The knitting of the Prayer Shawl is complete. There is still the fringe to be done, a process only slightly less time-consuming than the knitting. The reindeer who is modeling this for me is perhaps a little small for it. However, he looks pretty cozy here with the Christmas books.

The Prayer Shawl is just a big rectangle of Homespun. The stitch is k3,p3 to end, always knitting the purl stitches and vice versa. #2 daughter is a couple of feet into hers.

The Christmas books are our collection of holiday picture books (and a few novels, including A Christmas Carol and Miracle on 34th Street, both worth reading every year). I would have a very hard time choosing one or even a few favorites. The reindeer appears to have been reading The Polar Express, The Jolly Christmas Postman, and The Jan Brett Christmas Treasury. All excellent choices. I haven’t bought a new one yet this year, but I may get Shall I Knit You a Hat?

We have been very busy at work, and at home we have been busy with candy making and cookie baking. We make boxes for friends and relatives and choir directors and delivery people (although I missed the Schwann’s man, I’m sorry to say. He deserved one, too). Here’s the current inventory:

Reindeer Chow
honey nougat chocolates
English Toffee
chocolate taffy
molded peppermint chocolates
Rocky Road
Bourbon Fruitcake Bars
Danish Almond Crisps
Mocha Truffle Cookies
Peppermint Angels
Cranberry Pecan Swirls
Cranberry Chocolate Chip Cookies
Honey Oat Trees
Tin Roof Cookies
Ginger Stars
cranberry tea bread

And probably a few more that I have forgotten. We also still have a few more kinds to make. It smells wonderful at our house.

There is one more mail-order item which has not yet arrived. They said it would come today, but just this morning sent a notice claiming that it will be here on the 23rd. As it has not yet been shipped, I was not surprised to hear that it wouldn’t arrive today as planned, but I am not sanguine about that December 23rd arrival, either. I have been going to the website every day to check on its status. This gives me some sympathy for those customers who call us every day checking on things they have ordered from us.

I do not have the option of plaintive complaints and bids for sympathy at the website. There isn’t any way for me to express anger even if I felt it (and some of our customers do — one told me a couple of weeks ago that it “toasted her biscuits” that her Jack in the Box hadn’t yet arrived). But I know that I was the one who waited too late before placing my order. I was watching the price go down and wanting to take advantage of sale prices. And then I didn’t even spring for faster shipping. So there is no point in my getting mad. Um, even though they said they would get it to me by the 21st.

It is the 21st, the solstice, unless this year it is the 22nd. No matter, I will still offer you this very strange little carol from Sweden, “Yuletide is Here Again.” It is a sprightly dance tune, and you should pull out your fiddle right away and learn to play it so that you will be prepared for any winter solstice dances that might come along.

This the the second verse:

“Yuletide is here again, and Yuletide is here again, and happy days we’ll have till Easter. –
This is not the truth, and this is not the truth, for Lent comes in between and fasting.

Doubtless this reflects the somewhat fatalistic and sad humor of the Scandinavians, a result of their having all that snow and so little light. That Man assures me that South Dakota appeared to be a fairy garden to the hardy Scandinavians when they arrived there. I have had a number of Scandinavian students, and my entire knowledge of those nations is based on my acquaintance with them, so I am obviously talking through my hat, but I know that they find that our American habit of smiling all the time makes us seem, in the words of one Swedish girl, “Like fools, or children.”

Here it is in Swedish. It has a better midi, and probably just sounds better all around in Swedish. So here you can hear it sung very sweetly in Swedish by a treble choir. There. You are now all set.