I was recently challenged by ICE International Currency Exchange to come up with a Christmas bundle of items, ideas and products that represent a given country. I was given the country Sweden so I was excited to do a bit of research and find out how the Swedish celebrate Christmas.
Luckily for me, I live just up the road from a well known Swedish home furnishings store and I was able to spend my day off a couple of weeks ago with Little Mr in tow exploring the store and finding out more about Swedish Christmas traditions, how they celebrate Christmas and what Christmas means to them as well as snapping up a few Swedish products for authenticity.
swedish christmas traditions
There are quite a few Swedish Christmas traditions that I know about and are quite commonplace here in the UK.
A Christmas Tree
The first being a Christmas Tree. Many years ago, the Swedish Christmas trees were decorated with candles and fruit (mostly apples) and then paper and straw became more popular. The Christmas tree is usually decorated by the 13th December as this is when most Swedish families celebrate St Lucia’s Day.
We bought a real Christmas tree from Ikea and it smells amazing. We were able to pick our very own Christmas tree and stand, bring it home to put in the window in the front room. I cannot tell you how excited I was to have a real Christmas tree with lights on in the front window. I’ve always wanted to see the tree in the window over Christmas, it looks beautiful and the shiny red and green baubles remind me of the apples that were once hung on the traditional trees back in Sweden many years ago.
Food and Drink
The Swedish, like us Brits, love our food and at Christmas its a time to celebrate and enjoy a few treats. The variance of food is often dependent on where you live in Sweden but the majority do enjoy similar things. On Sunday, we invited hubby’s family over to enjoy our take on a Swedish Christmas lunch.
Christmas Ham – A beautifully cooked joint of ham is enjoyed over Christmas on the buffet which is served with meatballs, herring and small pork sausages. The ham is boiled then glazed with a mix of mustard, breadcrumbs and egg. I picked up a joint of Christmas ham from Ikea and it was delicious. There was lots of ham left over so it was used in sandwiches for supper.
Gingerbread Biscuits – Many families hang gingerbread biscuits on their Christmas tree as the aroma ‘Pepparkakor’ is associated with Christmas. I bought some from Ikea and decorated them for our family lunch on Sunday. I used them as a name card for the table and have now hung ours on our Christmas tree.
Little Mr decorated a gingerbread Christmas Tree on Friday and unfortunately it broke so we couldn’t put it on show but we did enjoy spending an hour getting sticky with the icing sugar and a bowl full of sweets. We also have a festive ginger bread house to decorate with Swedish sweets but haven’t had time in the house yet to do it.
Glogg – A popular drink to enjoy in Sweden over Christmas is Glogg. Traditionally, mulled wine was rancid wine that had spices added to it to make it taste more favourable. These days, mulled wine is a lot more enjoyable and is heated and served in glass cups. I bought a few bottles from Ikea to try and I have to admit, it is rather delicious. The Swedish enjoy their Glogg with russin and madel which is a raisin and almond mix. We enjoyed a glass or two with the family and it is delicious.
We all enjoyed sitting at the table which was decorated in tradition Christmas colours and we enjoyed a few Swedish traditions. We had a wonderful few hours together, it was lovely to cook for them and enjoy their company.
Thanks to ICE International Currency Exchange for enabling us to enjoy a Swedish Christmas Sunday lunch. We have enjoyed trying out some Swedish traditions and will definitely be buying them again to enjoy next year.
God Jul (Merry Christmas!)
Disclaimer: This post is in partnership with ICE Currency Exchange – thanks to my Brother-in-law Russ for the header image