Here in Sweden, there is no major holiday, such as Thanksgiving, to prevent the start of Christmas season. Although I finally found a whole turkey at ICA Maxi, we are foregoing the traditional meal this year. No turkey. And, at over $3.25/lb., I can't say I'm too sad. Of course, not having pumpkin and apple-cranberry pies (freshly baked by yours truly) or my special corn bread and cranberry stuffing is a bit sad. We are going out that evening and depart the next day for a weekend trip.
So, some Christmas decorations went up around the city a few weeks ago. Large stars and snowflake with lights that stretch across narrow roads around city center. The bulk of the decorations will go up around the city on December 1st, or so we have been told. Including some hideous shapes with blue lights on the Aveny that I saw last year.
The stores have been pushing Christmas odds and ends since October. TJ has been in the holiday spirit and a diligent shopper. For my part, I bought some cookie cutters for the annual Christmas cookie bake-off and decorating event. And so it begins.
TJ has already decked our halls and walls with shiny red and silver ornaments. Cinnamon-scented candles liven the air. And this:
This is a tomte candle that you burn starting at the beginning of December to count down to Christmas Day. The tomte originally started off as a more pagan creature, but has now been folded into the traditional Christmas story involving St. Nick - the Christmas tomte. There are many variations of a tomte. I like the ones that look like gnomes. Like this one (clicking on image will take you to my Flickr photostream):
I plan on buying an antique, traditional looking tomte in the next few weeks. Expect a photo.
We attended our first holiday party - a glögg mingle. We met old faces and new in the most spacious, wonderfully decorated apartment just off the Aveny. Glögg is the Swedish version of mulled wine. Sweet, warm and tasty. A recipe if you are so inclined.
Unfortunately, we are missing a Lucia party this weekend. What fun that would have been. The actual date of the Lucia celebration is December 13th. It involves a young girl dressed in white with a crown of burning candles on her head. Glögg and lussekatter (St Lucy buns) are consumed. The buns, which I will have to try, are made with saffron. And, there is a Lucia song. More here. And here.