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6 Beautiful, Simple Swedish Christmas Decorating Ideas from Anna's Home


It's no secret that I love Christmas, it's one of my favourite times of the year. I'm extra excited this week as this Sunday marks the First Day of Advent when I finally feel free to put up some decorations (hence the back-to-back 'jul' themed posts)! However, I understand that it's not everyone's cup of tea - or indeed that everyone celebrates Christmas so I promise to try to keep it balanced over the coming weeks!  

With that said, who's ready for some decorating ideas? Ho ho ho! One of my favourite Swedes to follow at time of the year is Anna Truelsen, her home is always full of beautiful, yet simple decoration ideas - many of which are handmade. Here are five I spotted which would make great crafting ideas: 


1. Homemade pine garland: I love a simple garland made from pine sprigs - they look equally pretty hung in the window as they do draped over the back of a chair (see top picture!). Find out how to make your own here
2. A simple sapling placed in a vase or pot of water: a very popular Scandinavian tradition (especially if you're lucky enough to have Christmas trees growing in your garden - yes, I know....!). Pulling saplings up and placing them in a vase, ceramic pot or other vessel of your choice make for a really pretty 'au natural' decoration. Plus you can replant them after the festive period! 

By the way, how stunning is Anna's table? Almost made me weep! 
3. Dried orange garlands: an annual staple and super easy to make, orange garlands add a lovely touch of colour and fill the home with a wonderful Christmassy scent! 
4. Paper snow flowers: these fine specimens have exploded in popularity in Sweden over the past few years, and they're so simple and fun to make.  There's a step by step guide here (in Swedish - but non-swedes should be fine as there are plenty of pictures!). 

5. Paper chains: got some leftover wallpaper or wrapping paper? Why not make some good old fashioned paper chains? See the know-how here along with DIY bunting and baubles! 

6. A Tree in a basket or pot: It's lovely to bring a tree into the house early, but if you're not careful it'll quickly droop come Christmas Day. And that's where potted trees come into the mix. If watered regularly, they'll stay fresh and healthy - as well as smell divine. And you can replant it once Christmas is over! 

I hope this has given you a few ideas! Hop on over to Anna's instagram to feel inspired! 

Looking for some pretty advent candle inspiration? I love these 5 pretty candle displays you can make in an instant.  

You might also like to take a peek inside the Christmas archive for more ideas. 

Also, do you make an advent calendar for your children / nieces and nephews / grandchildren / pets? One year I made this one for my girls. They loved it. I couldn't resist putting a couple of potatoes in one of the numbers as a joke. I was roaring with laughter. I did have a couple of sweets set to one side though, I'm not that mean! 

Have a hyggelig weekend friends!  

Niki

Photography: Anna Truelsen - shared with kind permission. 

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A Charming Festive Swedish Cottage In Winter Time

When do you start decorating your home for Christmas (if you do)? In Sweden the First Sunday of Advent is traditionally the day many Scandinavians start to add festive touches, although the darkness has prompted many to start early. I therefore felt it was time for my second 'Jul' post of the year and this charming Swedish cottage fits the bill perfectly! The traditional red and white property dates back to 1901 and was formerly the home of a platelayer (also known as a 'trackman' - whose job was to inspect and maintain the nearby railway line). Today, the charming cottage in Västmanland county belongs to Helena Dahl and her family. As you can tell from the furniture and accessories, Helena is a huge fan of vintage and antiques, and even runs a small instagram store selling Swedish vintage pieces. But what really caught my attention was just how pretty her home is at Christmas time, especially with the snow falling silently outside. Ready to feel warm and fuzzy inside? 

Simple boxwood wreaths hang from the door with red ribbon and a pine tree rests against the wall. 
In Sweden windows come alive at Christmas with paper star lanterns* and 'adventsljustake' (advent candlestick holders in an inverted V). 
The imperfections are what makes this little cottage so perfect! I particularly love the wonky walls and doorways which show the age of the cottage.
A tree sapling has been placed in a vase adding a subtle festive touch beside a sweet smelling hyacinth and simple candle. 
The Christmas tree has been festooned with vintage baubles, flags and other decorations, and lights up a dark corner under the stairs. 
A collection of three antique Swedish brass candleholders makes a pretty display on the coffee table. 
Spot the heart-shape snow-flake? But of course! 

Such a pretty home, don't you think? Is there anything that stood out to you? 

The cottage reminds me a lot of Helen's cosy Blekinge home - which I featured last week. When I see pretty country homes like these it makes me wonder if I should leave the city. Do you ever feel like that too? 

For those of you looking for new Scandi-style festive ideas for your home in the coming days, take a peek at: 

The hit DIY decoration of 2020 - a decoration made from cardboard loo rolls! 

Meanwhile, if you're American and heading off to enjoy the holidays - Happy Thanksgiving!! 

I'll be back tomorrow with a final post for the week, which will hopefully fill you with ideas for the weekend! 

Have a cosy day friends! 

Niki

Photography courtesy of Helena Dahl with thanks. 

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Beautiful Danish Christmas Decorations in a Cosy Swedish Cottage

 
These images were taken as part of a paid Christmas campaign for Pernille Bülow*

As I walked home early evening yesterday, the night sky was bathed in a warm light from the glow of fairy lights and candles shining brightly from windows and I felt a sense that Jul (Christmas) is just around the corner. In Blekinge, Sweden, interior designer Helen Sturesson's decorations will be slightly different this year thanks to a stunning handmade Christmas collection by Pernille Bülow - a glass atelier on the Danish island of Bornholm. It's safe to say the Pernille Bülow elves have been burning the midnight oil to create the most beautiful mouth blown baubles you'll find this year (some of which are made from recycled glass) - as well as candleholders, oil lamps, vases and dinnerware. I chatted to Helen to find about her family Christmas traditions up at the cottage, and to take some photos of the collection. 

When does the Christmas period begin for you? 
It starts on the first Sunday of advent when I put up star lanterns and line the windowsills with candles and oil lamps. Around St Lucia (13th December), we put up a Christmas tree and dot more Christmas decorations around the house. 

How do you like to decorate your home for Christmas? 
As well as the star lanterns and candles, I also love to find a little Christmas tree in the garden which I bring indoors and decorate with a few pretty baubles. And I make a wreath or two, also using whatever is available outside. Since it's so small, our cottage doesn't need more than that to feel festive and cosy.



Your cottage makes the perfect backdrop for Pernille Bülow Christmas decorations - what are your thoughts on the collection? 
I love that the ReUse items (bowls, glasses and decorations) are made from recycled glass and also that everything in the entire collection is handmade or mouth blown on the Danish island of Bornholm. Every piece feels really unique and good quality. You get so much more value from items that come directly from a designer / atelier and are not mass produced.  


When do you head to your cottage for the holidays?
We usually go there one or two days before Christmas. 


What do you love most about being at the cottage at Christmas time?
It's more cosy here than at our apartment in the city. I love to light the fire in the Kakelugn (tiled oven). It's very peaceful here and I really like to be near my parents and brothers who live nearby. 

Where do you spend Christmas Eve and what does your day look like (the day Christmas is celebrated in Sweden)?
On Christmas Eve we drive over to my parents which is around 15 minutes away. The entire family gathers so we're usually about 12 people in total. We all bring dishes for the 'Julbord' (the Christmas spread) and rally around in the kitchen to finalise the meal before it goes on the table. 

After lunch there's always someone who wants to sit down and watch 'Donald Duck and his friends wish you a Merry Christmas' - a bizarre Swedish Christmas tradition - while others chill and chat! In the evening Tomten (Father Christmas) arrives bearing gifts and we drink glögg (mulled wine). 



What type of dishes does your Julbord include? 
We have a fairly traditional one with ham, pickled herring, Jansson's Temptation (a potato dish with anchovies), meatballs, salmon etc washed down with 'Julmust' (a form of Christmas cola) a little beer and schnapps. In the evening we drink glögg (spiced mulled wine) with gingerbread and tuck into Rice á la Malta or Christmas porridge. 


What do you do on Christmas Day (the day after the festivities)? 
It's a very relaxed day. We meet up with my parents again and go for a long walk together in the countryside before eating leftovers from the Julbord. Sometimes we head back to the city to meet up with Kristoffer's family. 


When do you take down your decorations? 
I don't really stick to a specific date - it's basically when the tree starts to look awful! The stars are the last things I take down. It feels so dark without them. My son always gets sad and cries when we take the star down in his bedroom - he loves the cosy, warm light it emits. 


Thank you so much for sharing your Christmas with us Helen, it sounds so lovely!

And thank you to Pernille Bülow for entrusting Helen and I with all the beautiful glassware! 

Follow any of the links in this post to treat yourself or friends (everything they sell makes a perfect present, but especially the clear mouthblown baubles which come in a lovely box!) - or head over to the Pernille Bülow online shop (they ship almost worldwide and it's free if you buy for a certain amount). I have a suspicion their elves will be working overtime in the coming weeks as the Christmas decorations are the prettiest I've seen this year.

Is there anything that stood out to you about the decorations or Helen's mysig family Christmas at the cottage? 

Stay cosy friends!

Niki

Photography; Niki Brantmark / My Scandinavian Home (except for first and last cottage image by Helen)
Styling: Helen Sturesson 

*This post is a paid partnership with Pernille Bülow. All words and images are my own and I only ever work with brands I absolutely love and think you will too! Thank you for supporting the small Nordic businesses and ateliers that make My Scandinavian Home possible.

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God Jul / Merry Christmas!

Merry Christmas! 

It's a difficult time, with many of us missing our family this year. Even so, I hope you can find joy in the small things - A Zoom call with a loved one, a great book, a glimpse of sunshine or a slither of cake. You might also take comfort (along with the cake!) as I do from the words in the chorus of a very famous Swedish Christmas song:

Tänd ett ljus och låt det brinna, 
låt aldrig hoppet försvinna,
det är mörkt nu, 
men det blir ljusare igen. 

Light a candle and let it burn
Never let hope fade away,
It's dark now,
But it will be brighter again. 

Wishing you all a very merry Christmas friends!

Niki

PS You can listen to 'Tändet Ljus' here sung completely a cappella!) - and find the full lyrics in English here

PPS I'll be back for a few days in between Christmas and new year! See you then!

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Dreaming of a Cosy and Calm White Christmas In Johanna's Home

'Twas the last Friday before Christmas, and somewhere in Hamburg, Germany Johanna Wiemann's apartment is lit with the warm glow of candlelight. There may not be snow outside, but there sure is a lot of white inside - not to mention beautiful natural wood and soft, muted tones. Look closely and you'll also spot festive branches hung over the table, dripping with pretty ornaments, a simple sprig of pine displayed in a vase, star garlands and little houses lit with tea lights - and of course candles, lots of cosy candles! Ready for a tour of a dreamy, Scandinavian-inspired home at Christmas time? 

How lovely - the calmness, the warm glow that emits from every room, the magical display over the dining table - simply everything! 

Could you imagine spending the weekend here? 

See more pictures of Johanna's beautiful home over at @scandinavian.interior.

Feel like looking at other homes to give you that 'Jul' spirit? here are a few of my favourites: 


And if you feel like crafting this weekend - don't miss this decoration made from loo roll which I shared earlier this week! Could there be a more apt decoration for 2020? 

Wishing you a wonderful couple of days!

Niki

Photography: Johanna Wiemann, shared with kind permission. 

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11 Swedish Christmas Decorating Essentials (From Mari's Festive Home)

We're nearing the winter solstice, and I have to say, it's very dark here in Sweden right now. In fact, in the far North, the sun set a few days ago and will not reappear again for 24 days. Can you imagine? This is why the Scandinavians love to brighten up the darkness with levande ljus (candlelight) and delight the senses with the sweet smell off pepparkaka (gingerbread). Nature also plays a starring role - with moss, pine and fir, which is readily available in the forest - being a firm favourite.  In Mari Magnusson's home in Enköping, North West of Stockholm, candles light up her tables and sideboards and pine tree branches have been transformed into garlands, wreaths and simple yet pretty table displays. Welcome to Mari's mysigt (cosy) Christmas wonderland - and discover 11 swedish Jul essentials! 

1. Pepparkakshus: No Christmas in Sweden would be complete without a gingerbread house. Some buy kits, others go for their own handmade creation. Either way, they look pretty, smell divine, are fun to make and will likely leave you with burnt fingers (from the hot melted sugar 'glue'). You've been warned! Recipe available here

2. Pepparkaka hearts: all across the country children and adults alike will be rolling out gingerbread dough and cutting it into hearts (and other shapes). The sweet-smelling biscuits will then be hung from the tree, in the window, or arranged into a garland (or best of all, eaten!). 


3. Amaryllis: No Swedish home would be complete at an amaryllis - usually red but you also see white, and even a peach variety. 

4. Hyacinths: Whether planted in soil or wrapped in moss, these sweet smelling flowers are Jul staples! 

5. The pine (or fir) tree sapling: When you have little Christmas tree saplings going in your garden, it's just to go out and pick one and place it in water - and they look as pretty as can be. Plus, they can be re-planted once Christmas is over! Slightly tricker if you don't.  But little potted trees can look equally pretty and are more widely available. 

6. Sprigs of pine and alder cones: who needs expensive bouquets when a little sprig from a pine tree and alder tree cones can look equally pretty? Don't live next to a forest? Cut a few sprigs off the back of your Christmas - no one will ever notice! 

7. The wreath: Hung on the door, hanging from the ceiling, on the wall, in the window... there is no end to the different ways a Swede uses a wreath at Christmas! 

8. Candles: all hail the levande ljus. An essential element to any Scandinavian home in any shape or form - and the perfect way to brighten up the darkness!*

9. The Christmas flower and star: On the first Sunday of advent, pretty Christmas star lanterns appear in the window. Inside, paper flowers have become popular - and they're super simple to make

10. Adventsljusstakar: Not featured here (although, I'm sure Mari has one somewhere in the house!), these electric V-shaped candelabra have been placed in the windows of homes, schools and offices for centuries - and light up the windows throughout cities, towns and hamlets. 

11. The Christmas tree! No home would be complete without a Julgran - in whichever shape or size. Traditionally Swedes used real candles on a tree - and very occasionally still do**. But it's way more popular, practical and safe to use electric lights these days! 

So simply and so pretty! I love the essential Swedish Christmas decorations. 

Do you have any of these in your home?

I'd love to hear about the essential Christmas ingredients in your country too. 

See more pictures from Mari's home over on her lovely interior instagram feed @anangelinmyhome and baking feed: @anangelatmytable

Wishing you a cosy day!

Niki

Photography: Mari Magnusson 

*Important note with regards to candles: always place candles well away from anything flammable. Never leave a lit candle unattended (always blow them out before leaving a room). 

**Important note with regards to real Christmas tree candles: please be aware that using real candles on a tree requires a huge amount of vigilance. Only ever use real candles on a fresh tree (i.e. bring it in the day before Christmas). Place the candles well away from other branches. Never ever leave candles unattended, and always have sand or another type of fire extinguisher nearby. In all honesty, real candles look pretty but I would advise sticking to electric candles!  

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