Last night we went out to buy our Christmas tree. To be honest, I wasn't that excited. I had been lamenting the fact that despite talking about it for the last three Christmases, we still haven't found the place where you can go out into the wilderness and cut down your own. I've heard it exists, but knowing something exists here and finding out just where it exists are two very, very different things.
There are lots of places to buy trees here-- outside grocery stores with garden centers, outside some churches, and at small village fairs. But if you want to save about 40 dollars, you can also buy a tree at IKEA. Last night was the beginning of IKEA's tree sales this season, and that's where we headed.
We had broken most of our drinking glasses, so we had to first walk through the winding path of the store. As we were nearing the stairs we heard singing. It was very soft at first, but then it expanded and filled the room before us and took our breath away.
There must have been thirty or more children of varying ages all dressed in white carrying candles. In the center of this mass of sweet voices was an older girl dressed up as Santa Lucia, her crown of candles blazing bright. The little boys wore cone hats and carried star wands, like the picture for January (one of my favorites, as shown above) from Elsa Beskow's Around the Year. They sang about five songs, including Santa Lucia, and then slowly, still singing, they padded barefoot out of the room and down some mysterious hallway.
It was so unexpected and breath-taking, and it actually brought tears to my eyes. My children had all rushed over to get a closer look, and they came back to where Einstein and I stood, their eyes bright, their faces glowing.
Unexpected joy. At IKEA.
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And... we have a WINNER! I'm pleased to announce that the children have pulled a name out of the hat. We will be mailing off the mobile and chocolates to:
Thanks everyone for your lovely comments! Having a giveaway was so much fun, I'm sure we will be doing it again soon.
Until next time, I'm wishing you unexpected joy... you never know where you'll find it!