Advent Memoir (Carol Olson)

This Advent memoir is from Carol Olson, Rolf Olson’s mother, a resident of Madison, Minnesota, and member of Faith Lutheran Church.

There was church every Wednesday during Advent, and I know that if mother and father went, we kids went, too.  And there was all of the baking preparations then, baking cookies and making traditional Norwegian sweets and breads.  It was an exciting time.  I can remember mother making pickled pig’s feet in a big crock.  One of my cousins and I loved them, and we would get up at night and raid them.  The other cousins would raid the sweets, but I think they [mother and father] knew we were doing it.  One time we were sitting on the floor eating and mother came in. She didn’t say anything, and she just left again.  So I guess it was all right.

Christmas was always a special season because all the family was together at that time. Two of my favorite treats that time of year were Julekake and kringla.  There were two types of kringla-one is more like a cookie with no yeast, and the type I liked was more like a bread with yeast in it and some anise seed in them.  We would use this type of kringla for after Christmas sandwiches to have the ham and turkey that we didn’t finish Christmas Eve.  I really like krumkake and lefse.  I still like them.

Christmas programs were important when I was a kid.  The cousins and I would always do a Christmas program at home because we all had pieces that we did for Sunday school.  So we would stand up in front of the family at home and do our pieces.  The ones who could play the piano would play one or two selections for the family sing-a-long.  This would happen on Christmas Eve after the dishes were done.  The oldest grandchild was always the one to plan the program.  The program was quite lengthy, so it was hard for the younger ones to wait.  The final part of the program was always the reading of the Christmas story from Luke and singing “Silent Night” together.  Then it was time to pass out the gifts.  We didn't do it in any particular order because there were too many young ones.  So everyone just dug in and ripped things apart.  It was torture to wait.  Absolute torture.

My main message about Christmas is this:  the celebration is for the birth of Christ. It’s not about the gifts.
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