What could be more festive than flaming candles in a girl’s hair or drinking cup after cup of strong coffee accompanied by pastries? This time of year makes you think about the customs of cold weather countries.

Lucia Day often begins with the daughter of the house bringing breakfast and coffee to her parents (adorned with a wreath of candles). How to Make a Swedish Christmas and Christmas in Scandinavia have recipes and instructions for making  ornaments like woven heart baskets and straw horses.

Swedish Christmas Crafts by Helene Lundberg has great, and simple, ideas for decorations, such as putting small white candles in a row of bright red apples to use as a centerpiece or using coarse salt for a snow substitute. Or how’s this for a frugal gift idea? Use a tin can after stripping off the label for a container of nuts or candy. Tie a piece of pretty cloth over the top.

Coffee is a central part of a fabulous Icelandic custom called the Four Coffees. Beatrice Ojakangas’ Great Scandinavian Baking Book includes instructions for a succession of cookies, cakes and breads that are eaten. With each pastry, one cup of coffee is consumed. With the fourth cup, you can eat anything at the coffee table.

Embrace the cold and snow season – revel in spicy cookies, lots of candles, and plenty of coffee.

One Thought on “Scandinavian Christmas Traditions

  1. I have always wanted to wear those burning candles on my head. Alas, I’m not of Swedish descent, so I guess it will never happen. Probably a good thing!

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