Thanksgiving hadn’t even passed yet, and we attended our first Christmas event. Every year the weekend before Thanksgiving, The Norwegian Church in San Pedro hosts their annual Christmas Bazaar. It’s an opportunity to not only support the church by buying handmade goods and Scandinavian products, but also to remind Sonny and Doobie of some of the unique qualities of their heritage. Christmas is a special time in Norway and the church certainly recreates some of that.
The kids were a bit reluctant to go. It is a 30-minute drive away on the freeway (assuming no traffic) and they were happily and lazily enjoying their first days of Thanksgiving vacation at home. The promise of Solo and waffles did help get them motivated to go, however. I also told them they could help pick out something special to bring back home.
The bazaar is nothing super big and fancy, but it is very cozy and joyful. We were warmly welcomed with hot gløgg and gingerbread cookies in the entryway which was decorated with a Christmas tree. Just beyond that, we could see the Christmas lights on the booths and hear Christmas music playing. Right away the Christmas spirit came over us.
Booths were set up all around the church and offered a variety of Scandinavian merchandise—decorations and household goods, books and music, sweaters and blankets, just to name a few. There was even a tombola booth with prizes that catered to kids and a booth selling handknit products by church members. Most popular was the bakery. Whole wheat bread and cinnamon rolls came right out of the oven and disappeared before you realized it. You could also buy traditional homemade Christmas bread, krumkaker, and kransekake, among other things. I managed to snag some cinnamon rolls before they were all gone.
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After buying some tombola tickets and claiming their prizes, Sonny and Doobie eagerly headed out to the backyard to play. They quickly bonded with other kids over a ballgame. I continued to leisurely browse the booths and take in the warm and cozy atmosphere. I bought tickets for the raffle later on and caught up with Norwegian folk I hadn’t seen in a while.
The time for the raffle drawing came and kids, not just mine, quickly came inside. The grand prize was an iPad and kids all around were eager to win that. Sadly, we didn’t win. We enjoyed some lunch. The kids had waffles with jam and Solo while I had my once-a-year indulgence of rømmegrøt (sour cream porridge) with melted butter, sugar, and cinnamon and rød saft (red juice).
Before heading back home, we stopped by the church’s store. It was filled with all sorts of delicacies from Norway—refrigerated foods like cheeses, sausages, lefse; chocolates and candy; baking ingredients; cookies, flatbrød, crispbread… After much back and forth, we settled on husholdningssaft (juice concentrate), gjetost (goat cheese), Solo, and Nutella. I would have bought melkesjokolade (milk chocolate) but my real favorite kind, Kvikk Lunsj with a touch of sea salt, wasn’t there so I passed. The boys picked out gummy cola bottles for the ride home and were happy they had come after all.