This time of year makes us nostalgic. Christmas markets, celebrations, decorations and cards let us think of traditions, of how we picture Christmas celebration in centuries past. We switch off our electric lights and illuminate the dark of winter with candles.Carl Larsson is best known for his painting of idyllic Swedish family life. In this painting he shows a Swedish Christmas – the people are dressed in traditional festive clothing, a Christmas tree is decorated with toys, candles and little Swedish flags. Throughout the painting you see glimpses of the abundance of food and drink that was prepared for the big family feast.
You will find people in all roles and stages of family life in this picture. There are young children, women young and old carrying food and drink, an old man sitting in a large chair. They are casting affective glances at each other and smile at you, the viewer.
You may very well find someone in this painting who could just as well be you, or a version of you in the past or in the future.
My eye is drawn to the little boy, his head almost disappearing in a big red woolen hat. He stands alone for a moment, his eyes captured by the decorations on the Christmas tree. He holds a slip of paper which he maybe pulled out of a Christmas cracker. Is it a wish?
For a moment, I remember the magic Christmas had for me when I was his age.
Remember the magic and enjoy your Christmas.
Artwork: Carl Larsson, 1907, “Nu är det jul igen” (Now it’s Christmas again)