Ok, let’s be honest. When it comes to Christmas, Swedes are experts. These guys have scientifically examined and analyzed the whole concept of Christmas joy. They split it in magnificent parts of festive beauty, dreamy decoration and colorful fantasy, they put it all together again with a touch of hot chocolate with marshmallows, they shake it in the rhythm of carols, add some fairy dust and here we are! Our Swedish Christmas cocktail is ready. Bottoms up!It feels like they are preparing themselves and their cities during the whole year for these two blueberry sweet weeks. It feels like the whole country lives, dreams and patiently waits (yes, Swedish people have generally a lot of patient) for this time of year.
Everything is carefully organized to get everybody completely drunk of liters and liters of bubbly Christmas spirit. This is the rule. And here in Sweden we respect our rules (till death)!
This crazy Swedish Christmas spirit hits you instantly. Look outside your window in your apartment here in Gothenburg. What do you see? Exactly, millions of Christmas lights, tiny Santa Clauses and tinier elves, enormous Christmas trees with more Christmas lights, and admit it. You also bought Adventsljusstake (Advent wreath in English). Yes, yes. They are these beautiful candles that you can see in every Swedish window.
And then you decide to leave the apartment. That seems enough Christmas for today. But the smell of the pie that the neighbor is baking, hits you like a hurricane of berries, blueberries, strawberries, apples and who knows what else. The whole Sweden is baking and the whole Sweden smells like a gigantic pepparkaka (or gingerbread).
You try to resist the temptation. You are running to catch the tram but the snow stops you. And maybe for the Northerners snow is a usual situation. But ask the Southerners like myself. It’s like we are in a Christmas Disney movie. Snow can literally transform us to 4 years old. And I mean literally, snowmen with carrots for his nose, snow angels and everything.
But you finally escape and you are already in the tram (this berry smell is following me everywhere or is it from the guy who is sitting next to me with the Santa cap?).
You are going to the center. Really? This is the core of the feast. All city is in the streets. This is Christmas orgasm, my friend. And the storefronts – oh the Swedish storefronts – you have to buy something from each store just because of the amazing decoration in these God damn storefronts. And then you are in the mall. And before you even blink you have honey glazed almonds in one hand and berry (berry addiction obviously) tea with cinnamon in the other. And what about the sounds of violin from the loudspeakers? What about the caramelized apples? What about this amazing enormous tree in the middle with the amazing enormous red balls?
What about the guy who is sitting in front of you playing carols in different languages with his guitar? Give him some glazed almonds (and some money, its Christmas for crying out loud!) and admit it. Make peace with it. Nobody can escape from the Swedish Christmas spirit. But let’s be honest again. Who wants to?
Written by Ioanna Maragkoudaki
Photos by Anastasia Triantafyllou