December 09, 2013

Christmas Traditions - Old and New

Welcome back, folks!  So we all know how crazy busy this time of year is but I've been trying to fit in some Christmas activities here and there.  This year's events have been a mix of old favourites and a long-awaited-for new party that I hope will continue in years to come.

Normally in October I host a big Thanksgiving dinner for my friends.  It's an annual tradition that I really enjoy (despite the ridiculous amount of time and preparation involved) and my friends make a point of booking themselves in months to a year in advance to take advantage of all that home cooking delightfulness.  However, with this year's bathroom renovations, lack of running water and general nastiness that was my flat for two months during September and October, Thanksgiving sadly didn't happen.

So to compensate, I held a glögg party.  Now, if you're not Scandinavian, German or similar northern European, you may be asking yourself, 'Just what is this glögg thing she's on about?'.  Well, glögg is a seasonal spiced (AKA mulled) red wine.  It's served warmed and in Sweden you add raisins and almonds (I prefer hazel nuts in mine) for extra yumminess.  It's sort of like the adult version of hot cocoa - it's warm and makes you feel tingly and cosy.  Nibbles included a mix of English and Swedish holiday treats; truly the best of both worlds.

Glögg - spreading the Christmas cheer.

Then this weekend past was a lovely mix of holiday traditions my friends and I have developed over the years.  Saturday we attended one of the annual Christmas flower arranging courses at the local florist college - they hold these every Christmas and Easter and they are fantastic!  You get wonderful instructions/demonstrations of the techniques, all the supplies are included and you go home with finished projects to decorate your house, all at a very affordable price.  What's more, the building itself is amazingly decorated and they always serve a nice fika or lunch, depending on the course length.

This year we decided to take the half day course, which included two projects: a pillar candle in a bowl decoration and a moss heart hanging decoration.  It's amazing that even after having taken these courses for some 4 years or so now, the projects are always different every time we go.  I especially loved the bowl arrangement - it looks so pretty on my coffee table in the lounge!  And I also liked that this year's moss heart was a small, manageable size (unlike a previous year).

Candle/bowl Arrangement

Moss Heart Decoration

After the flower arranging course, we spent the afternoon at the big Christmas market.  We were pleasantly surprised to find that they had done away with the giant tent the vendors used to be housed in and instead there was a newly constructed building to go through.  And the selection was different from previous years - very nice improvements, plus many of our old favourites still included in the mix, such as these handsome julboc (Christmas goats):

I do quite fancy them but I just know that Oskar would eat it and I'd find piles of puked-up straw all over the house.  Ahh, the joys of pet ownership...

Once we finished our shopping (I did actually manage to buy a few gifts and stocking stuffers), we enjoyed another warm cup of glögg and a lussekatte (traditional saffran bun) in the old manor house.

Later Saturday night I even also finished making all of my Christmas cards for the year!  That's a bit miraculous, considering that I normally do cards in November but hadn't touched mine until sometime last Wednesday.  I'll share those with you Wednesday so stay tuned for more.

So despite all of the holiday craziness going on, it's been nice to fit in some of the pleasant things, too.  Hopefully you've also managed to do the same.