Christmas peaks before you’ve opened the presents | The Velvet Café

fannyWhen 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!

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