The Night Before Christmas

Rod Lorenz

Many people have traditions on Christmas Eve. As a child, my memories of Christmas Eve were to put up the Christmas tree, go to church, and spend time at my grandfather's and step-grandmother's house.  My step-grandmother, Birget, met my grandfather after moving to the U.S., but she was from Sweden, and she had ways of celebrating Christmas that were unique to us Wisconsinites.

On Christmas Eve, she would invite all of her children, stepchildren, and us grandchildren to her home. She would often give presents that had a Swedish theme (e.g., Swedish underwear!). She also always brought a spread of popular foods from Sweden—caviar, sardines, pickled herring, Swedish meatballs, and the like. She went all out to make the night before Christmas a happy, festive occasion.

Birget was humorous, adorably talkative, and a flashy dresser. She was fun. And she brought a bit of Swedish culture into our lives that none of us would have known otherwise.

Being a young “meat-and-potatoes” guy, I refused to even try some of the food, and not all the presents were my favorites. But I very much appreciated the tradition, creativity, and effort behind what my step-grandmother shared with us.

Those same virtues remind me of the reasons people choose hardwood floors from Ralph’s.

Tradition attracts people to hardwood flooring. In addition to their innate beauty and durability, hardwood floors can be nostalgic. They aren’t like the carpeted and linoleum floors that many  Baby Boomers and Gen Xers grew up with. A great deal of home-owning Americans first experienced hardwood floors  in the homes of parents, grandparents, or other older relatives.

Creative flexibility is another attraction of hardwood flooring. If you want to get exotic (like my step-grandmother was to us), you can choose from hardwood species all over the world. If you want to play up the nostalgia, you can use reclaimed wood or make any type of wood look old by wire-brushing or purposely marring it

Effort like Birget's is the type of passion and commitment to please that Ralph’s brings to every hardwood floor we install or restore.

My step-grandmother became a great friend of my grandfather’s first wife: my grandmother, Rebecca. It could have easily been a strained relationship, but they were both women hard to dislike—just like hardwood floors.

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