Trying to drum up some holiday cheer for myself so let’s do a Christmas post! This Christmas Tag was stolen from Meghan and will feature a lot of “actually, in Sweden…“
What would be your dream place to visit for the holiday season?
Since I’m already living the winter wonderland experience with snow-covered forests full of real live reindeer… I think I would love to visit a major city. It would be fun to experience huge Christmas markets and extravagant lights and decorations and such.
Gothenburg would be nice, I know they have a lot of Christmas events. Or London. Oh, or Tivoli Gardens in Copenhagen!
Favorite Christmas film(s)
Tomten är far till alla barnen (In Bed with Santa in English)
It’s a Swedish film so, in true Scandinavian fashion, it’s a black comedy with tragic characters and dark humour. It’s hilarious and have to watch it at least once every December. 😁
Yes, it has its problematic aspects but it’s still so fun and heartwarming IMO. The characters are charming, the storylines interesting, and the cast excellent. I love the opening monologue – and how it segues into Bill Nighy singing that awful cover… 😂
Are you on the Naughty or Nice list?
I feel my character is leaning towards Chaotic Good so… Nice? Mostly? 😬
Have you ever had a white Christmas?
Every Christmas is a white Christmas this far north.
No wait, that’s a lie…
I remember one exceptionally warm winter when I was a teenager. There was barely any snow at all and everyone was talking about how strange and unnatural it was.
There was also the winter of 2013 when we just had ice. No snow, only ice. It was so horrible I had to blog about it.
Our winters are slowly becoming shorter and warmer due to climate change. Wonder how long it’ll take before we start having “green” Christmases here on the regular. I’m not looking forward to it.
Where do you usually spend your Christmas?
It used to be at someone’s parents’ house. My dad and step-mum, or my mum, or my husband’s parents. Neither me nor my husband has much extended family so it’s usually just us and whatever set of parents we’re with.
But over the past few years, all our parents have sold their houses and moved into apartments – while we have bought a house. So the last two Christmases people came to us instead. This year husband’s parents + sister will be at our place.
I love having Christmas in my own house. After spending my whole adult life travelling all over (nobody lives in the same town) it’s nice not having to go anywhere. Fingers crossed we can get our parents to come to us for a few more years!
Do you open any presents on Christmas Eve?
Yep, all of them. In Sweden we celebrate most holidays on the “eve” of it. Here the big family get-together, Christmas dinner, Santa giving out presents etc all happen on Christmas Eve.
Christmas Day is just the day after when the house is a mess and everyone’s a bit hungover and you’re glad you don’t have to go to work. 😛
Can you name all of Santa’s reindeer?
No. I know of Rudolf, of course, since he has his own song (it has been translated into Swedish as well). But I was well into adulthood before I learned that there is a set number of reindeer and they all have names.
My ignorance regarding reindeer lore is because our Santa usually isn’t depicted as Santa Claus but as a tomte. We don’t even use the word Santa or anything similar, we say “the tomte” is coming to hand out presents. Tomtar are a kind of fey creatures not unlike gnomes or house elves. And they tend to use goats, horses, or pigs to pull their sleighs rather than reindeer.
What holiday tradition are you looking forward to most this year?
The gift exchange game. We don’t exchange real Christmas presents in our family but every year each of us buys a cheap item (usually something funny or edible), wrap it up, and then we play games/compete for them. It’s always pure chaos…
First, we need at least 30 min to debate the rules since everyone has opinions about how it was done last year. Then during the game, someone always cheats or forgets (“forgets”) the rules. And afterwards, no matter who won what, we end up handing out the items to whoever wants them. So the game is nothing but a meaningless mess, but it’s always fun. 😂
Is your Christmas tree fake or real?
I have a small fake one. 👆
We used to have a bright pink tree for several years. It was horrendously tacky but also so so fun. I loved it! Last year was its last Christmas though. The plastic was drying out so it was dropping pink needles all over the place. RIP pink tree. 😔
This year my parents gifted us this small tree with pre-installed lights. I think it’s supposed to be an outdoor decoration but we don’t have anywhere to put it where it won’t get drowned in snow, so I put it up indoors.
I would love to have a real tree though! Maybe next year?
Hands down, what is your all-time favourite Christmas food and/or sweet treat?
Gravlax. It is salmon cured with a mix of salt, sugar and dill and it is THE BEST. I eat it thinly sliced on flatbread. 😋
As for treats I’m partial to ice chocolate. It’s dead simple to make: mix 1 part coconut fat (not oil) with 2 parts melted chocolate and stir into a smooth cream. Then pour it into little moulds and let them harden. They just melt in your mouth.
They’re great as they are but you can add flavouring if you want. Nuts, berries, cinnamon, licorice… Whatever you like. We’re gonna make ice chocolate with rum later this week!
Be honest: do you like giving gifts or receiving gifts better?
Gonna have to say receiving. Not because I prefer getting things but because it’s too much stress shopping for people.
I love giving gifts if I have found something that I KNOW is perfect for the person and it’s something they will like – but that seldom happens. Everyone I shop for is an adult who has their own money to buy their own shit whenever they want/need it. So instead of something they want/need you end up giving random impersonal knick-knacks that don’t mean anything. Ugh.
Thankfully, our families have stopped giving each other Christmas gifts. We always end up giving each other small gifts and favours all year round so there’s no point forcing ourselves to buy things just because it’s Christmas.
Does your family have a special Christmas recipe you like to help make?
There is a condiment called blana that I always make. You mix whey butter and whipped cream and then sprinkle cinnamon over it. Super easy to make. Most people eat it on white flatbread. I find the sweetness of it goes very well with the salty Christmas ham and other meats so I eat it with that.
Blana is super regional to the part of Sweden where my husband is from. I had never heard about it myself until I met him. I LOVE whey butter though so I was hooked immediately and now it’s “my” thing.
Are you a pro-wrapper or do you fail miserably?
I’m decent at handling the wrapping paper. What I fail at is making the curling ribbons well… curly. I blame being left-handed. It’s impossible to hold the scissors at the right angle to make the curls!
Most memorable Christmas moment
I don’t know… Most of my Christmases have been pretty low-key and “normal” so the only things that really stand out are the ones when things have gone awry.
Like that Christmas many many years ago when my uncle’s ex showed up drunk as f in the middle of dinner and caused a scene. It wasn’t particularly funny at the time, but now it’s something we laugh about. 😛
And that year at my in-laws when a huge pot of ham broth boiled over, covering the entire stove (front AND back) plus a good portion of the surrounding benches and floor in hot greasy liquid. It took hours to get all the grime off. Also bad at the time, but funny in hindsight.
What made you question the truth about Santa?
I remember noticing that Santa was wearing pearl earrings one Christmas when I was little.
One would think that the fake beard and fake male voice would be more questionable but no, it was the earrings… >_>
What makes Christmas special for you?
My favourite part of Christmas is that it, quite literally, lights up the darkness. You can’t imagine how dark it is up here this time of year! Daylight only lasts a couple of hours so it’s pitch black almost round the clock. Christmas with all its lights and decorations helps put some colour and cheer into the season. And it gives people something to focus on and look forward to.
December would be such a bleak month without Christmas.