Me and my STRÅLA – The Start of Christmas Season in the Middle East

Darling! It’s here!! It’s finally here!!! The day when we may with clean conscious start to decorate for Christmas (but considering what a hellish year this has been, if you started early, you have a royal dispensation from moi).

If you live in Canada, the snow is falling, the carols are singing, the gluhwein is flowing and you grab your Tim Hortons take-away to sip while you power shop at 4,896,392 on-line stores. In the Middle East, we are limited.

There is only one game in town – and that game is full of Kramig. Yes, it’s time to wipe down the Linnmon, put the green Dvala on your Sagstua, hold tight to your Knorva, fill the Upphetta and open the IKEA website.

It’s not Christmas – it’s “Vinter.” Lantern shopping transports you to the worlds of Tolkien, Norse mythology and gnomes with enchanting names: Enrum, Borrby, Rotera, Sinnesro. Just scrolling through the pages puts you in a jolly mood: Pomp or Toppig? Laiva or Hemnes? Millberget or Remsta? Romdrup or Bollolvon? Tobias! Lill! GÖRLÖSE!

And you had better be jolly because you have no choice. Yes, we are all Scandinavian for Christmas in the Middle East. Talk about your captive audience. A grocery store might have some candy canes, perhaps a chocolate advent calendar (thanks Lulus!); Carrefour might come through with the foie gras and cheese selection, but for most of us, it’s IKEA or spending hours at work cutting A4 paper into snowflakes during Zoom meetings.

And while we are awaiting our delivery or stringing up our HÖSTPROMENAD, SNÖYRA, LEDFYR, and STRÅLA, we’ve got Elf, the Muppet Christmas Carol, the Mormon Tabernacle Choir or the Westminster Abby Choir in the background. (Of course not It’s Wonderful Life, a horror movie if ever there was one but since this is a day of joy, we won’t go into that. Remind me later to warn you about that seditious movie.)

A merry season to all (and bless you IKEA)