The weeks before Christmas was cold and draughty in my childhood. Windows were flung wide open in the cold winter mornings. Rugs, blankets and carpets were aired, furniture was moved. Everything was cleaned, polished, buffed, washed and organized. No matter which room you entered you would find a bucket with soapy water or someone on top of a ladder. My cozy nooks were all gone, there was no place to hide with a book or even homework. Of course we were enlisted to work. My mother, sometimes her mother, and then the hired help, was not enough. When we were older, it was fun. We played Christmas music and did one room after another together. Even so, I kept thinking, why?
December is the darkest month in Norway, no one will actually see if your house is clean. Much better to do it in spring, when it shows!
December is the month with most parties, when I grew up there was a steady stream of visitors, and every party left the house in need of a clean up. Why not wait, no one visits in february!
For several years I had to test these theories, I did neither have the health nor the help it took to do a major house cleaning every Christmas. I kept at it during the year, but I never had the strength to have the whole house clean at one time. To defend myself I even laughed at those “old-fashioned ones” that still did a Christmas cleaning. Our house was cosy and warm all December, and layers of gingerbread dough, glue and glitter was added every day.
I did not miss the draughty days, but I slowly realized that I did miss the feeling of Christmas as a fresh start, a clean, clutter free slate, ready for a new year. As I grew wiser I knew that my foremothers had not kept washing and cleaning, scrubbing and polishing to keep up with tradition. They all had joined the ritual of cleansing. Hard, but satisfying work. Leaving the old behind, sloshing the dust and dirt of both crushed hopes and happy memories out with the sloppy waters.
A wise old aunt said, scrubbing is not the beginning of a clean house, but the end of a dirty one.
I have the strength and health now, and I dare to admit, I love a clean house at Christmas!
Todays pictures are from yesterdays beach-walk at Coal Point, who would not love a day of cleaning when topped with an excursion like this!
Believe me, I know better than most how frantic and exhausting it is possible to make the season of peace and goodwill. The main story on Indexyourlife in December will be my way to a Christmas free of tangles.
In December my brother and I write an advent calendar blog together in norwegian.You may visit at JULEFRYD or Christmas Joy. This year we will be writing or sharing thoughts and joys of gifts, giving and sharing. We will post there every day, and I will share some of that blog here on indexyourlife too.
All pictures at Indexyourlife are mine, if not otherwise stated.