Shane’s Swedish Christmas Day

As I mentioned in the previous blog post, the Swedes do Christmas on the 24th December.

White Christmas

White Christmas

We did get a light dusting of snow which always adds to the occasion. These were taken in the North of Stockholm, it’s a lovely setting I think.

cimg1728We were due to go and see more of Miss Palins family in Linköping, which I was looking forward to but my neck was not much better so I decided to bale out and go home to rest.


I had debated about whether to post the next photo. Its a bit like ‘Er In Doors’ in my favourite British comedy Minder, you never get to see her which makes her more mysterioys.

Ah what the hell I write about her often enough, here is Miss Palin….scroll down.


Sorry only kidding, there is a reason why I call her Sarah Palin, I am not going to divulge it on here but she hates her, which makes it even more funnier!

Anyway here we are….


Tomorrow we are off to Bandy! Now this is exciting I have never been to a game before, I have been told to wrap up warm!  Of course I will take some photos!


Shanes Swedish Christmas Eve

Swedish Christmas Tree

Swedish Christmas Tree

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.

Christmas Donald Duck -Kalle Anke

Christmas Donald Duck -Kalle Anke

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.

Jansson's Temptation - minus the fish!

Jansson's Temptation - minus the fish!

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!

Swedish Christmas Cheeses

Swedish Christmas Cheeses

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.

Christmas Presents -Julklappar

Christmas Presents -Julklappar

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?

Shanes Swedish Christmas

Swedish Christmas

Swedish Christmas

I will try and give you a peek at some of my Swedish Christmas experiences.  The above photo is my table right now.  The hamper is from Taylors and Jones, its a gift for Ms Palins’ sister and brother in law where I am spending julafton. Its stuffed full of British goodies.

You will also notice the Y Fenni cheese, yes a whole wheel, well it is Christmas. This also comes courteousy of the guys at Taylors and Jones. I also picked up some cheddar made with glögg (Swedish mulled wine.) There is a bottle of Glögg, a small amount of malt Auchentoshan,

Also you can spot a Christmas card from Iron Maiden. I joined the Iron Maiden Fan Club after seeing them play live this year, it was a nice touch to get a Christmas card from them. OK the signatures were not the actual signatures but hey still a nice touch I thought. You will also notice my reading material, well one part of my reading material for the Christmas, Mike Huckabees ‘Do The Right Thing’.

Y Fenni Cheese

Y Fenni Cheese

God Jul – Merry Christmas from Sweden.

Walking a Hammarby wonderland!

Walking in a Hammarby wonderland!

I wont be posting as much as usual but I will be blogging sporadically over the holidays.  I dont go back to work until Jan 7th, bliss!  I am trying to get some quality time away from the computer.

I have a 4 kilo turkey to cook, a whole wheel of Y Fenni cheese to devour, Mike Huckabees ‘Do the Right Thing’ to read through, Rock Band 2 to drum to my hearts content, oh and Christmas with Ms Palins family in Stockholm.

This is a different kind of Christmas for me.  I usually use it as a chance to really wind down, catch up with DVDs, books, cd’s etc  This year of course its my first Swedish Christmas so it will be interesting, will be nice to catch a Christmas Bandy game as well!

To all my readers, both regulars and those who pop in from time to time, thank you for your support!

Lots of good blog posts planned for next year!


Record Breakers

Wow yesterday was a popular day, our most busiest to date.

We had 745 visitors in one day which is double the previous record. The last milestone was set when I wrote about my impressions of a game and the atmosphere at Hammarby Football Club.

I think yesterdays record demonstrates that people are really interested in a Swedish Christmas and Swedish Christmas words.

So if you have any more to add please let me know.

Swedish Christmas words

Apart from ‘God Jul’ many of the Swedish language books do not give a comprehensive Swedish vocabulary list for Christmas related words. I thought it would be fun to try and create the definite Christmas Swedish wordlist that we can all add to. Words that you may see or hear if you were to spend Christmas with a Swedish speaking family.

I have kicked it off with a list below that Ms Palin gave me and some of my own. I am sure there are many more out there. If you can think of any more Christmas related Swedish words please add it to the comments and I will update the main post with your contributions.

Sylta -jellied veal
Pölsa – ‘hash’ (not the kind some people smoke!)
Julskinka – Christmas Ham
Janssons frestelse – Sliced Herring, potato and onions baked in cream
Inlagd sill – pickled herring
Köttbullar – meatballs
Prinskorv – chipplota sausage
Grisfötter – pigs trotters
Edamerost – Edam Cheese
Sillsallad – herring salad – salad of pickled herring, beetroot and potatoes
Rödbetssallad – Beetrootsalad
Ål – eel
Lax – salmon
Gravad lax – raw, spiced salmon
Lutfisk – boiled ling fish
Dopp i grytan – lit. ‘dip in the kettle’, – bread dipped in the cooking juices of the ham.
Revbensspjäll – spare ribs
Risgrynsgröt – rice pudding
Ris a la Malta – Rice pudding with oranges.
Knäck – toffee
Ischoklad – ‘ice chocolate’ melted chocolate and cocoa butter
Mintkyssar – mint kisses
Pepparkakor – gingerbread
Mjuk pepparkaka -soft gingerbread
Fruktkaka – fruit cake
Lussebullar – saffron bun
Pepparkakshus -gingerbread house
Choklad – chocolate
Glögg – mulled wine served with raisins and almonds
Julöl – Christmas Beer
Porter – stout
Snaps -schnapps

Julklapp – Christmas gift
Lackstång -stick of sealing wax
Presentpapper – wrapping paper
Etiketter -gift tag

Julgran – Christmas Tree
Julgranskula – Christmas Tree Ball
Julgransbelysning – Christmas Tree lights
Stjärna – star
Spira – spire
Glitter – glitter
Julgransmatta –

Adventsljusstake – Advent calendar stick
Adventsstjärna – star shaped lanterns hung in windows over Christmas
Adventskalender – Advent Calendar

Julstjärna – Christmas Star (the one you put on a tree)
Hyacint – hyacinth
Julgrupp – pot of Christmas flowers
Vitmossa – reindeer moss

Jul – Christmas
Julafton- Christmas Eve
Julbak – Christmas baking
Julbock – Christmas goat (not a real one but made of straw)
Julbord – Christmas Buffet
Juldag – Christmas Day
Julferier – Christmas Holidays
Julfest – Christmas Party
Julglädje – Christmas cheer
Julgodis – Christmas sweets
Julgransplundring – Childrens party after Christmas where the kids strip the tree.

Julhandla – Christmas Shopping
Julklappsstrumpa – Christmas Stocking
Julkorg – Christmas Hamper
Julkort – Christmas Card
Julmarknad – Christmas Market
Julmust – Swedish Soft Drink brewed for Christmas

Julpsalm – Christmas Hymn
Julstäda – Christmas cleaning
Julsång – Christmas Carol

Dan före dan före dopparedan – the day before dipping day.(24th Dec)
Uttråkad -bored!
Packad – sloshed
Kalle Anke – Donald Duck. The same cartoon has been shown for year on Julafton.
bakis – to get a hangover
Jularmbåge – Christmas Elbow, what you get in the ribs when Christmas shopping!

And last but not least….Jultomte- father christmas, Santa Claus….

The Gingerbread House

At Christmas its customary for Swedish families to make a gingerbread house or whats called here pepparkakshus.

If you have stumbled onto this blog post in an attempt to find out how to make one then surf on elsewhere as ours was bit of a disaster.

In fairness, as Sarah says herself, she was responsible for it, I tried to offer support but I think the Swedish word is ‘envis’.

The House that Sarah Palin built

The House that Sarah Palin built

Anyway here is our ‘joint effort’.



Gingerbread House

Gingerbread House

Be interesting to see how next years turns out!  Seriously though Swedish families usually keep this until Christmas and then devour it.  My old man loves his ginger biscuits and would no doubt enjoy one of these!