It was our first Christmas in the US.
I had decorated our Christmas tree with all the precious Christmas tree decorations that we had brought with us from Norway, choking down homesickness as I gently unwrapped the crocheted hearts and straw stars and hanging them on the branches of the little pine tree.
The kids were playing outside in the snow, and I called to my son and told him to invite his friend from next door inside to play, and to see our Christmas tree.
They avalanched in through the door, discarding their snow suits, snow mittens and snow boots in damp, faintly wooly and sweaty smelling puddles, dodging random books, unfolded laundry and empty ornament boxes along the way into the living room.
Our little guest stopped abruptly in his tracks and went silent.
Smugly, I assumed he was overcome by the beauty of our tree.
Then he quietly said:
"Oh. That's nice. So when are you going to put the rest of the decorations on the tree?"
That was the moment when I realised that the Norwegian and American approaches to decorating for Christmas are profoundly different.
For some Norwegian interior decorating,
here's a link to "Leve på landet", one of my favourite Norwegian Instagram accounts.