Wednesday, January 5, 2011

A Swedish Christmas

December 11, 2010
Swedish Mistletoe
Several years ago, my mom and I went to Stockholm, Sweden before Christmas. We're of Swedish descent, and wanted to experience some of our Christmas traditions back in Sweden. 

We shopped the Christmas markets in the Gamla Stan (old town), sipped spicy glogg drinks, and ate mountains of Swedish pepparkakor cookies. Everyone attends traditional Julbord dinners, featuring herring, meatballs and lingonberry sauce, reindeer, smoked eel, and tasty desserts.

In December, Sweden has only 8 hours of daylight. During the Christmas season, red wooden candelabras sit in every window, creating a beautiful glow on the snowy streets below and lighting the dark nights.

December 13th is Santa Lucia Day, and is celebrated throughout Sweden. The oldest girl of the house wears a wreath of candles in her hair and a long white robe, and serves warm cinnamon buns to her family. 

Stockholm decorates with traditional lights strung across the narrow lanes, hosts concerts in the old churches, and sells traditional old-world gifts such as mistletoe and hand-carved Swedish elves.  It's a true old-world experience that shouldn't be missed.  Passerbys smile and wish each other God Jul (good yule), or Merry Christmas.

This holiday season, I wish you and your loved ones a God Jul, Merry Christmas, Happy Holidays, and a peaceful 2011. 

Jean Ramey 

Friday, December 17, 2010

Holiday Gift Ideas from Jean Ramey Photography

The Christmas holidays are full of hustle-and-bustle, from the USA to Europe, South America, and even Asia-Pacific.  Here are some great ideas for the world traveler on your list, or anyone who appreciates a thoughtful gift representing cultures from around the world.

  • Ooh-La-La: frame a photograph from Paris, such as the Eiffel Tower or a quaint cafe. Add a bottle of champagne and box of chocolates for an elegant gift.

  • Market Chef: select market photographs of Eiffel Towerpeppers, olives, cheese from Italy, Paris, and Provence.  Place four 5x7's in a gallery frame. Give to your favorite gourmet chef for their kitchen.
  • Taste of Switzerland: choose a mountain panoramic or landscape for your favorite nature-lover. Wrap a Swiss army knife & chocolate fondue for a touch of Switzerland. 
  • London Calling: an iconic red phone booth, pub print, or gorgeous English flowers make a great souvenir for London travelers.

  • That's Amore: Italy is one of my favorite collections. Choose a beautiful photograph from Amalfi, Venice, Rome, Vatican City, or Florence.  Add a Frank Sinatra or Italian music CD and they'll love you.
  • Memoirs of a Geisha: the beauty of Japan adds elegance to any home, through images of geishas, temples, and nature. Include a silk scarf or box of tea for your favorite traveler.
  • My Kind of Town: Chicago's stunning architecture glows like a Christmas tree this time of year. Buy your favorite Chicagoan a one-of-a-kind photograph that will last throughout the years. Wrap it up with a Chicago ornament or pizza pan for a hometown holiday.

Merry Christmas, Buon Natale (Italian), Joyeux Noel (French), Feliz Navidad (Spanish), Frohe Weihnachten (German), God Jul (Swedish), Nollaig Shona Duit (Irish).  Happy Holidays and best wishes for a Happy New Year!

Jean Ramey Photography

All content Copyright Jean Ramey.

Blog Archive