Hello everyone. Just two and a half days until the big day and I had to pop in here to wish you all a Happy Christmas. The season is just so beautiful here in Stockholm, I have never quite felt Christmas in all of its glory like it is done here. You can’t help but get drawn in to all of the celebrations and rich traditions. Would you like for me to give you a little rundown of what goes on?
It all begins on the 1st Advent and every Advent thereafter, where friends, family and neighbours are invited to various Glögg get togethers. You’re welcomed into homes with beautifully low lit lamps and candles dotted effortlessly around the rooms. Guests are served pepparkakor (Swedish ginger cookies, usually shaped in love hearts) with blue cheese. You might find this combination surprising but it’s actually quite delicious, although my French husband isn’t quite convinced yet;) Delicious saffron buns are on offer also, usually home baked. All of this with lovely warm Glögg, which is the Swedish version of mulled wine. Don’t forget to put a blanched almond and some raisons in the bottom of the glass! It’s not uncommon for people to go to two or three of these in one night.
Then there is Lucia. On December 13, girls dress as Santa Lucia wearing long white dresses with red caches and a crown of candles, sometimes real. Saint Lucia is said to bring light in the darkest days. Remember that the sun rises in Stockholm around 8:45am and sets at 2:45pm during this time. The north is in almost complete darkness. This is such a moving tradition and demonstrates to me how the Scandinavians celebrate and bring the beauty out of all the seasons. What might be harsh to some, is made beautiful here. There are school and church performances everywhere and we all eat saffron buns, called Lucia buns. Yes, it is all about buns here! We went to a haunting performance in a beautiful old church with friends. You can see a little recording I took on Instagram here.
When you look outside in December, you will see that almost every window in homes and business are lit with either a star or an “Adventljusstake” an Advent candlestick. It’s quite a site. Of course the city is filled with tasteful decorations and the city’s best department store, Nordiska Kompaniet’s Christmas windows are something else! I’ll be taking the children to see it after we ice-skate this weekend, so keep an eye out on Instagram Stories for a little peek.
On a personal front, a lot of things are going on for me at the moment. I have begun working on something that is very dear to my heart, which feels great. Let’s just say that that after feeling like I lost my path a little, I am happy to confirm that I’m back on it and it will be perfect to start the new year already on a roll. I will share the details with you soon.
But now it’s time for all of us to stop and enjoy isn’t? I will spend a wonderful couple of weeks with my family. Guillaume is on his way home as I write this and he will be off work for the duration of the school holidays. I can’t remember when we all got to spend such a long time together at home, we are usually in a mad rush, heading off to a holiday destination. Staying put and enjoying the little things and this wonderful city is just what we need.
What about you? How will you be spending Christmas? Or maybe you’re reading this after the big day. What did you get up to? Whatever you do, I hope that you are surrounded by those you love and that you enjoy delicious food and great conversation. Oh and relax!
Merry Christmas everyone, sending you love and well wishes from Stockholm.