I will get to spend a Swedish Christmas back in my hometown Stockholm!
The cons of living abroad
Living abroad makes you miss your family and friends A LOT! Although I really love living in Korea there are a few things that I will never get used to… Sweet bread and unsalted chips.
Besides food, I really do miss people, I wish I could have the best from both worlds living more near… but it’s impossible and I just have to get used to living in the middle, always wanted from both sides and my heart never being satisfied. 🙁 So I’m really really lucky that I could afford to visit Sweden for 2 weeks! And during the best family time CHRISTMAS!
A Swedish Christmas is like…
So Christmas in Sweden is like Chuseok in Korea, it’s for family, the time to give. So how do we celebrate in Sweden? Actually my mom is American so we do celebrate an American tradition too! In Sweden, you celebrate on Christmas Eve! Therefore, we celebrate together with our Swedish relatives on the 24th and have our own family celebration on the 25th, the American way.
What do we Swedes do on Christmas Eve?
Well everyone has, of course, their own traditions. I will tell you about mine and it is quite a typical way. On christmas eve morning, my parents get ready (sometimes me and my brother too) to go to the graveyards to put flowers and candles on our great-grandparents’ graves. I and my brother like sleeping in so we usually wake up later, get ready and together with our parents go to our grandparents’ graves, which is located elsewhere than our great granparent’s grave. After saying a prayer, leave some candles and flowers, we go straight to my aunts’ house.
At my aunts’ hous almost all of my Swedish relatives meet and celebrate christmas together. We have to be there before 3 pm because Donald Duck starts on TV. Say what?
Watching Donald Duck on TV – a weird Swedish Christmas tradition
You heard me right, all Swedes watch Donald Duck on TV, (a Disney Xmas program) on Christmas Eve at 3 pm! It’s crazy but here is why.
When my dad grew up, there was only one channel on TV available and they only showed cartoons on Christmas Eve for the children. That is why it became a tradition to every year broadcast the same Donald Duck program. It’s an hour long show, packed with clips from Classic Disney movies and Mickey mouse & friends. We all know the lines cause we see it every single year. The parents like it even more than the children, because it’s their nostalgia. It’s quite a fun tradition. After Donald Duck ends we chit chat and wait for the time to sit down for Julbord!
What is Julbord?
Julbord means Christmas table. In other words Julbord is a big christmas feast, usually consisting a lot of fish and meats. However, our family doesn’t like fish that much so here is what our Julbord looks like:
So the Ham is the most important part. It takes hours to cook in the oven and you eat it later after it’s cooled down. We make it the day before and we have to taste it a bit, no waiting till christmas haha. There’s also sausages, meatballs, ribs, potato salad, home baked bread, cheeses, egg and shrimps And my moms’ American dish Jello salad!
We also drink a special kind of soda called Julmust. It’s similar to coca cola but has ginger in it. My family doesn’t drink much, but we still sing a tradional drinking song at the table and say cheers before eating. You can also tell by our decortations that red is the color of Christmas, we do decorate and love interior design in Sweden. Everyone gets a tree (real or fake) and dresses it nicely. We also have a red Christmas star hanging in our windows and lots of candles, nobody forgets the candles!
Swedish Winter is very dark and long. Christmas is the only happiness we get during Winter. That’s probably why we all love to lit up as many candles as possible, to feel warmth, cozy and love from family. Honestly after Christmas and new year it’s still dark and cold for a long depressing time in Sweden, that’s why we despertaly need long vacations to get out of our country for a while haha.
After our Julbord dinner, it’s finally time for the present opening! Yes we open them in the evening – Swedish christmas style! All the presents are under the tree and if our little cousins are with us, I bet even Santa Claus or should I say Tomten as we say in Swedish, comes knocking on our door giving them a few gifts as well.^^ It’s so fun to see their shy faces while interacting with Tomten.
Like I said earlier because we are also an American family we will celebrate on Christmas Day as well. So we don’t open that many gifts with our relatives, we have to wait one more day! So next morning we wake up so early (like seriously before 6 am!?) cause we are so anxious to see what we all got from each other and Santa Claus. And yes, we have stockings hanging above our fireplace!
Swedish Christmas snacks!
One last thing I want to introduce to you guys is typical Swedish Christmas snacks! One is, of course, gingerbread cookies, it says God Jul on them which means Merry Christmas. And below the Gingerbread cookies, we have Lussebullar which is Saffron buns with raisins on top. We bake Lussebullar before Lucia Day (13th of December) another holiday that’s kinda connected with Christmas and oh so delicious they are! My mom’s Lussebullar are one of the things I missed the most!!
Pepparkakor – Gingerbread cookies
Lussebulle / Lussekatt means Lucia bread which is made from Saffron
Thanks for reading hope you have a God Jul! ^^