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:
[Photos courtesy of http://www.imagebank.sweden.se, unless it looks like I took them myself]