My Christmas

Aina Stenberg 001

I don’t generally write blog posts but I thought I’d share my Christmas with you.

Traditionally Swedes put up their Christmas trees on December 22nd and then remove them on January 6th. Sam and I typically put our tree up on December 15th and remove it according to custom. We make a lot of our own ornaments. We have origami ornaments, ornaments made from melted beads, craftsy ornaments that Isadora makes in school, and ornaments that Sam carves from wood. Isadora and I paint the hand-carved decorations. Sam has a real knack for crafts. I have no such knack, I am the type of person to glue my hands together when making a simple collage. Other decorations include festive house plants, wreaths, lighted stars for the windows, advent candles, halmbocker (straw goats), tomte (santas), and trolls.

This year we celebrated on the 24th. Sam made milk free, gluten free blueberry pancakes for breakfast. After our meal we opened our gifts. Isadora received a drum, some jewelry, a Wii game and a Mulan costume. Sam received a clamp, a poem, and I believe he will buy a wood planer as well. I received some jewelry, a poncho sweater, an owl plushie, boxing gloves and a hand target (Sam and I will share), and a beautiful outfit.

Later in the day we had a brief talk with my mom on Skype. She lives in the country and her internet connection isn’t very stable so our conversations are very disjointed.

For dinner we had a Japanese hotpot which consisted of rice noodles, broth, veggies, mushrooms, shrimp, fried tofu, beef, and chicken. Sam cooked at the table on a hot plate except the beef and chicken which he prepared earlier in the day to ensure tenderness and flavor. For dessert we had a gluten free, milk free apple pie, oatmilk vanilla sauce, and cherry sauce. Isadora complimented the meal so much Sam thought I’d bribed her. I hadn’t bribed her it was just that delicious.

After dinner we watched The Polar Express. Last year we watched The Nightmare Before Christmas. Every year we watch a Christmas movie together.

On the 25th we celebrate with the in-laws. It is traditional to begin the day with rice porridge. An almond is placed in one of the rice porridge bowls and whoever finds the almond gets to make a wish. I have a milk allergy so I will skip that.

We do secret Santa for the adults (Sam and I, Sam’s parents, Sam’s sister, Sam’s other sister and her fiance). Everyone buys gifts for the children. There are only 2 children, one of which is mine, so it’s really no trouble. Every year one of the adults dresses up as Santa to pass out the gifts and every year Isadora gets hysterically excited (she’s been able to recognize the person since she was two but that’s not the point).

For snacks there are ginger bread cookies, homemade syrup cookies, homemade chocolate slices (also a cookie), homemade Swedish toffee, another homemade chewy chocolatey candy, and ice chocolates.

Dinner consists of: Swedish ham, baked salmon, potatis au gratin with anchovies, meatballs, prins korv, sil (horrible fish in jars), crisp bread, sliced cold-smoked salmon, glögg (spiced wine), and a salad.

After dinner and presents we watch Christmas cartoons. We are also working on a Gingerbread house =)

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38 responses to “My Christmas

      • Me and my husband have one Christmas with his parents then next year with my family then a year just the two of us so we rotate through three different Christmas’.

        This year it was the two of us and we mainly wanted a chilled day, we got up late then his dad rang then bit later my mum rang which i had to cut short to try cook the Christmas lunch lol.
        We ate; gammon, roast potatoes, roast carrots and boiled veg, stuffing balls and Yorkshire puddings, chipolatas and gravy. We also drank some very nice red wine. not greatly traditional but a very yummy feast with food left to make a nice stew today 🙂
        The rest of the day was spent watching Christmas TV and playing games together. I tried to make sure i talked to all my family as i missed them lots.
        (Sorry for waffling lol)

  1. Thanks for sharing your Christmas experience – I always enjoy reading about what other people do at this time of year. Sounds like a very interesting and well established tradition!

  2. nice…sounds like a fun time….we keep it pretty simple…and i like that…and spend time with the grands as well…my parents were here this year on christmas day…a first time ever…

      • I dont celebrate Christmas, mainly because I am pagan, but regardless of that, my country is Orthodox so our Christmas is on January 7th 😛 Yule? Splendid!I Baked all day,prepared everything, so everyone ditches me 1 hour after they were already supposed to arive. But it’s cool, this happens all the time 😀
        I am just getting warm and fuzzy reading how you and your family spent Christmas and feeling the love through the letters, and it is what still makes me love holidays no matter what religion they belong to, year after year 🙂

      • A vast majority of Swedes are Atheists but they still celebrate Christmas. Many of the religious aspects are absent. My family is Christian so I grew up celebrating Christmas, my husband’s family is Atheist and he also grew up with Christmas. Neither of us are Christian. I am something like a Taoist, Shintoist, Buddhist, with a splash of The Transcendent Order. I think of “God” more like the Tao and I believe in reincarnation, I believe man is fundamentally good, I believe in finding your own path, balance that sort of thing. I didn’t know Yule was celebrated on January 7th I’ve learned something new! For us Christmas is about family, love, and gratitude

  3. Such interesting food! I had to go get some after I read this! I forget that you are from Sweden, your poems are so universal. I loved all the decorations as well. We have a 20 year old tree that we put up the day after Thanksgiving. All the home made items sounded lovely–where did you get the time with your illness? Hope you were strong enough for it all.

    • I am not from Sweden originally I was born in the USA and have only lived here maybe 4 years (my husband is Swedish). English is the only language I am fluent in thanks to memory problems. We don’t make all the ornaments we have some store bought ones too but we do make quite a lot of ornaments. I paint or fold paper (not so time-consuming, hubbie does the more advanced decorations) and we don’t do them all in one day so it’s not like a sweat shop lol We make a few here and there. I get pretty exhausted in the holidays and I do have a lot of seizures unfortunately. I have food allergies also which is especially inconvenient and a tricky to keep tabs on during celebrations. I actually rarely cook for parties. I might make a dish, run to the store but my husband and mother-in-law make the bulk. I feel bad for hubbie I feel like he deserves and needs a vacation for his vacation!

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