A father and son’s traumatic Swedish Christmas party

Santa pulled out a box wrapped in animal gift paper and read out a name. In front of him, my son Herman and a pack of mostly blonde-haired 3-year-olds dressed like Santa Claus and gingerbread men waved their arms. One by one, with a gift in hand, they ran to their parents who opened their eyes wide and feigned surprise. I watched from the side and began to panic.

My Swedish wife had the flu that night. So I was at my son’s Santa Lucia and Christmas party without my full-time guide who makes sure I don’t make any missteps on the slippery Swedish etiquette slopes. “Please come with me,” I begged her before I left the house.

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