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Our Swedish Christmas - From Per's Perspective!











How do you celebrate Christmas? Since moving to Sweden (16 years ago - how crazy is that?!) - we usually have two celebrations - one in Sweden on 23rd and one in England on 25th. But this year, the entire English clan is coming to Sweden, so Per and the girls finally get to watch Kalle Anke (Donald Duck) at 3pm on Christmas Eve (a very Swedish tradition!). For my final post of the year with partner Skandinavisk - who tell the story of the Scandinavian Christmas / Winter through a collection of heavenly fragrances (discount at end of post!) - I thought I'd interview my husband Per about his thoughts on Swedish Christmas, and some of the traditions he loves the most!



When does Christmas begin for you?
The First Sunday of Advent - this is when we traditionally jular fram - start to put up Christmas decorations, play Christmas music etc.

What do you love most about this time of year? 
It gets very cold and dark as we near the winter solstice and Swedes tend to gravitate indoors. Christmas gives us a perfect excuse to hang out with friends over a glögg (spiced mulled wine) and pepparkaka (gingersnaps)!

What are your favourite family traditions? 
Every year we head out to the woods to chop down our tree. When I was at school, parents would organise a class trip and we'd all go out together and make a big event out of it. These days I love to continue this tradition with my family. In Sweden we're known for being fairly calm and democratic - but when we choose a tree, we can become pretty feisty! There are a lot of strong opinions about how a Christmas tree should look!




How do you decorate your home for Christmas?
I'm married to an interior-crazy woman so I don't get too much of a say these days (Editor's note: he so does) - but there are a few things that are important to me. I like to put traditional 7-arm candelabras and paper stars in the window. I also like the Christmas decorations to be cosy but not over the top - us Swedes don't tend to go all-in - for example, you rarely see colourful flashing Christmas tree lights or a Father Christmas and his sleigh on the roof!

What fragrances do you associate with Christmas?
The fresh scent of pine, orange, cloves, smoke from a crackling log fire, cinnamon, ginger and cardamom all remind me of Christmas. 

JUL (Christmas) scented candle with bold notes of baked gingerbread, melted honey, cloves and warm glögg. 

Where do you spend Christmas? 
We celebrate Christmas on Julafton (Christmas Eve) in Sweden. We have a big family gathering at my Father's house, which is in a fishing village further up the coast. Around midday, we all meet at a 'kalbadhus' (sauna pier) by the sea. The sauna is a great way to kick off the Christmas Eve celebrations as there's something really cleansing about heating up in a sauna and hopping in the cold sea - it really raises your spirits! We usually enjoy a few Christmas beers in the sauna too - just for good measure! 

The TRÆ (tree) scented candle is a wonderful reflection of the bright, fresh scent of the forest! 



How do you celebrate Christmas Eve?
When we arrive at my Father's, candlelit lanterns line the snowy pathway up to the door and a nice, warm mug of homemade glögg (spiced mulled wine) with almond and raisins awaits! At 3pm we all settle down to watch the 1958 Walt Disney film, From All of Us To All of You, affectionately referred to as Kalle Anke (Donald Duck) - even though we all know it off by heart! And then we tuck into a traditional Julbord (Christmas smorgasbord).

SNÖ (snow) scented candle with a fresh, crisp and icily dry scent infused with a hint of winter berries and frozen timber wood. 





Ah yes, the julbord! Can you tell us a little more about what this involves? 
It's a smorgasbord made up of different types of meat, fish and vegetable dishes. The fish part is my favourite - it includes different types of pickled herring (marinated by my stepmother), an assortment of salmon (warm smoked, cold smoked, gravlax etc.) prawns, and other delicacies! Our julbord also includes the traditional ham, sausages, green and brown cabbage, Jansson's Temptation (a potato dish with anchovies), meatballs and many, many other things! We all bring something with us so that no one is burdened with doing everything (we all have our own specialities - I'm on meatball duty!).

We accompany the julbord with Christmas beer (for the adults) and Julmust (for the kids - basically an adapted Christmas Coca-Cola). We also enjoy my Father's home-flavoured wormwood schnapps along with Christmas songs! In Sweden, we don't drink wine with the julbord but I've noticed my wife always sneaks in a glass or two!



When do you exchange presents?
In our family we only give presents to the children. They all stand at the window waiting for Tomten (Father Christmas) who appears in the garden with a lantern and a sack over his shoulder. It's met with squeals of delight and the children race to the door to greet him - it's such a wonderful sight! He asks "finns där några snälla barn?" (are there any good children here?). Unfortunately, I always tend to miss this moment as I've 'popped out' for an untimely errand ;).

What do you miss most when you spend Christmas in London? 
I take a lot of the traditions with me in my suitcase - including some of the julbord specialities and song sheets, so I can feel at home! I love the crackers (we don't have them in Sweden) the stockings are also fun, but I do think it's a shame that the rest of the world don't get to meet Tomten!

When do you take Christmas decorations down in Sweden?
We have a saying: tjugondag Knut dansas julen ut (on the twentieth day Knut, Christmas dances out). In other words, all our Christmas decorations are taken down on 13th January. This always stresses my wife as it's said to be unlucky to leave decorations up after Twelfth night (6th January!) in England!




Thank you PP! You've got me dreaming about Christmas Eve now - and that glass of wine with my julbord ;). In the meantime, we've got some Christmas shopping to do (I noticed that was included in your favourite traditions!). 

Speaking of which - if you feel like giving someone the gift of a home filled with the heavenly scent of the Scandinavian Christmas / winter, Skandinavisk are offering My Scandinavian Home readers 20% off the JUL (Christmas) scented candle and mini scented candle, TRÆ (tree) scented candle and mini scented candle, SNÖ (snow) scented candle and mini scented candle, NORDLYS (Aurora Borealis) scented candle and mini scented candle, ÖNSKA special edition giftset and the NORDEN mini giftset! To claim your 20% discount type in nikijul20 at checkout (note the small caps!) - valid until 16th December, 2019. Find out which countries they ship to here

I hope you enjoyed hearing Per tell a little more about our Swedish family Christmas - is there anything that stood out to you? Do you have any similarities in your country? I'd love to hear more about how you celebrate Christmas (or the holidays in general!). 

Have a cosy weekend friends!

Niki

PS I'll be back on Monday with a magical danish home decorated for Christmas - oh, and it involves a little colour too! Make sure you pop back! 

This was part of a paid partnership with Skandinavisk. All words and pictures are my own and I only ever work with brands that I love and think you will too. Thank you for supporting the businesses that make My Scandinavian Home possible.

Photos by me. Interior pictures of my home styled by Helen Sturesson.

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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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'Jul' Touches In My Home (Thanks to The Beautiful Georg Jensen Christmas Collectibles!)




Have you started decorating for Christmas (if you celebrate, of course!)? At home it has started to feel a lot like 'Jul' thanks to the beautiful Christmas Collectibles from Georg Jensen. I've always been curious about Georg Jensen since the iconic Danish brand has played a pioneering role in Scandinavian design for over 100 years - that's a century of timeless jewellery, home decor, silver and accessories! And then I discovered the annual Christmas collection - created in collaboration with a handpicked designer. This year, designer Sanne Lund Traberg worked together with Georg Jensen to create the 2019 Christmas Collectables which are based on classic yuletide symbols of love, togetherness and tradition: hearts, stars and trees all plated in gold and palladium. I was so excited to be given the opportunity to play around with pieces from the collection in my own home, and I can safely say, they are even more beautiful in real life!



As you know, I'm never one to shy away from candles - especially at Christmas! And this isn't the first time I've put real candles on my tree (remember this one?!). I have to say, it's always equally nerve-racking! The Danes, of course, have this down. My Danish neighbour advised me (I thought it was important to seek advice!) to be very careful about where you place them so the flame is nowhere near a branch or another decoration, to never ever leave the tree unattended when the candles are lit, and always keep a bucket of sand nearby.

I have to say, there is nothing prettier than real candles - even if you only enjoy them in short bursts. The 2019 Candleholder Set includes a star and heart version which look super pretty even when the candles aren't lit!



How cosy are these 2019 Tea light heart candle holders? They're like a cosy, warm hug! Did I mention, they're also made from 18 Kt. gold plated brass? Tea lights at the ready! 



We chopped down our tree at a local sustainable Christmas tree farm again this year, and we knew as we saw this one that it had a heart made of gold - isn't this ornament pretty?



I have always loved the idea of using Christmas decorations as part of gift wrapping - and the lucky recipient can hang this pretty 2019 Christmas ornament star on their tree the following year! Any guesses what's inside?



Hard one, but I think the 2019 Christmas Bell Decoration is my favourite. It's made from 18 Kt. gold plated brass and engraved with the year. I think this would make such a beautiful present, don't you?



Usually we put our Christmas tree in this corner, but this year my English family are descending on us (super excited) - so I thought keeping the daybed / reading corner could be a nice place for people to hang out alone with a book when it all gets a bit much (you know what it can be like!). I

True to Scandinavian style, I kept the decoration super simple (especially since it's so near the tree!), using just one single 2019 Christmas ball decoration. Helen (who came and hung out with me for the day to help with the shoot), pulled this mini fir tree up at her summer cottage in Blekinge (you might recognise the name as it's where we went sailing this summer). The key with these mini trees is to keep the roots intact so they last all Christmas.



What do you think? Could you imagine treating yourself or someone you love to something from the Georg Jensen 2019 Christmas Collection? Explore the entire collection here.

I am going to a christening soon and have my eye on the 2019 Christmas Collectibles Gift Set as a present. I hope it's something the little girl can enjoy at Christmas time for many years to come!

Have a lovely day!

Niki

Photography: Niki Brantmark / My Scandinavian Home
Styling: Helen Sturresson

This post is sponsored by Georg Jensen, however all words are my own and I only ever work with brands I love and think you will too. 

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A Beautiful Copenhagen Home Full of Festive Cheer!

Christmas is a time for visiting old friends. And I feel we're doing exactly that today. You might remember earlier this year I took you on a tour of Mette Helena Rasmussen's art-filled Danish home. The date was 13th January - which marks the final day for taking down Christmas decorations in Scandinavian calendar, - and her home was looking fresh and ready for the year ahead. Today, I thought it would be fun to revisit her home and see what it looks like all decorated for Christmas, after all, the Danes have such a wonderful sense of style! And boy, is it full of festival cheer! Think figurines perched on picture frames, little decorations hung on the wall, stars, candles, red berries, and a big tree festooned with pretty pieces. And best of all, many of the pieces were bought second-hand. Welcome to Mette Helena's home in Amager, Copenhagen which she shares with her two children. 

Paper stars are a popular choice in Scandinavia - and you can choose to leave them plain or add a lightbulb so they glow at night.

This brown paper star* is similar. 

Potted evergreens on the balcony help to add that touch of greenery we're missing at this time of year. Throw in a sheepskin*, blanket* and even some fairy lights and you'll create a a really 'hyggeligt' spot! 
Simple pinecones on each place setting add a warm earthy touch to the Christmas table, while mix and match chairs and a subtly creased white linen tablecloth* help to add a relaxed touch. 

Mini trees with one or two simple decorations help to add a festive touch to different areas of the home - or if you live small, are an ideal solution! Look closely at the side table and pictures frames and you'll see subtle touches everywhere. 

I can imagine finding 'forgotten' decorations until March - it usually happens in my home right after someone has clambered into the loft. Do you find this too? 
How pretty is this Christmas tree? I love that no two decorations are alike. 
Much of what this home so cosy at Christmas is the details. And this homemade garland above the door is exactly what I'm talking about. hearts, bells, candy cane and toadstools all play a part in the Scandinavian Christmas scene! 

In the children's bedroom a white jewellery holder has been used as a makeshift Christmas tree. I also spy homemade paper Christmas stars. My children used to make these at nursery school and we still hang them on our tree each year. 
Who says decorations need to be hung? Coloured baubles look equally pretty in a tray by the bed (or on plats or the windowsill as seen in this Swedish Christmas post). 

All in all, one truly inspiring Christmassy home. 

It makes we want to go all out on the detail this year, how about you? 

Is there anything that stood out to you? 

See more of Metta Helena's home and check out her shop Retro Villa

You might also like to check out these posts for plenty more Danish Christmas cheer!


Have a great start to the week, stay warm! 

Niki

Photography Tia Borgsmidt 

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