Miles away from the gingerbread and roaring fireplaces I would one day hold dear, I spent my first three Christmases sick in the hospital. No one knew why. It could not have been because of the actual holiday—we were Scandinavian-German-American Lutherans after all. The season’s spices of cardamom and nutmeg flowed though our blood. We were born knowing the words to all the carols. My mother owned more Santa figurines than shoes. We chopped down our own tree in the This story is from Kinfolk Issue Fourteen Buy Now Related Stories Arts & Culture Issue 19 Going Incognito We all secretly wonder what mischief we’d make if invisible: When our identity is hidden, everything seems possible. Arts & Culture Issue 19 The Best Policy Sometimes we talk to each other without feeling heard. Honesty—a most intimate interaction—can be just as thrilling as its more devious inverse. Arts & Culture Issue 19 A Sense of Suspense With unhinged imaginations and mountains of cliff-hangers, the filmmakers behind the sci-fi podcast Limetown have all the makings of a scary story. Arts & Culture Issue 19 Like Clockwork In this new column about time, we learn how slipping off our watches makes us feel like deadline-damning renegades. Food Issue 19 My Kitchen Table: Dominique Crenn French-born chef Dominique Crenn knows how to keep a level head and relishes the nights when she gets to cook to her own soundtrack.