For me Christmas has started as soon as December chimes in, the lights are up on every high street and the nights are drawing in. I am one of these people that loves any excuse to get excited and love the hapiness that is accompanied by festivities! By the 13th December I am brimming with Christmas cheer, and it is a tradition for my family to go to St. Lucia then, listening to a choir singing a mix of Swedish and English festive hymns. Followed by a good helping of Glogg and LusseKatter (Saffron buns)!
This year we also flew out to Sweden. Unfortunately there was no snow, but still a fantastic holiday filled to the brim with things to do. On the first night we got together with lots of Family, for which my mormor and I made a Smorgas tarta (our egos were suitably inflated by the compliments on it that evening). It was great to have a good catch up with people we hadn’t seen in a long time!
The following morning I took a stroll in the nearby forest with my morfar. walking off the beaten track through the trees in search of mushrooms. No we are not mad (okay, just a tad) but there were indeed mushrooms out!
For those of you unfamiliar with mushroom season it normally spans September through October. Due to the mild winter they had been able to grow through December! Our main loot was Chanterelles, with a few hedgehog mushrooms.
Once home I got straight to cleaning our treasures! Ready for some pan fried mushrooms on knäckebröd with plenty of butter – YUM!
After this we hopped in the car and took morfar on a suprise journey! As we were all together we decided to celebrate his Birthday early and take him to a hotel, with a jacuzzi and sauna session.
The cousins had chosen the rooms for us all, I was put into the Nature room, as they thought that was fitting for me. I absolutley loved it. As soon as I walked through the door I was in heaven; faux reindeer hyde on the bed; leaves hand painted on the walls; a tree coming through the ground to the ceiling and forest photography around the room.
Each room had its own theme, I passed a Manolo Blahnik room and a red sole room that seemed very luxurious! The staff were dressed in traditional Swedish dress and nowhere in the hotel quite seemed to match, but it never seemed overdone or out of place. After having a good old fashioned snoop, we jumped into our swimming cosys, sprinted across the garden and went to the sauna and jacuzzi! We were greeted with crisps, nuts and cheese (as you may already know, I LOVE cheese). Later we had a glass of bubbly in the jacuzzi. Once we were suitably prune-like we went in to enjoy the sauna. Afterwards we slipped into our bathrobes and once again sprinted across the garden back to the main building into our rooms to get ready for dinner.
We met in the waiting room and enjoyed a glass of Glogg and Gingerbread biscuits. The room again was splendidly decorated with one corner similar to a royal waiting room, with a regal portrait and plush arm chairs; another extremely christmassy with a Manolo Blahnik Christmas tree and all of their goodies available in the gift shop; another was like a hunters living room with a Zebra a Gisele head on the wall and skins over the sofas; the last I found amusing with an arty seat in the shape of a bottom!
So how could I refuse a cheeky picture?
Then onto a fabulous Julbord, with sills, more knäckebröd, salmon, cold meats, Christmas ham, meatballs, sausages, potatoes and of course cheese!!! If we weren’t full after that there was a tower of Swedish sweeties, gingerbread, chocolate truffles, chocolate mouse, rice pudding and a choice of exciting ice creams.
I couldn’t choose between them all, so had a bit of everything!
The ice creams were Saffron, Pistachio, Gingerbread and Passionfruit. My favourite by far was the gingerbread, not too strong, but you could definitely taste it as if you were eating the biscuits! We then tootled off to bed, watched some films in bed and fell into a food induced sleep.
The next morning we met in the dining room with another mountain of food awaiting us. Despite our dinner from the previous night, we were prepared to battle it out again. First stop the waffle machine, once cooked I smothered mine in strawberry jam and cream! Realising this was all backwards I followed by a hard boiled egg topped with calles caviar and a gingerbread flavoured tea! Now all of the breakfast spread was amazing, but the tea was so cute, it had mini snowflakes in it which melted away with the hot water and tasted like Christmas in a mug!
After Breakfast we had a walk round the village and then back in the car home. The rest of the day was spent chilling with more open mushroom sandwiches and films – much needed as we had been all go since landing. This is what Christmas is like though right?! Hectic one moment lounging on the sofa the next?
As I said with lights up in every high street, so to were they littering the streets of Stockholm and the window displays. NK’s display was lovely this year! The time we did manage to squeeze out of Stockholm we spent admiring window displays and walking through Gamla stan (the old town).
Jul Afton or Christmas Eve is the big day in Sweden. We had our own mini Julbord for lunch and eagerly anticipated the clock striking 3pm. The time when the Cartoons begin, with classics such as Donald duck, Lady and the Tramp, Mickey Mouse and many others burst on to our screens. In the UK we have the Queen at 3pm, but no no in Sweden it is an hour and a half of cartoons to rest and digest along to. Then present time was upon us! This part is pretty universal and so Christmas comes to an end. They even announced on the radio the Christmas songs would stop?! Yes, that was the sound of my heart breaking.