Snow covered streets are lined with candles and fairy lights, logs are burning on the fire and the smell of hot, steaming rice pudding flows through the air. Hygge is all around and everyone is cosy and happy while the kids are eagerly awaiting gifts. There is nothing quite like spending Christmas in Scandinavia.



Unlike in the UK where the 25th December is the main event, it is traditional in Scandinavia to have the main celebrations on the 24th December. Everyone comes together to enjoy an abundant meal, known as the Julbord which often includes salted ham with mustard, Gravlax (cured salmon), lutfisk (cod cured in lye), glögg (mulled wine) and the infamous pickled herring – that is right, it’s not just for Midsommar. It is also traditional to eat a cinnamon infused rice pudding with an almond hidden within. The person lucky enough to happen upon the almond receives a gift or good luck for the year ahead. Dishes like this are often enjoyed with traditional wooden vessels and cutlery like the Skandinavisk Hemslojd Porridge Spoon.


 


In Sweden, there is a special bowl of this porridge left out for Tomte, the Swedish equivalent to Father Christmas. The Norwegians and Danes do something similar for Julenisse, the main gnome who brings the Christmas gifts. Tomte looks similar to Father Christmas but he wears mostly grey and is always close by keeping a watchful eye. He is only ever seen during Christmas though when, on 24th December, he knocks on the door (rather than squeezing down the chimney) and hands out presents to children, often singing funny rhymes as he does so.

A velvety darkness covers the Northern skies earlier and earlier each day during the winter months but this doesn’t dim the Scandinavian countries over Christmas. Lights start to pop up everywhere from fairy lights on trees and buildings in the street, to large outdoor candles on each and every door step. Light and warmth has played a big part in Scandinavian Christmas traditions since the Vikings, and events like burning the yule log are inspired by early winter Viking traditions.



A few days before the 24th December, it is traditional to venture North to search for the perfect Christmas tree and many fell their own. A Norwegian best-seller for all things wood related is Norwegian Wood by Lars Mytting, a household name throughout Scandinavia. 



The tree is considered the very symbol of Christmas in Scandinavia and there are strict guidelines on how it should look. This is something that is taken very seriously and it is common for friends and family to compete to see who has the straightest tree. Adorned with decorations, flags and plenty of lights, the tree acts as the centre piece in which all things festive revolve around. 



One thing that most Scandinavians can count on, is a white Christmas! Blessed with true winter weather, there is ample opportunities to enjoy the outdoors. Coveralls on, armed with sleds, skis or a pullkas, many take to the outdoors to work off that Julbord feast and make the most of the fun the outdoors brings. Have a look at our kids coveralls by Didriksons, they are just as suited to Scottish weather as they are to Scandinavian.