Friends are the Best Gift

In our circle, we rarely do institutionalized gifting. We don´t buy Christmas presents, and rarely celebrate birthdays, unless someone actively invites us. Surprise parties aren´t particularly common in Swedish culture, I think. It´s something you see on imported (American) television. Probably because Swedes have a natural inclination towards being quiet, unassuming people, who cringe at the very thought of being the centre of attention. Yes, it´s a cliché, but like most clichés, there is some truth in it.

Yesterday, I went over to a couple of friends of mine, an old school mate and her 9-year-old son, a very precocious, gifted child, and they surprised me with a wonderful gift, a home-made wheat bag, which will be great to have in the cold months that are ahead. As if that wasn´t enough, I got an unused pair of jeans that fit me perfectly, weeded out from a brimful closet. I didn´t even own a pair of jeans, so how perfect was that!

This, in combination with fika*, the traditional Swedish mid-morning or afternoon snack that consists of a cup of coffee or tea and a sweet bread of some kind, like a cinnamon bun, a piece of cake, or a cookie, makes a perfect Sunday!

* this particular friend once introduced me to vrål-fika (lit. roaring fika), a cup of coffee or tea with a  whole platefull of sweetbreads, the fika equivalent of the grand dessert, a veritable sugar fest! Also, on a traditional kafferep (coffee party or kaffee klatsch), you´ll have time to take påtår and tretår (lit. tår = tear or drop, på = on = on top of the first, and tre = three or third).

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