A very Swedish Christmas – part 3
This will be my fabulous Swedish Christmas I can strongly predict come the 24th of December…
And before your glögg has had time to cool, it is already Christmas Eve. Cheers to those crazy Europeans who like to celebrate one day early!
My adoptive family likes to start the celebrations around 8am with the Christmas Goat. Yes, you heard me right, the Christmas Goat. I love that little bugger. Made of straw, he arrives early in the morning and bears gifts, usually just the perfect thing to keep you going until the big man arrives later on.
At 3pm, the whole of Sweden sits down to watch Disney cartoon classics. The whole of Sweden. The cartoons are the same every year which is great because I usually fall asleep during this time but can always catch the missing bits the year after. During this sacred rite, the family eats chocolate, homemade cookies and my favourite, Swedish Christmas liquorice – a delicacy with a subtle yet distinctive flavour somewhat reminiscent of grade two caustic soda.
Luckily, things start to look a little better about 4pm with the arrival of Santa, who hands out presents to everyone who has been good. As this occurs in a country with a healthy welfare state and a zeal for income redistribution, everyone is considered implicitly good and Santa doesn’t have to make too many tough decisions.
Unburdened, St Nick joins that rest of the family for the traditional stuff-yourself-silly Christmas feast. Glazed ham, sausages, meatballs, red cabbage, herring, herring and herring are all washed down with a gift from St Schnapps – patron saint of the drunken bastard.
Yes, thank the Lord, schnapps and beer are an integral part of the Swedish Christmas table and never fail to bring out a festive glow in my cheeks, or a festive coma in Uncle Fredrick.
Actually, apart from everyone speaking in a language that I cannot largely understand, things are not so different in the north. Everyone eats and drinks too much and I still receive gift cards that read: “You will be getting a lovely top and a pair of pants, but not until tomorrow when the sales start.”
I wish everyone a safe and happy Christmas, may the goat bring you everything you dream of.
I’ll be back mid Jan 2013, see you there!!!!