Merry Christmas!!! (Long Christmas Post)

Hey guys!
So today is Christmas which I'm usually very excited about. Christmas is the best thing ever and I start celebrating in October, I start counting down to Christmas the day after Christmas and it's just... It's amazing. We haven't had all the traditions that Christmas usually brings to other families, instead we've celebrated on a smaller scale since we're usually just 3 people now. I guess the reason I like Christmas so much is because my family used to get along during this day, so we used to be my mom, dad, me, Sebastian, grandma and my extra grandpa. Since then, both grandma and my extra grandpa has passed away and my dad is remarried and celebrates with his family. Obviously I do miss the rest of my family very much, but I'm very thankful for the family I still have and even though we don't follow every tradition from start to finish I still think that our Christmases are amazing.
This year, however, I haven't had any Christmas feelings. I've had a stressful year and I've been sick a lot and I've gone through stuff, so the fact that it's Christmas already is insane. Wish I felt otherwise, but I guess not every year can be the best year ever.

I thought I'd write a little about the basics of a Swedish Christmas because like I've said before, I have been asked a couple of times if and how Swedes celebrates.

Advent
We start preparing for Christmas the first sunday in December/last sunday in November. This is called First Sunday of Advent and this is when we slowly start to decorate our homes with various smaller decorations like small Santas and the Nativity sceen, lights etc. It's like the beginning and then you can do your decorations kinda when you want before Christmas. You usually don't take in and decorate the tree until closer to Christmas; some taking it in two weeks before and decorate it, and some take it inside the day before Christmas and decorate it.
Advent is usually celebrated with family, and we a candle for each Advent. Some celebrate it, some just light a candle and have breakfast together, and some doesn't really care. We have a specific candle holder that has room for four candles (one for each advent) that can look something like this.

Picture borrowed from fyndiq.se

Decorations
So when it comes to decorations, we all have some similar stuff. We have the Christmas lighting which can come in different shapes. The other advent light holder we use, which are usually electric. There's different styles but the basic one is this.

Picture borrowed from Rusta.se

Instead (or also) you can have a Christmas star, and both of these are placed in windows.

Picture from Lampan.se

Christmas tree
There's not really much to write about the Christmas Tree since we have the same type that almost every other country has. It's either real or plastic (our is plastic), and then we decorate it with electric lighting, glitter, balls and some ornaments.

"Julskyltning"
I couldn't find a perfect word describing this event but it's like a market/small festival with focus on Christmas. These usually happen in the beginning to mid December on different places in Sweden, and they last one or two days. Stall vendors sell candy, decorations, postcards, scrapbooking, food, and so on. Then there's lotteries, and on the one close to us that we visit every year, there's also something called a Christmas Train. It usually consists of santas, a school orchestra, kids dressed up as ginger bread figures and santas helpers etc. It's basically a carnival floater train.

Presents
Like everybody else, we give Christmas presents. What separates us from the rest of the world, literally, is that we don't open the gifts on Christmas day, we open them on Christmas eve. Some of us play present games with lottery deciding which gift you're getting, usually if you're in a bigger party to save money. Some give gifts directly to certain people. For example, here at home we give to each other, but if I celebrated with my dad and his family we would probably have some kind of lottery because it would be freaking expensive otherwise. When we visit my grandpa we have secret santa instead . Kids usually get gifts just for them though, like any other kid, with toys and clothes etc. We open this after dinner.

Donald Duck
Another actually pretty important tradition we Swedes share is that at 3 p.m. we gather around the TV and watch Donald Duck. This consists of an hour filled with Christmas greetings from various Disney characters such as Donald Duck, Mickey Mouse, Goofy, Chip 'n Dale, Ferdinand, Jungle Book among others.

Food
While the kids (and adults banned from the kitchen) watch Donald Duck, food is being prepared because we usually eat after Donald Duck.
Swedish holidays are celebrated with the Swedish Smorgasbord! This is basically a buffet with Swedish food. We have this for easter and midsummer as well, with almost the same content for every dinner.
For our smorgasbord we usually have:
Gravlax, herring, Jansson's temptation, Christmas ham, meatballs, a smaller type of sausage called "prinskorv" (korv means sausage or hot dog), more herring, a lot of cheese, egg, cale, and so much more. People then add or remove stuff based on what they like and what traditions they have. For example, we also have potato gratin since I don't like Jansson's temptation. We also have a lot of babybel.
Alcohol is also very, very common on our holidays. Mostly snaps and vodka, and then we usually sing small songs and toast before each shot.

After the main course we have Rice á la Malta (rice pudding) with fruit sauce. If you're in a larger party, there's usually an almond in the pudding, and the one who gets is, is not allowed to show that they have it until everybody is done eating, then we guess who got it and the one who got it gets a "pudding gift" (chocolate or a small ornament).

Obviously this are traditions that are common, but every family has their own values, preffered traditions and their own ways of celebrating.
No matter how you celebrate, if you celebrate, I wish you a merry Christmas and happy holidays! ❤️

Head picture borrowed from Pexels.com

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