This year for the second time I will be spending Christmas in Sweden. Before my first Christmas in the land of The Bridge, Pippi Longstockings, and mandatory saunas, British festive traditions were so deeply entrenched in me that I was blinkered to the fact that our fellow Europeans may spend the day differently to us Brits. For anyone considering spending a Christmas in Sweden at any point, I thought I would highlight some of the differences and save you from looking as bemused as I did;
1. Swedes celebrate Christmas on the 24th December.
A totally alien concept to me as a Brit. The 24th for me is the gradual build up, a day of only semi indulgence and possibly even an annual church visit in a meagre attempt to compensate for the carnage that is about to ensue the following day. Not in Sweden, no no no. The 24th for them is all out revelry. The downside to this though is that Christmas day is spent on the sofa feeling like you have been through a car wash but forgotten to take your car with you.
2. Father Christmas comes to your house in the afternoon.
Rather than forcefully wedging himself down your impossibly narrow chimney, in Sweden Father Christmas has the sense to knock on the door. The only sensible explanation for the the ill conceived chimney entrance is that by the time he gets to England he’s had so many sherries that he’s forgotten how to enter a house. This also explains why Swedish interiors are often white - they don’t have to worry about recarpeting every new year due to soot being trodden all over your house.
3. Swedes eat meatballs for Christmas lunch.
Actually not a practical joke as I assumed. They really do love meatballs that much.
4. At 3pm the whole country sits down to watch a montage of Disney clips.
I am told that the clips have been the same since the dawn of time. Everyone knows every word of every song even though they have never actually seen the film it’s from. I like to think of it as the Swedish equivalent of the Queen’s speech, except that they watch with actual enthusiasm rather than patriotic drudgery.
5. The 25th December is the biggest clubbing day of the year in Sweden.
Clubbing? On Christmas Day!? This is literally the last thing that would cross my mind. Can you imagine dragging yourself upstairs, swapping your Christmas jumper for a little dress and high heels, smearing makeup across your face in a port induced sozzled state and going into the nearest town to queue for an hour to get into a club? No, me neither.
On an entirely different note, I‘m delighted to announce that Silly Cushions will be appearing at two different Christmas markets this year -
Sunday 27th November 2016 - The Christmas Market at The Ackroyd Centre, 14 - 20 Ackroyd Road, Crofton Park, SE23 1DL
Saturday 10th December 2016 - The Lewisham Arthouse Winter Fair at 140 Lewisham Way, London, SE14 6PD.
I really hope some of you can make it along to see me. I’ll be selling Christmas tree decorations, Christmas themed embroidered cushions to decorate your house over the festive season, and cushions embroidered with silly messages which will make the perfect present for someone you know.