Christmastime is here
LORI ANN REINHALL
The Norwegian American
Dear readers and friends,
By the time you receive this issue, the holiday season will have kicked off in full force. Thanksgiving will be over, many of you will have started your holiday shopping, and in churches and homes around the country, the first candle of Advent will have been lit. Christmastime is here.
There is no denying that this year is very different from years gone past. Many of us were not able to meet with extended family and friends for Turkey Day, travel plans were canceled, we find ourselves living online more and more, as parties, concerts, festivals, and larger public gatherings have been canceled. We have been encouraged by the news of positive vaccine trials, but we still wait with feelings of uncertainty. We worry about our loved ones, we worry about our community, and we worry about the entire world around us.
But even in less challenging times, the Christmas season can be a time of great anxiety for many. This most “wonderful time of the year” is far from merry for many: people can feel overwhelmed by the expectation to be happy, and they may be reminded of what is missing in their lives. A lack of money and the pressure of gift giving can greatly contribute to stress during the holiday season. A sense of inadequacy may set in, and some cases, serious depression. Studies have shown that there is even a greater risk of having a heart attack during the holidays, not only because of an excessive lifestyle but also because of the overall stress of the season.
Here at our newspaper, the holiday season is also a very busy, and to some extent, stressful time. Months of planning go into putting out our holiday issues, as we are working to close out the fiscal year on solid footing. We have shared your stress, too, as we strive to bring you both a meaningful and uplifting experience in the age of the coronavirus. As always, the expectations are high, putting our staff under pressure.
But as I have said many times, each issue of The Norwegian American is like a little miracle to me. Somehow our small, dedicated staff is always able to step up to the plate—and more—and I am always overwhelmed by the contributions of our volunteer resources and the overall community. Everyone gives so generously of themselves, and I see it come through the pages of our newspaper.
And with this issue, we are bringing you something very special for the holiday season, our first “Great Norwegian Christmas Cookie Extravaganza.” It was an idea that began to take shape last summer, as we already then wondered what the holiday season would like this year. Cookies were the first thing that came to mind. Baking is a wonderful home activity, and for many of us, a home-baked cookie symbolizes comfort and love. A home-baked cookie is also not easily commercialized and can link us so directly to our heritage and all traditions of Christmas that we cherish.
Yet when I approached our Taste of Norway editor, Christy Olsen Field, I had no idea of what this project would come to mean for us all. Christy was able to draw in participation from all over the Norwegian-American community, spending countless hours on the logistics of bringing the feature together. There was the gathering of recipes, the baking, and the tasting, and then everything came together for our photo shoot on a Sunday afternoon for one big colorful “wow.”
I want to express my thanks to all the wonderful people involved in this project! I can say, without hesitation, that everyone went far beyond the call of duty. It was simply amazing to see how our newest team member, Madison Leiren, brought her artistry to the table with her outstanding photography skills to bring this feature alive. For me, our first Christmas cookie extravaganza represents teamwork at its absolute best. As the editor-in-chief of the newspaper, I am so happy and so proud to share all this talent and enthusiasm with you.
During this unusual holiday season, we hope that you will remember that our newspaper is here as a tie to the things that you hold dear in your heritage and that our team always holds you in our thoughts as we work together to bring you something special. We hope you will enjoy our Advent issue, and we wish you a Christmastime full of hope, comfort, and joy.
Warm and wonderful holiday greetings,
Lori Ann Reinhall
Editor-in-chief, The Norwegian American
This article originally appeared in the Nov. 27, 2020, issue of The Norwegian American. To subscribe, visit SUBSCRIBE or call us at (206) 784-4617.