Every time I visit my Swedish family, I feel like I’m coming home. Is it odd that for most of my life I knew of them, but did not really know them, yet when I did meet them I right away felt like these are my sisters and brothers and an aunt who treats me like I grew up in her home?
My family in Sweden is the very best. They basically met me at the beginning of this year (last time they saw me was when I was just a kid; that was a lifetime ago) and yet I feel so at home when I’m with them.
I spent this Christmas in Sweden and it was wonderful. My aunt and my cousins made the most delicious dishes. Mostly Swedish, but some Polish ones as well, because my Swedish cousin married a guy from Poland. So I got my fix of herring, pierogi and barszcz!
The desserts did not disappoint either. A princess cake, Swedish warm cheesecake and the rice porridge, Risgrynsgröt. Everything was so good, I get hungry just looking at these pictures.
Swedish Yule celebration isn’t just about food, of course. In addition to eating (and drinking), we exchanged gifts by playing julklappsleken, a Swedish version of the white elephant.
In this game, you roll a dice and if you roll a one or a six you choose a gift from a pile of mystery gifts (these are provided by all who participate). Once the pile is depleted you then proceed to take away other people’s gifts.
At first, I thought this was a very un-Scandinavian game. What if some people end up with no gifts while others end up with a whole pile?! But that’s not how it worked out. Playing for a certain amount of time (we played for 15 min) ensures that eventually everyone rolls the dice in their favor. When taking away other people’s gifts, we were sure to take from those who had too many. Very Scandinavian, indeed.
One of the best things about moving to Denmark has been reconnecting with my family. Poland is now much closer and Sweden is just a train ride away.
My cousin Camilla decided that now would be a good time for us to start working on our family tree. I’m so glad we did! Our family is vast and complicated, but it starts to make more sense once put down on paper.
God Jul everyone! It was not a white Christmas (like it was in Seattle!!), but still hoping for snow in the New Year.