The First Christmas

I love Christmas back home, the day before Christmas we all go out to shop, have a meal together and do the grocery. We prepare food for our Noche Buena that happens when the clock strikes 12 and in the morning, we travel to Simala Church to attend Christmas mass and say our prayers. This year, having moved to Sweden on September, I experienced the first of the many Christmas that I will be celebrating in my new home country.

The Swedish Christmas tradition is different from back home and here are a few of the things I noticed on my first December here.

  • Advent candles – They have 4 candles, each lit every Sunday of December until the 24th. Others have it as electric candles placed on their windows.
  • Advent star – Lit up star hanged by the windows.
  • Real Christmas trees – People buy Christmas trees, the real pine trees of course. My in-laws always have their tree for free from a friend who owns not one but three forests. It is hard to tell the difference from plastic by the way, they look the same until you see the real one in a pot with water to keep it alive.
  • Glögg – Mulled Wine. Heated and/or spiced red wine (usually). It can be with or without alcohol and is available in a liquor store. A friend had me try it in a party and it is quite good, not that I can finish a bottle but I managed to drink half a glass.
  • Julmust – A softdrink in Sweden that is only available to buy during Christmas and Easter, the closest way to describe it is it’s coca cola without the carbon. It is a special drink.
  • Pepparkakor – These are ginger bread cookies that is only sold during the Christmas season, so far my favorite is from the brand Nyåkers.
  • Home Baking – A lot of Swede’s bake cakes and pastries before the Christmas day to give out to friends and relatives. My mother in law used to bake 18 fruit cakes using her recipe from Germany but this year she felt old and baked only 3. The fruitcakes are delicious!
  • Santa Lucia – Celebrated on the 13th of December every year in mostly schools and churches. Read more here.

On the 24th, we went to my in-laws home to have our Christmas dinner and giving of gifts. I have never received so much Christmas gifts! My parents in-law have always been kind and take care of me and my husband is just an amazing guy. I am feeling so lucky to have a family who loves me just as much as my family back home.. I hope you had a Merry Christmas!

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The Gumbschs’ first Christmas together

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