Have a Very Scandi Christmas
Do you know your ‘Glögg’ from your ‘Julbord?’ Embrace Scandi this festive season, with Contura’s guide to Swedish Christmas traditions.
As the festive song goes “It’s beginning to look a lot like Christmas,” and many of us are looking forward to a cosy time spent with family and friends, giving and receiving gifts and tucking into delicious Christmas fare.
In Sweden, the main event is celebrated on Christmas Eve and is all about tradition: from snow-covered villages and finding the perfect Christmas tree, to julbord delicacies and St. Lucia’s Day processions.
Catharina Björkman, lifestyle expert at Swedish wood burning stove brand, Contura, gives her tips on creating a heart-warming Swedish-Style Christmas at home.
“Christmas in Sweden is a truly magical time”, says Catharina. “It’s the main family event of the year, when we reunite with our loved ones for a time of merriment, catching up and reminiscing about Christmases past.
“Our homes play an integral role as the setting for the perfect Christmas and Swedes spend a long time readying for the occasion: from decorating the tree, to home baking and, of course, consuming vast amounts of glögg and enjoying a traditional julbord.”
Read on for Catharina’s tips on creating the perfect Scandi Christmas.
· Decorate the home
In Sweden, homes are decorated with wall hangings depicting winter scenes, candles and lights adorn every room, and fresh winter flowers (usually hyacinths) are arranged to welcome visitors.
To recreate this look at home, add a wooden horse to windows or bookshelves for a nod to Swedish Christmas interiors, string up fairy lights for a soft glow, and ensure the wood burning stove is lit for a thoroughly cosy setting.
· The perfect tree
The very symbol of Christmas, Swedes take finding the perfect tree very seriously. The ideal tree has dense, evenly spread branches and a straight trunk. Take inspiration from the Christmas tree in the main city squares, as these are always spectacular.
Swedes decorate their tree according to family tradition; with flags, tinsel and colourful baubles.
· St. Lucia’s Day
Akin to carol singing in the UK, one of the best loved festive rituals in Sweden, Lucia, takes place on 13 December every year. This 400-year old tradition involves thousands of young girls dressed as St. Lucia’s maidens, wearing flowing white gowns, each holding a candle and donning hair wreaths. This is an event for children, with little ones dressed as gingerbread, elves and stjärngossar (star singers), singing carols and giving out traditional saffron buns.
· Swedish baking
Saffron and raisin buns (Lussekatter) are served throughout the Christmas season in Sweden. Lussekatter translates as ‘Lucia cats’, as they are often shaped to resemble a curled-up, sleeping cat.
Try your own easy Swedish bakes, such as cinnamon biscuits; shape your biscuits into Christmas trees or presents and decorate with white icing. Homemade biscuits are also perfect gifts, if you can hold off eating them!
· Julbord or smörgåsbord
The traditional Swedish Christmas buffet, julbord, is served from late November through to Christmas. Christmas Eve is the usual time in Sweden to enjoy a much loved julbord, and it’s important to try a bit of everything. Why not try creating your own Swedish-inspired julbord for any Christmas guests? Be sure to include all the favourites: pickled herring, gravlax (salmon), paté, knäckebröd (crispbread), ham, meatballs, beetroot salad and lutfisk (dried fish).
· Christmas Eve
In Sweden, Christmas Eve is more important that Christmas Day. It is when Jultomten, Sweden’s Father Christmas, known affectionately as “Tomten,” visits houses in the afternoon to distribute presents to children.
The main exchange of presents also takes place on Christmas Eve, followed by a traditional julbord and an afternoon spent watching The Disney Christmas special – shown at 3pm every Christmas Eve since 1959.
· 20th day celebration
Swedes love Christmas so much they can’t bear for the festivities to end, so they keep going until January 13th, a whole 20 days after Christmas! Aptly named the Twentieth Day, Tjugondag Knut is a far from gloomy occasion; it’s simply another excuse to enjoy any Christmas leftovers and throw a party all over again.
For more information on Contura, please visit http://www.contura.eu
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Contura is Europe’s leading manufacturer of wood burning stoves, offering an extensive range of classic and contemporary wood burners; from traditional insert stoves suitable for existing fireplaces, to freestanding statement models made with innovative materials such as soapstone.
Starting at £1,295, Contura stoves are premium yet affordable. Award winning, timeless Swedish design means the products complement or enhance any style of home, whilst also offering outstanding performance, maximum efficiency, practicality and ease of use.
Designed and assembled at the factory located in Markaryd, Sweden, and manufactured to the highest standards, all Contura stoves are eco-design friendly, energy efficient, offering powerful convection, superior combustion technology and clean burning systems. Currently, 95% of Contura stoves are DEFRA Clean Air Act exempt and thus approved for use in Smoke Control Areas.
Contura stoves can be purchased through a network of 165 independent retailers nationwide.
Contura is part of the NIBE group, a Swedish manufacturing company producing world class solutions in sustainable energy across Europe, North America, Asia and Australia.
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For more information please visit www.contura.eu