Thursday, December 04, 2008

The Wisdom of Swedish TV

December is a dark month. We are approaching the shortest day of the year, and nowhere is it more obvious to me than here. I drop the kids off in the dark... and pick them up in the dark... and I am surprised to see blue sky and sun. If I do see the sun, it is always an afternoon sun, low in the sky with long shadows. It is hard to get up in the cold and the dark... and even harder to get the kids up...

But on the first of December, the Christmas calendar begins on Swedish TV. The "julkalendar" is a TV show in 24 episodes, 15 minutes each, shown on channel 1, the children's channel and - if you miss the 3-5 times a day on those two - online. There's even a calendar for sale (we have three) that follows the show, so that you can open the daily door with the show's host. Each year is a different show, and some years are better than others. (It must be hard to do a 6-hour 24-part show where each 15-minute segment ends in a climax...)

The first opportunity to watch the daily show is at 7.15, perfect timing for breakfast and school. In fact, if SVT had surveyed mothers in Sweden (which they may very well have done), they could hardly have picked a better time and length to get the kids going in the morning. Unlike the rest of the year, when it is a struggle to get everyone dressed and to the breakfast table, all I have to say the whole month of December is "It's 7.05 - 10 minutes to julkalendar" and the kids are up and dressed like a shot. Thank you, Swedish TV. (And here are my little vegetables, glued to the latest episode.)

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