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Kirsten's Surprise

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Kirsten's Surprise is the third book in the Kirsten series.

Characters

Introduced

Chapter by Chapter Summary

Chapter One: Pestering

For the first year Kirsten and her family lived on uncle Olav's farm the autumn weather lasted into December. The steam is frozen and they need to melt ice for water, but there was little snow. But Kirsten's father often points to the geese flying south, insisting that the winter would be very colder, colder than it had been in Sweden. But Kirsten thinks that the snow on the pine looks like sugar.

Kristen's Surprise
One day Kirsten comes into the cabin after school, smelling cinnamon. Her mother tells her that she is making Christmas bread and Kirsten should come help her. Kirsten washes her hands and ties an apron over her school dress. Her mother reminds her to cover her hands with flour to keep the dough from sticking to her hands. Kirsten questions if Christmas in America will be like Christmas in Sweden. Mama says that she doesn't know but some things will surely be different because they do not have money for treats. But they will make the best out of it. When Mama notices that Kirsten is disappointed she gives her a bit of dough to make some bread of her doll, Sari. Kirsten glances at Sari and sadly thinks about how much she misses her real doll she had to leave behind last summer. When Kirsten says that she misses the real Sari, her mother comforts Kirsten by telling her that she would have Sari again soon. But she also points out to Kirsten that work comes before play.

Chapter Two: A Crown for a Queen

Chapter Three: To Town at Last

Chapter Four: Braving the Blizzard

Chapter Five: Silent Night, Lucia Light

Looking Back: Christmas in 1854

Discusses Swedish Christmas traditions in pioneer America. Topics covered:

  • Reasons for immigrants and pioneers to celebrate Christmas
  • Mixture of immigrant and American Christmas traditions between immigrants and American families
  • Curtailed celebrations of the holidays due to farm work on the frontier
  • Special foods and recipes prepared and shared among immigrants and pioneers during the holidays
  • Christmas decorations among immigrants as a way to remember their homes from the old country
  • The use of wheat to decorate barns and attract birds during Christmas, a Swedish tradition that foretold a good harvest for the next year
  • The Swedish tradition of lighting candles in every window for Jultomten, a Christmas elf
  • Practical gifts pioneer and immigrant children might have received, such as clothing
  • Jokes, poems, and riddles written on the gifts by Jultomten for children to guess
  • Religious services on Christmas Day

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