a Swedish Advent and Christmas

Culture comes with trappings. Stuff. Thus we, at the end of each November, go down to the basement looking for The Boxes. The ones full of Advent and Christmas stuff. Decorations. I'm not normally a fan of decorations (unless we're talking art, but china figurines and pretty tablecloths don't enter this household), but when Christmas is drawing near, I succumb to my inner child. The gaudier, the better.

I have a number of nativity scenes. I put one in each room. I have one for daughter to play with. She usually plays with the others.

Every window should have an Advent star. This is very, very common in Sweden, and the stars come in all kinds of shapes and materials. Being a minimalist at heart (though not in practice), I favour white simple ones. Lots of Swedes also put a kind of electric candlestick, triangular shaped, on their windowsills. I think they're ugly. No fake candles here.

Advent candlesticks. I love them. Four candles, one for each Sunday in Advent. I even have a tiny, tiny kitschy one at work.

And talking about anticipation, the Advent calendars are also everywhere. We have at least four at home. Three of which are my daughter's. One of those is pictured here, with one gift for each of the days in December, leading up to Dec 24. Yes, Christmas Eve. We get our gifts on Christmas Eve. Barbaric, I know.

And then there is of course the food and drink: saffron buns, julmust (a kind of softdrink), glögg (mulled wine), ginger cookies (some people build little model houses of ginger cookie dough), and ridiculous amounts of candy.

5 kommentarer:

Susan O sa...

I have advent candles, too--all white candles, which a lot of people say is wrong, but I love. And your advent star looks like a moravian star. I have a moravian star (or 4) from when I lived in PA and I LOVE it (them).

We, also, open presents on Christmas eve....very late at night, after church....(how silly is it to have my swedishness confirmed by your post!)

Pastor Peters sa...

wow. what fun. i think i may need to reclaim my roots.

here's what i want to know: do you do the advent calendar for yourself? and if so, do you prepare it the year before or do you do it that year?

i have a calendar that allows for big things to be put inside, but i can't seem to figure out how to delight in the surprise and anticipation when i've arranged it myself.

oh, and i also open presents christmas eve. it's just me though. it's a nice way to end the evening. hot cocoa and gifts.

Maria sa...

Pastor Peters: *looks sternly* no, you most certainly do not prepare the gifts for your calendar. Someone else does it for you. Save that calendar for possible future kids, or lend it to someone special (someone who has something to do with music, maybe? *hint, hint*)

We buy a chocolate calendar for ourselves. Unfortunately, the chocolate is kind of cheap and bad, but, hey, it's sugar!

Susan: Different color candles? How tacky. I'm with you, white is the way to go!

apbs sa...

i'm not swedish, nor do i have swedish roots. can i still comment here? i have nothing of real value to add, other than i laughed when i read that you had a nativity scene for your daughter to play with and that she plays with everyone but that one.

Maria sa...

Of course you may, apbs! Heck, let's name you honorary Swede. Start eating meatballs and listen to Abba, and you're in.