Do you love December?
Do you have a feeling of warmth and fuzziness pretty much all the time during the year’s twelfth month?
I think December is my favorite time of the year!
All the lights, all the happiness, all the anticipation! What is not to love!?
For me it’s been like this my entire life. When I was a little girl I thrived in December, it was so fun with all the decorating at home starting with Advent. Just to decorate the Advent candle holder was fun! Not to mention to light a candle every Sunday during Advent leading up to Christmas.
Scandinavia knows Christmas, that is a pretty safe thing to say! People in the far north are, and has always been, embracing the Christmas season, or as we say Yule (jul).
At this time of the year Scandinavia is as dark as it gets!
In Stockholm, where I am from, it gets light around 9 AM in December, and the sun sets again at 3 PM, and it is not that you’ll see much of the sun as it is since it stands so low in the sky. Just above the tree tops.
But, the Swedes take care of the lack of day light inside instead. If you visit a Swedish home around Christmas you are sure to find stars in the windows, electrical 7-armed candle holders in every window, you will see candles and decorations everywhere!
And, you will be offered glögg (mulled wine) when you visit a Swede this time of the year, and saffron buns and gingersnaps (pepparkakor).
One of my absolute favorite Swedish Christmas songs. Sissel Kjyrkebo and Tommy Körberg. I love IT!!
We had a lot of fun in school, too, and in Sweden religion is allowed in the schools so we always started the morning with our 1-3 grade teacher reading to us how Jesus was born, from the story book “Mary’s little donkey” (Marias lilla åsna). While she was reading, the class room was dark and all the kids brought candles with them from home. We lit the candle on the desk, and we listened to the story, and it was so cozy!
On the Friday before the First of Advent, we sang a song with the entire school and somebody from second grade lit up the first candle.
We had a huge Christmas tree in the school’s big hall, and every class room was decked out for the season. Yes, we had a Christmas party as well, and that was one of the more important parties during the entire year. During that party we were all dressed up, we played games, ate goodies and drank julmust (Christmas soda). All our siblings and parents participated as well, and we were sure to dance around the Christmas tree.
Christmas vacation in Sweden is long! You get out of school a couple of days before Christmas Eve. Christmas Eve is the golden and most important day during the entire Christmas season in Scandinavia. You were off until after Epiphany, so the break was a long and lovely one!
Some years we went to Finland and celebrated with my grandparents. Those Christmases were like magic! They lived on farm in the country side, and it was always snow! We had the Ultimate Christmases there! But even when we were in Bromma we had the best of times. We slept late, watched “Christmas morning” on TV every day during our break; we visited with family and friends. We were out sledding and ice skating, we saw a movie in the city. We ate and drank and had so much fun! My parents hosted parties and dinner parties, and we went to several ourselves.
Yes, yes…I know we all tend to get sentimental this time of the year for some reason. Our Christmas memories mean so much to us all…
Have a wonderful, and cozy, Tuesday!
Check out this video. This is how it did look according to Astrid Lindgren in the early 1920's. Many of the traditions are the same today! This is all in English