I am so excited for christmas. Time well spent with the family, long family walks, presents and all the delicious food.
For me Christmas really does come alive with children. The magic in their eyes at the sight of the christmas tree, the excitement at their first taste of a gingerbread man, the anticipation of Santa coming and the presents he will bring. This sense of joy has brought back so many nostalgic memories. We celebrate Christmas in true Swedish style and here are some of my favourite traditions that make our holiday truly special.
One of the things that makes the Scandi countries so compelling is our rich folklore. Throughout Norway, Sweden, and Denmark, you’ll find numerous traditions and unique stories that tell tales of mythical creatures and sprites, ranging from fairies to trolls, but one of the better-known creatures is the gnome. The gnomes are believed to be household spirits ( living under the house) responsible for the care of a farm or family. While their origins play into many different narratives throughout history, they’ve become tied with Christmas and The tomte figure is definitely my favourite Swedish tradition.
For me it’s the most iconic Christmas decoration and I was excited to build my own collection to share with my son. Asas Tomtebod creates the most gorgeous handmade bearded santa’s with felt clothing, little leather shoes and sheepskin hair. The detail put into each elf is incredible and mirrors the old traditional style my parents have.
At Christmas time in Sweden, it is a custom to leave a bowl of porridge outside your house for the Swedish gnomes to eat on Christmas eve. If the bowl is empty the next morning all will be well for another year.
There is no better way to celebrate Christmas than with a traditional Christmas Julbord (translating to Christmas Table). It is amazing the array of dishes served as part of our Smorgasbord table.
Starting with the fish course with different types of pickled herrings, which is one of the most essential elements, to gravadlax, smoked salmon and prawns. Followed by the cold meats with various elk and reindeer salamis and pates. Then the warm dishes with meatballs, Swedish sausages, ham, red cabbage and potatoes. And finally the cheese and the selection of puddings which in our house has a separate table of its own. Think Swedish Cinnamon or Cardamom Buns and Swedish Ginger Biscuits, known as pepparkakor.
Swedish Cardamom Buns
Pickled Herring and Potato Salad
Swedish Ginger Cookies
In Sweden the tradition is to wait for Jultomten (Father Christmas) to come on the evening of the 24th, when he leaves a large sack at the door. Every year one member of our family ( who would be missing for far too long in the “bathroom”) would dress up in the most beautiful old Santa suit and drop the presents at the front door. As kids we would rush to the window just in time to catch a glimpse of him as he walked away in the distance holding a lit lantern and waving goodbye.
Outfit Of The Day
In Sweden, we always dress up on the 24th and I love choosing little outfits for Rollo. La Coqueta is always my go-to for the sweetest traditional outfits and perfect for any and every celebration. This is what my son will be wearing at Christmas this year.