Making Sweden 5% nerdier than it has to be.

Thursday, December 22, 2011

That special feeling

I'm not much of a christmas person. Or rather, I'm not much of christmas person in the way conventional sense, as portrayed in western media that is.

I appreciate it for the short vaccation and presents I usually get and seeing people I love get happy, hopefully, when they open the presents I give to them. And that's basically it for me. Sure the snow is fun, when it shows up that is. But that's more of a winter thing than a christmas thing.

I don't see these holidays as some magical times when miracles can happen and stuff like that. And I'm the other extreme that thinks christmas is waste of time and calls it humbug and what not. I'm not religious in the slightest so that angle falls out as well. Overall, I find christmas to be fun time of year but not the ultimate super-awesome special that lots of other people seem to consider it to be.

Sometimes I wonder if I'm missing out on something there. I have decorated the apartment and it feels cute. But it's very modest and not exactly impressive compared to the stuff I can see outside the window. Still, I like my candle tree.

One thing that comes with this attitude to christmas is that the christmas tv-specials, movies and whatnot rarely if ever work. As far as I'm concerned it's just overly-sentimental sillyness to role my eyes at since most of it is so very forced. And all those that say that Santa is real just really annoys me. That's the truth, most of the time.

Other times I find a gem of christmas show that actually makes it feel like christmas is something special, if you watch it during christmas time that is of course. This year it was the annual swedish Christmas calendar on tv.

For those that don't know, in the nordic countries it's a tradition for tv to show a televised advent calender in 24 parts from December 1 to 24. They're usually targeted to kids and naturally take place during christmas. It's a common topic among my friends which christmas calender from their youth they enjoyed the most. I myself have fond memories of three or four such shows.

This year the Christmas calendar in Sweden is called Tjuvarnas Jul (The Christmas of Thieves) and it is absolutely wonderful. It's a Dickensian story set in 19th century Sweden where a band of thieves called Klappsnapparna (roughly translated - the Giftsnatchers) stalk the streets at christmas doing what thieves do best. Their specialty is that they steal christmas presents.

Our main character is a member of this group called Kurre, a pocket thief with holes in his pockets. He's the joke of the group, even though he really skilled by normal standards, and overall he's only a thief because he doesn't know anything else. Then one day a girl of five or six old appear outside his door with a note that he's her father and only living relative. From there it's a charming and well-written adventure about how Kurre and his daughter, nicknamed Charlie, go from awkward strangers and thieves to a loving family and regular citizens.

That well-written part is totally what makes it for me. The characters and their arcs are greatly realised through the writing and the great acting performances, I'm especially impressed by Tea Stjärne who plays Charlie. Each of the 22 episodes I've seen so far have utilised their 15 minutes very efficiently, focusing either on character or plot development. It's genuinely funny, has moments of real drama and I've cheered once or twice. Yeah, it's for younger people but you have to appreciate good work when you find it. And for me it turned this abysmally gray christmas time into something a little more special with a new episode to look forward to every morning. I can't wait to see how it ends.

So yeah. I will probably never consider christmas to be a magical time of year. But at least this year I'll remember it a little more than others thanks to a little gem of a Christmas calendar.

Oh and my favourite christmas movie is the british-romcom Love Actually. Take what you will from that.

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