So far so good! I was kindly invited to Ms P’s sister and brother in laws for julafton -Christmas Eve. This is the main day for Swedes, in England its time for turkey and presents on the 25th but the Swedes do it on the 24th.
I always thought it wierd that presents are given out on the evening of the 24th but actually I think it works better than the UK way of doing things. When we got up, we had a present each from the stocking. Ms P bought me a Bamse comic! Vad roligt! More on our friend Bamse in another post. Then we had coffee, lussebullar, gingerbread etc. Whilst the Brits get Her Majesty at 3pm the Swedes sit down to watch Donald Duck. Apparently there never used to be be many cartoons on Swedish tv so this was a big thing for most kids.
The cartoon hasnt changed either!! Of course with satellite and cable tv, there are 24 hour cartoon channels now so Kalle Anke and friends doesnt quite have the same appeal.
I have reported on the traditional Swedish dinner before – Julbord. This was the course I had to avoid. Usually Swedes do this in sittings and first of all they scoff the fish course.
This is the famous julskinka – Christmas ham. It was delicious, it has a lovely mustard coasting. Yum! Ms P’s mum also knocked up a blinding veggie pate, it was fantastic. I must ask her for the recipe.
Then we moved on from the cold meats to the warm stuff. I rather like Janssons Tempation, or Janssons frestelse as its known in Swedish. Its potatoes with cream and the fish version includes anchovies. Of course some nice sausages involved as well!
We finished off with bread, crackers and cheese. Yum!
After the meal, the family gave out presents. Ms Palin as ever the organiser, handed out a present to each which we had to open. Once that was done we then opened our presents.
My Christmas Presents. Didnt I do well!
Some unexpected presents for me from Miss Palins’ family. I was very lucky to receive some great books including ‘How Soccer Explains the World’ and ‘A History of Sweden by Herman Lindqvist.’ I am sure there are a few blog posts to come from that tome! I haven’t read a lot of Swedish history so I will be looking forward to that.
I also got an interesting looking Swedish DVD called Åshöjdens BK, its from a childrens book and is about a fictitious football club in Sweden. It was filmed and shown in the eighties. I am looking forward to watching it. Ms Palin says its good way for me to increase my Swedish football vocabulary which will be very useful if I start refereeing here in March.
I also got some skiing gloves, tartan scarf and socks and yes Sarah outdid herself and completely humbled me by buying me a Bjursås ski package and an overnight stay in the well thought of and traditional Dalarna Green Hotel.
I have never been skiing before. I am not sure if Sarah has got this for her to see how bad I will be, it will keep her in laughs for sometime. I guess its payback for me calling her Ms P!
The end of the day was seen in by a lovely drop of Scotch. A medicinal of course, unfortunately I had slept awkwardly the night before and my neck was giving me some real aggro.
So how do I rate a Swedish julafton with a British Christmas Day?
Of course, I missed the turkey but I have one from Taylors and Jones in my freezer so no loss there. I like the whole new experience, I guess thats why I decided to stay in Sverige. I actually like the way the day is organised. My experiences back home are one of complete deflation after dinner has been eaten. Back home the Brits tend to open their presents when they get up, then tuck into dinner and spend the rest of the day wallowing on the sofa watching the Christmas episode of Eastenders.
Naturally I will miss the obligatory James Bond film, especially now, I need to scrutinise Roger Moore’s skiing technique.
All in all a very enjoyable day, mainly because I, as a foreigner, was made very welcome by a Swedish family.
How did you enjoy Christmas Eve? Did you do anything different?