A very Swedish Christmas – part 1
My Christmases used to revolve around a barbecue, a pool and a family argument but for now, the most recent ones have been enjoyed in Sweden.
A Swedish Christmas? The cold? The darkness (lack of sunlight, not the band) and the ABBA-themed Christmas gifts? Believe me, there are positives. For one, those crazy Swedes like to stretch their yuletide festivities out for nearly two months. That’s fine by me as I’m the type of girl who has her Christmas with Dolly Parton CD on high rotation from October. And another thing, in Sweden, the whole of December revolves around special cakes, biscuits and alcohol that has been warmed.
The eager Swedes kick off their Christmas during late late November if the calendar year is positive to your Christmas cheer. This is when Advent is celebrated. Candles and lights flicker in the windows of many homes, reflecting on the freshly fallen snow that has started to gather.
I like to take in this glorious, if frosty, scene within the comforts of my own apartment and – thanks to the holy invention of double-glazing – in the comfort of my Bonds underpants. Yes, central heating and great insulation certainly provide wonderful protection from the rigours of a Swedish winter. Before double glazing was invented, the Swedes made do with alcohol, and it’s a tradition I’m happy to maintain. As the lights twinkle outside, and as an honorary Swede, I also seize the seasonal opportunity to uncap the ol’ glögg bottle – a drink that is every bit as alcoholic as the name suggests.
Glögg, St Nick be praised, is mulled red wine served warmed with raisins and almonds. It can be enjoyed any time you don’t have plans to drive.
So yes, it’s official the Swedish christmas season has arrived and since two weeks ago, my house has looked like this:
Christmas tragic or Christmas terrific??
[Photos courtesy of http://www.imagebank.sweden.se, unless it looks like I took them myself]
That explains quite a bit – why many Swedes seem to make do quite happily without a car, why Coles & Woolworths have all their decorations out in (what seems to be) September…
God bless them, September how very Swedish of them!
Lou Lou, I’m remembering the festivities you shared earlier in the year (I know I should search your blog but I’m too lazy) where you celebrated something in parks and there were maypole things etc (I’m sure I’m not imagining it) and I loved the insight into a culture about which I know little. Can’t wait to read more!
That was mid-summer, super fun and now more festivities…
Christmas fantastic! Warmed alcohol huh? Good way to keep warm indeed! What are ABBA inspired gifts??
Yay for Christmas fantastic! Oooo believe me you need a nip of something to stay warm over here at the moment…
Your home looks beautifully, wonderfully Christmassy! And, yes, thank all the little Christmas elves for glögg. I think the guy in my local Systemet thought I was crazy for ordering three bottles of the year’s Blossa in September – but, you never know, it could have sold out…
I love your pro active attitude, of course it will sell out!
Christmas terrific…and do share the best Abba-themed pressies! Benny Andersson hot pants?
Ha! I’d like to see Benny Andersson wear hot pants!
I’m also a big fan of Christmas. When I still lived in the US, I forced myself to wait until Thanksgiving to listen to Christmas music. This year, I was working on a Christmas product launch so I was able to start a tad bit early. By the way, did I ever tell you that I used to teach English classes at Benny Andersson’s company? My mom has the biggest crush on him and, when I told him about it, he gave me some autographed ABBA cds and pictures to give to her. She was over the moon. 🙂
You are too cool Kim! Glad you got a head start on Xmas!
Two months, huh? Well, I guess winter is long and dark, why not make it as festive as possible? (or am I getting this winter-thing-up-North wrong?)
Exactly! The winters up here are soooo long, we have to keep the spirits up some how!!!!!!