God Jul - Merry Christmas! Heading to Sweden to enjoy the holiday with Swedish family and friends is always a joyful, fun, and food-filled event in our year. Anders and I very much look forward to this annual trek with great anticipation...of seeing and loving his 89 year old mom, only sister and favorite brother in-law, daughter and son-in-law, and yes our GRAND DAUGHTERS!
Nora and Amy are our darling, funny, precious and did I say beautiful grand daughters. We come armed with holiday dresses, barbie dolls, everything "Frozen" and too many other American "hard-to-find" in Sweden, toys. We look like we are moving abroad when we travel, but truth be told, our travel attire fits nicely in a small roller board...it's the stuff that dreams are made of that fill the other 3 very large suitcases! The Barbie pink jeep got shipped a few years ago, as it was just let's just say ... a little to large to carry on the plane. The photo below is amazing Nora a few years ago hopping into the American dream - the extremely pink Barbie jeep ...we think it was a big hit and is still running strong several years later thanks to extra batteries and electrical genius son-in-law - Johan.
As much as we enjoy spoiling Nora and Amy, I also get super excited to see the Scandinavian Christmas decor (christmassy). After all these years of going to Sweden to celebrate Christmas, many of our friends and clients know that we make this annual trek and ask me what Christmas is like there...so here are a few of my favorite things - mostly having to do with their imaginative and creative use of all things nature - with a few flowers thrown in for good measure.
Sweden being closer to the North Pole than most countries, does not have a lot of daylight this time of the year, so the Swedes create their own. I had never seen Advent stars shining in what seems like every window, in every building, on every street until my first Christmas in Sweden. These stars are really beautiful, and you are seeing them today in every possible color and in all sizes...today they are even available here in America, at lots of different retail stores.
The use of amaryllis and hyacinths hanging from chandeliers and at the tops of windows - gets me every time! I just look at this in utter amazement....who does that! You just add water to the hollow stem...they last for weeks! Having the amazing Swede in my artillery...I will ensure this happens next year in our home - we have a perfect spot - or two, to hang these amazing flowers.
The land of gnomes! The Swedish gnomes are also one of my favorites this time of the year. They come in all sorts of sizes and colors, but of course I'm partial to the gray ones, also like the green ones...the red ones are pretty too! Swedish mystique lives in these gnomes...I will be on the hunt for this grey beauty below...just need to figure out what his name will be???
The use of natural picked-in-the-forest materials to make their decorative items is inspiring....twigs, moss of all varieties, fir limbs, berries, nuts, and pinecones; but to add beauty on top of beauty, they top it off by adding forced bulbs like hyacinth and narcissus to add fragrance.
Look at the shape of this heart below bedazzled in moss, berries, pinecones and fir - I think it is stunning.
Amazing gnarly twig wreath and hyacinths bulbs budding,,,,
Did I say they love to use hearts...Swedes apparently have a thing for hearts!
I spotted these fir "gnomes" for the first time last year....they are magical sitting out in a yard, at your entry, or at the edge of the woods for more mystique. These little creatures are fashioned from fir limbs and I'm so doing this next year in our North Carolina forest. Sometimes they even have a "face" made out of pine cones and nuts. I've decided gnomes look particularly dashing with a stocking hat but more whimsical with the simple felt ones and a little embroidery embellishment. I love the clusters of these little fellows standing guard.
.....and real reindeer - yes really.
as Anders would say
skål & God Jul!
see more Swedish inspiration on my
Holiday - Swedish Christmas Pinterest Board