diary film. More goodies for the fans to chew on for Christmas!


      December 24, 2011 at 9:26 am

  4. I will have my Christmas-peak in just a few minutes when I eat my first skinkmacka with strong mustard and drink some julmust and just breathe slowly, everything is done, Santa Claus is more than welcome now 🙂

    God jul Jessica!


    December 23, 2011 at 9:40 pm

    • I think we’re peaking about at the same time Fiffi. Swedish Christmas ftw!

      God jul Fiffi!


      December 24, 2011 at 9:29 am

  5. God jul to you too Jessica… BTW, which version of Fanny & Alexander did you see? The theatrical or the extended mini-series version? I’ve only seen the theatrical cut.

    Steven Flores

    December 23, 2011 at 10:03 pm

    • I’ve watched both, the 5 hour version as well as the 3 hour one. I watched the 5 hour in a special show in a theatre. It made my butt hurt but it was great. It’s been way long since I watched this last time. I’d love to revisit it. Now I just popped in an image becuase of the Christmas theme.


      December 24, 2011 at 9:28 am

  6. Merry Christmas Jessica!

    Bonjour Tristesse

    December 24, 2011 at 12:29 pm

  7. God Jul Jessica! Really nice write up of Uppsala domkyrka. Its amazing!
    However, I found the hobbit trailer (teaser?) less amazing or to be frank quite boring. What are your thoughts on the novel?

    Joel Burman

    December 24, 2011 at 12:36 pm

    • Thanks Joel. I can verify it was amazing.

      I really enjoyed the trailer, but then I was a big fan of the trilogy movies. It knit very well into those and I thought to myself: “wonderful, more of the same! I’ll slip into that world once again”. As of the novel: it is a bit childish and very different to the trilogy. I’ve read it a couple of times and I enjoy it, but not anywhere near as much as I enjoy the LOTR series. So considering the material I think the trailer looks very promising.


      December 26, 2011 at 11:03 am

  8. oh that trailer does look completely inspired! It made me pull out my old animated hobbit version. The 1977 one that was made by what would become Studio Ghibli, if you’ve not seen it I highly recommend it, it holds up -much- better than the old animated LotR. While I’m still really excited about the hobbit next yeaer, revisiting this one this year was really nice.

    The singing in the trailer though, still sends chills down my spine.


    December 24, 2011 at 5:01 pm

    • I had no idea that there was an animated version of this one! Thank you for mentioning it. I wonder if I could get hold on it….

      It is very inspiring indeed. I also had a look at the fifth blog video that was released the other day, showing some of the locations that will appear. Oh, this is going to be so nice!


      December 26, 2011 at 11:05 am

  9. I’m with you all the way on Christmas actaully peaking on the 23rd. Hope you’re having as nice a christmas as The Hobbit will turn out cinestically (is that even a word? ;))

    God Jul!


    December 25, 2011 at 10:23 am

    • It’s boxing day and the Christmas frenzy is already going down… We even had spaghetti for dinner yesterday in a sudden rash of “want something different”, would you believe it?

      But I still enjoy the Christmas tree and some chocolate and good movies, which isn’t bad. Not bad at all.


      December 26, 2011 at 11:07 am

  10. A belated, but a very Happy Christmas to you!

    I finally managed to attend a Midnight Mass again, after 8-9 years’ absence for one reason or another, and it was a highlight of my Christmas. I’m not a Christian by a long shot but it is important for me, and as you say, beauty is beauty regardless of beliefs, and for me it’s a time for beauty. It wasn’t a big or ornate church, but it was still such a beautiful experience I had difficulty holding back the tears myself.

    As for The Hobbit, it looked full of promises of pages falling onto the screen. And there was much cussing when we saw the release date. I can barely wait!


    December 27, 2011 at 12:57 pm

    • Thank you! I’m glad to hear you too enjoyed it. I don’t get to go every year, but when I’m in town for Christmas I try to go if possible. It’s a guaranteed moment of beauty and inner calm, no matter if the Christmas has been stressful otherwise.

      It will be a long year to wait for the Hobbit for sure. But don’t miss the diaries! They’re a nice little apetizer.


      December 27, 2011 at 11:18 pm

  11. God Jul!

    Good news about the teaser. But I hope I can stay away from it (not watch it, I mean) to get a fresh viewing of the film when it is finally released. 😉


    December 27, 2011 at 8:16 pm

    • I usually don’t watch trailers apart from when I’m forced to as I’m waiting for a movie to start in a theatre. But this one is an exception. I’m so enthusiastic about the entire thing that I don’t think trailers can take away anything from it. Rather they’ll help me to build up my expectations even more…


      December 27, 2011 at 11:19 pm

      • Have you already blocked out Tintin? Hahahah

        Joel Burman

        December 27, 2011 at 11:25 pm

        • I never saw that trailer… If I had I wouldn’t have become so shocked at how bad the movie was.


          December 27, 2011 at 11:36 pm

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