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Ten On Tuesday


We’re deep in the throes of the Christmas season around these parts. As such, I’ve been thinking about all of the traditions we have for this time of year. For us, a lot of those traditions center around being Swedish. And honestly – there’s nothing better to be at Christmas time because the Swedes really know how to do Christmas right. Don’t believe me? Here’s my list of 10 Swedish Traditions We Observe for the Holidays.

Swedish Christmas Mosaic

  1. We make (and eat!) lots of Swedish Meatballs.
  2. We observe St. Lucia Day. Now granted, our version this year included Hannah buying coffee rolls at a local donut shop for Dale and I but the sentiment is there.
  3. We make (and drink!) glögg. I made it this Sunday and I have to say it’s one of the best batches ever.
  4. We have a smörgåsbord on Christmas Eve. We eat medwurst and knäckebrot and farmer cheese and sill – otherwise known as pickled herring. Good stuff, right there.
  5. We have a collection of Dala Horses. After many years of jonesing for one, I finally got the 10″ this year. Hooray!
  6. We say God Jul which is Swedish for Merry Christmas.
  7. We open presents on Christmas Eve. In Sweden they open all of their gifts on Christmas Eve but we only do one each because we like to save the bulk of them for the morning.
  8. We leave one candle burning all night on Christmas Eve. It’s supposed to be so the Christ child can find his way, at least that’s what my Swedish grandmother always told me.
  9. We have (and eat!) Spritz cookies. You need a special cookie press but it’s worth all of the effort when one of these sugary almondy cookies melts in your mouth.
  10. We have Swedish Angel Chimes that we light throughout the season. The dinging of those little bells makes it feel like Christmas at our house.

There are lots of other Swedish traditions that I grew up with that we don’t actually incorporate into our holiday anymore. Lutefisk and pickled pig’s feet are not something any of us enjoy! The rest of it, though, is all part of what makes it feel like Christmas at our house. If you’ve got a post to share today be sure and add your link by clicking the button below. And if you want to receive the Ten on Tuesday topic email, click here to sign up.

God Jul!

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14 Comments

  1. Seanna Lea Said,

      December 17, 2013 @ 7:31 am

    I don’t have a strong cultural upbringing, but even so I love how food is always a focal point no matter what the source of your traditions are.

  2. Bonney Said,

      December 17, 2013 @ 7:43 am

    Hi Carole, This was a lovely post. Where did you get your big horse? The only store I know is the Viking House in Concord. It closed and opened again but I’ve never been since it re-opened. We have a Swedish friend who is very hard to buy for but the horse might be a good thing. Thanks, Bonney

  3. margene Said,

      December 17, 2013 @ 8:14 am

    My mother had a few Swedish traditions and a dear friend of ours also had a smörgåsbord much like yours. The Swedish traditions died with them, sadly enough. Your Christmas sounds very festive and full of fun and family. I would expect nothing less from you. xoxo

  4. Mary K. in Rockport Said,

      December 17, 2013 @ 9:10 am

    A local restaurant used to have a wonderful Swedish smogasbord annually after Rockport’s Christmas Pageant complete with the wait people/owners dressed up authentically. It was so great. When they gave it up, we tried to reproduce the spread at home, but it wasn’t the same. (Plus, no one eats the pickled herring.) I could really use a good glug recipe if you care to share it.

  5. Donna Said,

      December 17, 2013 @ 9:28 am

    I love spritz cookies. My husband just ran across his moms cookie press which we will use fondly this year as it is the first Christmas without her. I think that’s what is special about our traditions. It’s a way to connect to our relatives that are no longer with us and pass these things on to our children. You have some lovely ones!

  6. Kym Said,

      December 17, 2013 @ 9:43 am

    We share many of the same Swedish traditions (as you already know!!!). No lutefisk, either. (Or pickled pigs feet!)

  7. Ruth Said,

      December 17, 2013 @ 9:56 am

    Do you have a good recipe for Swedish meatballs?

  8. Beverly Said,

      December 17, 2013 @ 12:01 pm

    The horses are adorable!!

  9. Jo Said,

      December 17, 2013 @ 12:55 pm

    Vie are not Swedish, but it looks like fun!

  10. Vicki Said,

      December 17, 2013 @ 1:28 pm

    My stepmother is Norwegian and I have had the lutefisk… ickkkk. I certainly understand letting that tradition fall away!! It all looks & sounds very festive and fun, Carole!

  11. Marilyn Said,

      December 17, 2013 @ 2:08 pm

    Lutefisk, lefse, holupse, spritz and krum kake. We are Norwegian and German but so many things the same. :)

  12. Suzanne Said,

      December 17, 2013 @ 6:36 pm

    Great post. My mother is Swedish so I printed it out for her to read. She loves the Dala horses and has a few but not a large one. The one Swedish store not that far from us closed a few months ago so she stocked up on what she wanted.

  13. Doris Said,

      December 18, 2013 @ 10:11 am

    What fun! We follow German Christmas traditions, and many of them are the same as yours, not too surprisingly. I love having traditions like that to set the tone for the holidays. My now grown sons seem to be continuing some of them too, like the younger one and his girlfriend coming over last Sunday night to light the Advent wreath and enjoy a quiet couple of hours together. I have to admit that it didn’t hurt a bit when he looked over at my Christmas tree and said “You know, that is always my favorite tree. It’s just beautiful again, Mom”. Bonus points in his favor, since I could tell he really meant it.

  14. Sandy Said,

      December 19, 2013 @ 11:13 am

    You touched a special place in my heart. My mother was from Sweden, and, since her death, we have lost a lot of her traditions that she would share- especially at Christmas time. Now you have made me want to bring some of them back! I especially love your God Jul mug, and I must go put some of my Dala horses out for the season, too. Thanks for bringing out my “Inner Swede” again!!!

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