Wednesday, December 18, 2013

Guest Blog | There's No Place Like Home for the Holidays! by Kendra Thornton

Kendra Thornton approached me a few weeks ago about the possibility of guest blogging on i blog 4 books to share some Christmas memories with all of you! I'm always open to trying something new, so I'm happy to host Kendra today!

There's No Place Like Home for the Holidays!
by Kendra Thornton

As the Christmas season is upon us yet again, Chicago’s winter wonderland is filled with holiday cheer. Christmas music and silver bells fill the air, people seem light-hearted and happy as they shop for gifts and spend time decorating and preparing for the holiday. Our Norwegian family traditions are highlighted by our flamboyant parties and fun times, all filled with deliciously traditional ethnic food and, of course, drink! We pay homage to our heritage with family traditions and recipes shared amid family members this holiday season.

As we celebrate Christmas, we enjoy our Scandinavian spirit, Akvavit, while offering up a rousing family toast of happiness and good fortune in the New Year to come. Family tradition dictates that we make kringla and lefse recipes together, sharing our feast and spending time together. A carefully crafted and deliciously pleasing bowl, or two, of oyster soup follows the traditional Christmas Eve raw oyster ‘shoot’—literally shoving raw oysters down one’s throat! As our boisterous family shouts ‘Skol!’ the Norwegian translation of ‘Cheers’, our celebration continues as long as we’ve the energy to keep it going!

Ice-skating is one of my children’s favorite pastimes during this wintry holiday season. We decorate the Christmas tree in the bay window with lots and lots of ornaments and lights—many of our ornaments being traditional ones we’ve used year after year, each with a special memory attached. We spend time baking, icing and eating the cookies together as well as snuggling in together with big mugs of hot cocoa. We do save a few cookies to leave out on Christmas Eve! Traditionally, we sprinkle reindeer dust outside the windows of the children’s rooms for them to discover just before they go to bed. Legend has it that the reindeer dust is a way for the reindeer to find you on Christmas Eve. Our traditions are so much fun, loved and enjoyed by all of us.

Home for the holidays is dear to my heart after my globetrotting travels in my previous job. I love Christmas with my family amid the cold and snowy days. I’ve spent the holidays in a variety of climates, warm and cold, and must say that Christmas just doesn’t seem like Christmas without snowy days! I’ve read a fun article on Gogobot’s blog that compares the holidays in warmer climates—complete with palm trees and skateboards—with what I consider traditional holidays in the cold with snow and evergreen trees. Oh the weather outside is frightful—and I love it come Christmastime! As a child, all my Christmases were spent with frightful weather outside, bright lights and coziness inside—that says Christmas to me!

We are so lucky this year to be spending our Thornton family Christmas at home, welcoming our relatives into our home to celebrate with us. Our big family Thanksgiving was wonderful and we hope to repeat the joy come Christmastime. We wish you and your family a bright and cheerful holiday followed by a prosperous and happy new year! Happy Holidays to your home from the Thornton home!

Kendra Thornton: Travel advocate, TV spokesperson, PR businesswoman, proud wife and mama of 3. I am a long time travel expert who has been packing my bags and traveling the world since I was 3 months old! I've found my utmost desire in life is right here in my own home. I hope you all have a wonderful holiday season and I'm glad to welcome in some of my family traditions with yours!

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