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A nice Christmas evening

This year we decided to spend the Christmas holidays at our home in Västerås. The day after Christmas we were invited to a Swedish home of two friends outside Stockholm. We have already had a couple of such “Christmas meals” during our time in Sweden but this one was so typical but also so unique that made me put together a post! First, I should say that the people we visited used to live in a communal house sharing from their space to furniture and food with each other and with people outside their community that needed help. They raised children in such an environment and apparently developed some very nice relationships so they gather and celebrate Christmas together 25 years after they left the communal lifestyle.

The dinner itself started with some Glögg the traditional Christmas drink that is served by the litres in Sweden at this time. Homemade apple juice was also served to the the non-drinking ones... (drink and drive is not an option in Sweden!). Lighting plays an important role for the relaxed atmosphere and is always dimmed in a typical swedish home. Candles are placed everywhere from the entrance of the house (wind proof candles are often lit outside a Swedish homes when waiting for guests).

The stove was on in both the kitchen where Glögg was being prepared but also in the living room.

Despite the stereotypes the Swedes are quite laid back and definitely the most practical people I have met so far. The food on that day was basically left overs from the Christmas day.... but not in the way we would imagine. The food was warm and well presented on the kitchen table. First a warm mushroom soup was served (which unfortunately I could not try, but Vicky said it was great!). The table featured some typical Swedish meatballs, sausages, marinated seal, a left-over saffron potato salad, crispy bread with reindeer|cheese|fig jam, a freshly baked Christmas bread a green cabbage salad with raisins and apple, some exclusive cheeses and cooked ham with mustard all accompanied by beer or my favourite homemade apple juice.

Dining with the Swedes is an experience by itself. Discussions around the table are at low voice except from the singing part when the hosts join forces with guests to sing a typical Christmas song and wish each other loud as Greeks do!

After dinner one of the Guests put a CD of his newly recorded music in Johannesburg, S.Africa for us to listen. At the beginning I though it was an amateur recording... I was shocked by how well it was done. Next was our host who plays the bass in Jazz band (not for living!). He played a rhythm and one of the guest girls started singing a capella (practically) some sort of lounge piece. Oh what a voice and what a feeling in this cozy swedish cottage... more “amateur” music and discussion followed - Dimitris and Nikolas were obviously stunned and silent for the most part... what a great Christmas evening......

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