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 

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