Tuesday, January 03, 2006

Honey lights

My favorite phrase in my translation of the Odyssey is “the honey lights of home.” It’s hygge, it’s what Dorte’s house had that Jorgen’s didn’t. There are a lot of things I’m willing to do without, but to have a house with that kind of glow is one thing I won’t give up.

Danish has a verb for “to stress out over Christmas” – julestresse - which I find entirely reasonable. It’s not Christmas without Mom or me breaking down in tears for one reason or another, which started this year in the computer lab in Denmark when I found out I was only going to have a day and a half in Richmond before we went off to the tour of relatives’ houses. I wondered if I was crazy for spending my one evening at home having four friends over instead of sleeping off jet lag, but I spent the day in a blur of baking and decorating and extending tables and grating potatoes. Suddenly it all came together and the eight of us were holding hands around the table with candles and a big plate of latkes, singing “Joy to the World” in three-part harmony. There they were, the honey lights of home. Especially seeing it through Andrew’s eyes, to have the whole family together and everyone smiling was suddenly worth any amount of julestress and jet lag.

Tonight after the high school reunion I pulled a similar hostessing feat when five people unexpectedly came home with me for dinner. I had hoped that one of the things I would learn from the Danes would be their hospitality prowess, and I think I pulled off a very decent evening with tea and candles and vegan chocolate cake and everything. I'm quite pleased with myself.

1 comment:

Andrew said...

They were both wonderful evenings. I think Denmark would be very proud.