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'It often feels like Christmas in Sweden is only about presents'

The Local · 19 Dec 2011, 10:42

Published: 19 Dec 2011 10:42 GMT+01:00

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Our family has entirely too much stuff.

This fact comes to my attention a few times a year, usually prompting yet another trip to Ikea, looking for storage, “for now, until we can figure out what to get rid of.”

My current assessment of our overflowing household was prompted by the fact that Christmas is coming.

And there will be presents, lots of presents.

Presents that, strictly speaking, we don’t need.

Each of these presents will take up more space. Space that we don’t have, which will inevitably result in another trip to Ikea.

Around Christmas time, I feel pulled in two directions.

On one hand, as my children, whom we’ll call ‘Erik’ and ‘Gabrielle’, carefully write their Christmas lists, I get caught up in their excitement and want (I’ll admit it) to give them what they want.

On the other hand, our kids really don’t need any more Ninjago toys. Or dinosaurs. Or, my personal favorite, “an owl with a leaf in a tree.”

Our kids don’t need anything. Or, rather, anything they need won’t come wrapped under the Christmas tree.

I want our family to be part of something more meaningful around Christmas; however, I struggle with finding a balance now that we’re in Sweden.

It doesn’t seem like people spend more than a day or two with their extended families during the holidays around here.

I don’t know of anywhere our family can go together to donate presents or canned food to local families in need. We’re not particularly religious, so we don’t spend time at church.

We used to go to the San Francisco Zoo to meet Santa’s reindeer, but the only reindeer I’ve seen around Stockholm come in sausage form. In other words, moving to Sweden has meant that we’ve lost a lot of the traditions that make Christmas more than presents.

And it’s hard to get the kids’ little minds off of presents when the subject of Christmas comes up.

Especially when Erik writes his Christmas list at school. In a country where getting a large pile of Christmas gifts seems to be a birthright. In a country where we’re all supposed to be doing things the same way.

Take, for example, December 1st at Erik’s school. We hadn’t even made it through the door to Erik’s class before the Advent calendar talk started.

“I got a robber in my Lego calendar. What did you get?”

“The football card calendars were sold out, so I got the Star Wars one.”

Another girl says with a funny smile, “My parents tried to find an Advent calendar for me last night, but they were all sold out. Even the TV one.”

All sold out?

“They cost so much money,” a mom quietly laments to me.

“One for each kid plus the TV calendar.”

“’Well, kids,’” I quip, “’no more presents this year.’”

We both laugh.

Because we both know this would never happen. And we both know that, despite complaints, we’ll buy Advent calendars next year as well.

After all, it’s tradition.

I’ll admit this: we have four advent calendars at our house. For two kids.

Two years ago in the US, the kids didn’t even know what an Advent calendar was.

Not that this problem of Christmas consumption is uniquely Swedish. Not that Christmas isn’t all about buying in the US—it is.

We even have a special day dedicated to buying that makes headlines around the world, almost a national holiday for Christmas shopping: Black Friday.

Despite this, back in the US it just felt like there was less cultural pressure around Christmas buying, especially since a chunk of our kids’ friends didn’t even celebrate it.

Of course, it takes only one news program on rural Afghanistan or a day at my old job in a New York City public school to render all these quandaries ridiculous and absurd. What a disgustingly privileged problem to have too much stuff.

But how do I instill that kind of awareness into my kids without sucking the joy out of Christmas?

My brother Robert has made more progress in this area than I have, I’ll admit.

Robert, a relentless opponent of wasteful consumerism, read and lived by a study that found that, for maximum pleasure and enjoyment each gift, a person should receive no more than… three gifts.

Just pause to imagine explaining this one to the grandparents.

He also refused to buy a trucked-in tree or Christmas decorations. However, even he broke down after a few years of pleas from his two kids.

My mom came and filled up the kids’ stockings with fun, completely unnecessary toys, and he got a tree. The tree was small and potted, and I don’t think it survived the intended transplant.

Still, both kids and adults seemed happy with the compromise.

So even Robert, a person who sticks to his principles, living in a community relatively free from the usual pressures of conformity and consumerism—he lives in Berkeley, California, an alternate universe where the only thing looked down upon is being a part of mainstream culture—even he has relaxed some of his standards and let consumerism into his front door.

Now, just imagine my brother moving into our storybook neighborhood here in Sweden, where every house, every single one, has Advent lights or stars glowing in the windows.

Story continues below…

Imagine the confusion when his kids explained to their classmates that they celebrate Christmas but won’t have a Christmas tree.

Because we don’t live in Berkeley. We live in Stockholm, where, last year, Erik’s friend and her three-year-old brother each got, among their many gifts (more than three each, I assure you), their own iPads.

Now, we’re not contemplating twin iPad purchases, but the standards are out there. Kids talk about these things.

Our family can make its own choices. And we do.

It’s just that I get a little tired of always being the one that does things differently. The only family in the entire lower elementary school that doesn’t attend the “fritids” after-school programmes.

The only family that dresses up as, say, Yoda or a crocodile instead of a skeleton or a witch for Halloween.

It would be nice to blend in, at least some of the time.

But I do have hope for reconciling Swedish and US Christmas traditions. I know we have more in common than just presents.

A nation that watches Karl-Bertil Jonssons Julafton every year must include other everyday parents that feel pulled by Christmas like I do.

So can we keep the flood of Christmas stuff at bay this year?

Can we find a niche that’s right for us, a comfortable blend of our family’s two identities?

Robert and his family are flying in from California to celebrate with us. I’m sure he will have some tips for me.

Rebecca Ahlfeldt is an American ex-pat writer, translator and editor currently based in Stockholm.

The Local (news@thelocal.se)

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Your comments about this article

15:52 December 19, 2011 by Hen3ry
Really odd article - doesn't ring true for me at all.

Everywhere has its faults, but to suggest that Sweden is anything other than one of the most family and tradition-oriented countries where Christmas is concerned is crazy. Perhaps the author is living in the wrong (gilded) part of Stockholm? And, perhaps, typical of an ex-pat not to look beyond the end of their nose when acquiring prejudices regarding the 'character' of another country.

I have yet to be pepper-sprayed while Christmas shopping, which seems to be US tradition. Much more likely in Stockholm to be offered pepparkakor.

Don't blame Sweden for your own rampant consumerism. You say yourself that you already have too much. Blocket.se can help. Perhaps find a local Red Cross outlet. Above all - look beyond your personal tax-avoiding gilded cage. There are plenty of people less fortunate than you living in the same city.
16:37 December 19, 2011 by Opinionfool
This is rich coming from an American in whose original country Christmas is nothing but a Hallmark season. All about conspicuous consumption never about the Christ-Mass.
17:33 December 19, 2011 by RiHo08
"How do I love thee? Let me count the way." Counting and love seem to be pretty ingrained in Western Culture if one were to judge by Elizabeth Barrett Browning living at the beginning of the 19th Century. Incense, gold and myrrh have been popular in the Christian tradition. I wonder how one expresses one's love to their child (children) other than in tangible symbols to which they can relate? A touch, a kind word, a word of caution, and then? what then? ...presents, a gift from you to them, with a smile. Counting is just what we do.
17:36 December 19, 2011 by Kralingen
I really enjoyed this article. I'm a Canadian from Toronto (a VERY multicultural city) and will likely be moving to Sweden in 2012. I knew it would be less multicultural and diverse but am surprised to hear that every child in your school in Stockholm (the biggest city!) and every house on your street celebrates Christmas - let alone celebrates the same way! Truly a different perspective.
19:11 December 19, 2011 by California Girl
The larger cities are quite multicultural. Nearly half of the kids in my kids' school are immigrants and/or children of immigrants from a wide variety of backgrounds and religions. Quite honestly, it sounds to me like the author lives in a very exclusive and homogeneous area. I also have to wonder just how much contact she actually has with Swedes, since my experience with Swedish people is that they spend an enormous amount of time with family over the Christmas break (or maybe the Swedes I know are different? And therefore even Swedish culture isn't as homogeneous as she'd like to think?)

Also, Ipads for 3 year olds? Seriously??? I've never heard of anything remotely like that! I can't say any of the kids at my kids' school has ever been particularly present made or boastful about what they got. Advent calendars are traditional throughout Europe, but they are hardly full of vast quantities of toys and are certainly not particularly expensive. I really have to wonder what sort of crowd she's hanging out with....or maybe we are hanging out with the wrong (poorer) sort of crowd ;-).
21:57 December 19, 2011 by Micaela
I do not live in Sweden but I have visited once and I do not see the Swedes as being especially materialistic people. They have lovely Christmas traditions and I think family is very important to them at Christmas time and other times of the year. The writer seems to be one of those people who thinks things are done much better "at home". Why not embrace the Swedish way and enjoy it if you are going to be living there.

Children do not need lots of things to make them happy and they do not have to what every other child has either. Buy them things that you would like them to have and they would enjoy and is within your budget and do not get carried away. Spend time with your children, not money.
01:35 December 20, 2011 by cattie
The fact that an american may find the Swedes they encounter to be more materialistic may be seem strange to those who have never immersed in the economic diversity of the USA. I share the authors sense of the rigid consumerism and conformity of Sweden.

Of course their are enclaves in the USA where higher income people who are just as interested as keeping up with the Joneses as the Swedes are in keeping up with the Svenssons.

For a parent it is easy to point out the poverty of your fellow americans and and it easier for a child to identify with a child in the same country. One can SHOW your child how lucky they are. How can a child feel lucky to get a toy or gadget EVERYONE gets? It is nice that this is not such a problem in Sweden, but it is harder to instill values of gratitude and generosity.
07:30 December 20, 2011 by California Girl
@Cattie: Naw, it's not that. I grew up in the U.S., actually very near Berkeley in a culturally diverse area. What the author describes bears very little resemblance to what I've seen of Christmas in Sweden, and I've lived here for over 10 years now. I've spent a lot of Christmases in the Bay Area and in Sweden, and was always shocked at the level of obsessive shopping that goes on in the U.S. during the Christmas season (not to mention the utter insanity of every parent frantically chasing down the "it" toy of the year). Sweden isn't even in the same class.

I could be wrong, but I rather suspect that poor people in the U.S, would prefer to have more secure food sources than soup kitchens and food banks, even if that meant depriving unfortunate middle-class children of the opportunity to learn just how lucky they are :-/.
09:39 December 20, 2011 by Lavaux
Very interesting reading; makes for an excellent anthropological study of the American Liberal Tribe. Being a born and bred member of the enemy tribe, Christmas for me is about celebrating Jesus' birth at church, Christmas plays and carols, celebrating our bounty with friends and family by feasting and exchanging gifts, and enjoying time off from school.

Now that I live in Sweden with seculars, Christmas is about other stuff, little of which is meaningful or memorable in its own right. In fact, lots of it is no fun at all for us parents, but the kids seem to like it because it's different, so we indulge them. After all, kids live superficially, life containing little more than what they're seeing and feeling at the moment. Adults are supposed to be deeper, however, and the ones I grew up with were, never imagining that they could invent a meaning for Christmas deeper than the original one. Well taught and following their example, neither did we kids.

So let's put secular heads together and invent a deeper meaning for Christmas. How about charity? Naaah, that's what the state is for, which is why it takes 2/3 of our income. How about time off work and school? Naaah, we already get plenty of that, and we like summer break better because the weather is nicer. How about spending time with friends and family to celebrate our bounty? Naaah, we can send presents in the mail, and the bounty is guaranteed by the state - it's a human right, not a blessing. How about celebrating cozyness? Naaah, we do that every Friday - haven't you heard of fredagsmys? How about bashing capitalism and consumerism? Naaah, we've got the Greens and the Left Party for that; no point dedicating Christmas to them, they've already got May Day.

Hmmm, seems you've got your work cut out for us. As for me, I'm sticking with what I know. Merry Christmas.
11:50 December 20, 2011 by Dr. Dillner
I think she is missing the reason for the season: Christ's birth.
11:58 December 20, 2011 by sarah02
Merry Christams... that's all :)
12:09 December 20, 2011 by spo10
Idk what environment she's in but not all Swedish are like that. Most Swedish parents I know are still celebrating Christmas in the traditional way. Yes, there are gifts but not those over-the-top ones. And I find them very supportive of their children, going together as family during Lucias and whatever activities in schools or in the daycare.
12:12 December 20, 2011 by Jes
Is there anybody who remembers that christmas is actually a religious celebration ?

When I see people who claim not to believe in GOD buying presents I fail to get it . It is like watching somebody who thinks it wrong to eat meat celebrating McDonalds day.
14:20 December 20, 2011 by BrittInSweden
@Dr. Dillner

Not everyone is religious and instead celebrates a family event and gift giving.

Personally I do not celebrate the life of someone/something that has no proof to ever have existed or happened other than that words in a book. Heck, Harry Potter doesn't have a holiday after him.

Instead I'll eat, drink and be merry.
16:02 December 20, 2011 by cogito
How can one who writes so poorly call herself a "writer and editor."

Only in Sweden....
20:54 December 20, 2011 by mjhopgoodswe
I am afraid I am going to have to jump on the article. Probably not as enthusiastically as the Black Friday shoppers would do.

According to Wikipedia:

Black Friday is the day following Thanksgiving Day in the United States, traditionally the beginning of the Christmas shopping season.

My guess is that by the time Christmas rolls around, Americans are knackered.

I'd be wanting a quiet Christmas at home with the family after that.

My problem with the Swedish obssesion with Christmas is that society here is by and large secular. There is no feeling of what Christmas is about from a religious point of view, but traditions must be upheld. May as well call it Winterfest or some politically correct term.
21:11 December 20, 2011 by skogsbo
cogito, only on the local do you get writers and editors of this standard.

I think she lives in another world, that or she dreams up difference and then tries to substantiate a story around them. Apart from some fashion and perhaps mobile phones, Swedes are average much less materialistic or consumer driven that the US or the UK. A Swede value xmas family time, like they value their summer holidays in their stuga with family.. in the US/UK it is gadgets and propaganda driven, the lastest movie merchandise, whatever kids programme have been created with a whole new list of toys, a zillion cookery programme convincing folk to over spend.

So far we have made pepper kaker of ever possible shape known, collect out trees from the forest, made a ginger brean house.... no mass spending there.
21:55 December 20, 2011 by dizzymoe33
My brother and I had to share the Advent calendar every year I would get the odd days because Christmas is my birthday and he would get the even days. It worked out just fine. For Christmas we received new socks, underwear, pj's and one set of a new outfit and one toy each. We only ever received gifts on special occasions like Christmas, birthdays, and Easter that is it. There was no buying everything in site all year round and that is what the problem is now-days everyone wants it all right now!!! So what is the point of having holidays when you no longer have to wait for them to receive your special gift?!!! Time to forget about the gifts and just enjoy the time with your family and friends over a good meal. That is what is important in life. Maybe then people will appreciate things more.
23:04 December 20, 2011 by Willy
The author obviously lives in the bubble of an upper-middle-class keeping-up-with-the-Svenssons Stockholm suburb. You simply cannot draw any conclusions for Sweden as a whole from that. I'm the first one to criticize the exaggerations about "child poverty" that are thrown around, but iPads for three year olds, come on, that is certainly not typical.
23:07 December 20, 2011 by StockholmSam
Good grief. What is with the one-sentence paragraph structure here? Can the author not construct a single, proper paragraph?
23:20 December 20, 2011 by Dr. Dillner

Using your criteria, then Genghis Khan did not exist because he is just, "words in a book."

I will pray that one day you find Christianity. Until then, enjoy the season.
01:07 December 21, 2011 by Marc the Texan
As someone who has spent a few Christmases in Sweden, there is no way that I buy into the idea that Sweden has greater Christmas consumerism than the US. Swedes also get more time off for Christmas than Americans and I don't think they spend any less time with their families.

Donate presents or canned food to families in need? The need is much less in Sweden than in the US. Swedes pay more in marginal tax rates than Americans proportionately donate to charities. And in Sweden the government does the charity work. So on the whole, Swedes are probably proportionately more generous than Americans. The welfare state is the biggest charity of all. You don't find the same poverty in Sweden as you do in the US, it doesn't exist.
09:30 December 21, 2011 by Grokh
Of course xmax is about gifts but also about family and food and a time off for some fun and good time.

this is starting to sound like the usual fox news war on christmas crap...

well Christmas was an assimilated pagan celebration , much like a huge percentage of everything else Christians copied from other previous religions.

In most if not all languages the name christ is not connected to the celebration.

Face it bible freaks you are all celebrating a pagan ritual, enjoy it and keep your religion to yourself and let everyone enjoy the holidays
11:28 December 21, 2011 by salalah
Bla bla bla bla bla bla bla bla.... Happy Hanukka!
15:16 December 21, 2011 by Johno
Just checked that this is the daft female who wrote the truly idiotic and mis-informed article about swearing in Sweden. Check that one out and compare it with here. Editor. Write an article on Swedish Christmas. Daft female, I will do my best. And this is her best.
18:13 December 21, 2011 by J Jack
The pepper spray incident was on Black Friday, the day after Thanksgiving, not Christmas shopping. (and it was California which is a State that is hung up on political correctness, like Sweden).
18:28 December 21, 2011 by Hen3ry
Evidently, J Jack, you missed the irony...

For me (or anyone else) to suggest that pepper spray is a routine experience of Christmas shopping in the USA is about as dumb as suggesting that all Swedish 3-year olds will receive an iPad this Christmas. The original article is embedded in a colossal degree of ignorance, which I can only attribute to an extremely narrow experience of Swedish life and culture.

As for the previous article about swearing... for the author not to have noticed the "skit" is an everyday word (even used by the council in posters referring to the management of sewage) suggests that we're getting some pretty narrow-minded reflections on ex-pat life.
22:10 December 21, 2011 by wbs
Let me get this straight.....the author laments that donating food or presents to the poor is not easy to do in Sweden, yet during her many Ikea runs for storage boxes she could not stop into a local church and find out where she could donate food or presents regardless of whether or not she is religious? Even more, couldn't she have picked up the phone and called a church to find out where she could donate items?

23:10 December 21, 2011 by Dr. Dillner
Now this was a real intelligent offering of @Salalah

"11:28 December 21, 2011 by salalah

Bla bla bla bla bla bla bla bla.... Happy Hanukka! "
23:30 December 21, 2011 by bloor west
The writer's experiences may not apply to Sweden as a whole, but I think she's pretty bang on for Stockholm. Yes, there are less affluent parts of the city, but come on: whether you live in Kungsholmen, Östermalm, Vasastan, Bromma, Danderyd, etc., etc., you have a homogeneous, upper-class population that likes to spend money on their kids! Some of the comments here make it sound like this writer's economic situation is out of the ordinary! And I agree there is a kind of odd Christmas feeling in Sweden. There are, of course, family traditions, but I agree there generally this holiday doesn't go beyond presents and julbord. I suppose it is precisely because Sweden's government does the charity work, and also because one has to almost feel embarassed (in my neighbourhoods, anyway) to admit that he believes in God and even goes to church now and then. The writer may be living in a bubble, but lord knows she is, by far, not the only one!!
08:44 December 22, 2011 by Indressa
Coming from the UK, I do not think that Sweden is more wrapped up in consumerism that other leading economies in the world! I agree with some of the people here, Swedish people have some lovely christmas traditions. Yes, everyone does the same thing ever year, and there is not much deviation from the norm and it can get quite boring, and you stick out like a very sore thumb of you do something different and think differently, but there are many other things that are great here. And the samey-sameyness is another issue.

I'm not British so I have on outsiders view of consumer culture in the UK, and in Sweden and have always though that the US (based on what you see and read) is and often has been represented as a credit card culture and where shopping is what people do. The pioneers of retail therapy, really.
09:27 December 22, 2011 by skogsbo
xmas is not really a religious celebration is in an amalgamation of upteen different things, that different groups try to claim as theirs. Half the origins are pure consumerism. But who cares, just buy, make or cook what you can afford and enjoy the time with family & friends. The writer is clearly skint and desperately created this non news article to try and get her fee paid before Xmas, so her little darlings can have their ipads, so sad. From the posts above the only person succumbing to xmas consumerism is her.
15:52 December 23, 2011 by Emerentia
"the only reindeer I've seen around Stockholm come in sausage form."

You live in Stockholm, have kids, and have never heard of Skansen? It's an open air museum and zoo on the island of Djurgården in the central of Sweden. If you want to donate stuff, you could go to Stadsmissionen eller Myrorna (Salvation army), not food though. There are lot of activities for children during schoolbreaks, check out http://www.barnguiden.com for exemples
16:06 December 23, 2011 by iostra
I'm an American exactly from the same place this woman is from as stated in the article: San Francisco.

Looks like this woman is wanting a reason to blame on her bad parenting, because guess what? It's actually pretty rare for people in San Francisco to spend Christmas time around their extended family too. (Mostly because no one in San Francisco is from San Francisco anymore these days, everyone has moved here from somewhere else)

...So I'm not exactly sure what this woman is complaining about other than her children have turned into spoiled brats and she doesn't have her in-laws there to discipline them instead.

San Francisco is interesting in the fact that everyone who has been here too long is quite materialistic while pretending not to be, so I'm willing to bet she's the one who has changed, not the people or her children.
16:55 December 23, 2011 by Emerentia

I wrote "Djurgården in the central of Sweden", I'm sorry, i mean "central of Stockholm",
17:53 December 23, 2011 by Jools33
I've lived in the UK (Swansea, London, Aberdeen), US (Chicago, Minneapolis) - and now Sweden (Uppsala) - and I have to say that I find the US has the most consumer oriented Christmas, then the UK and Sweden is certainly slowly following the US lead - but is nowhere near as materialistic. Perhaps you should move from Stockholm to Uppsala for a more traditional version of Christmas.
20:10 December 24, 2011 by Value
@Dr. Dillner You are a wonderful person, and I completely agree with you. Have a merry Christmas and a happy and successful new year.
21:35 December 24, 2011 by Svensksmith
It is what you make it. Have a wonderful Christmas, Hannuka, or whatever it is you celebrate. Spend time with your family and friends.
04:41 December 25, 2011 by GlennSigtuna
What a stupid attempt at self righteous values. If you don't like giving and the spirit of Christmas, then down a bottle or two of glogg sleep with your bad attitude!
17:53 December 25, 2011 by Kimmage
It is Christmas yes we buy too much and most of it is crap and will fall apart but who cares they get that magical moment for that day and the following weeks there after until they are tired of their them.

The toys do not last but the childhood memories do. Think as kid and not as an adult.

It is all about memories and not feckin' storgage space for toys.

Buy Buy Buy

18:02 December 25, 2011 by Dan in Halmstad
Rebecca, my wife and I moved this past summer back to her hometown of Halmstad. I just celebrated my first Swedish Christmas (on the 24th!) and you can see how different it was from the typical American Christmas at www.movingtosweden.org. There are tons of things about Swedish Christmas that have zilch to do with consumerism. Of course, I lived in Berkeley during my college years and am still loyal to the People's Republic. I wanted to experience all the Swedish Christmas traditions starting with Advent and moving on to Lucia, candle and wreath making, julbord, glögg, skinny dipping in the sea on julafton (saw it but did not participate myself--I'm not insane yet), Kalle Anka and Karl Bertil's Julafton. Note that NONE of this has to do with presents. I even got up early and attended julotta just to top it off. Relax, church in Sweden is a traditional thing. It won't hurt you or your kids to go into one. They seem like pretty secular institutions now. Christmas is what YOU make it and I have found a lot more here in Sweden to make something of it besides presents. Try it next year and see.
12:08 December 26, 2011 by svenska24.com
Nowdays people spent to much time on not really important things. Christmas shall be more then just eating, shopping, drinking and so on. Try out to fell the spirit of Christmas time with your family, friends.

Happy New Year !!
20:23 December 26, 2011 by goatgirl
An American complaining about rampant consumerism in a country she's moved to only recently. I love it!! This woman is quickly becoming my favorite thing about The Local!!! Delusional self absorbed ramblings make the best Christmas presents!!
09:48 December 27, 2011 by ehune
A lot of people seem to complain that the Swedish forget what Christmas is really about and mention a religious figure, thereby forgetting the traditions which existed long before Christianity came to Northern Europe (where many of the current American Xmas traditions were originally based, especially "Santa Claus"/"Father Christmas"/"Kris Kindle").

I don't see much of the mentioned rampant consumerism in Sweden, on the times I visit my home country from abroad. This Xmas I'm staying in the country two weeks, and have time for family and friends, and also notice many others who take 10-15 days around this period to visit family/friends in Sweden even though having a "normal life" in other countries. Living outside Sweden almost 8 years (in Denmark, the US, UK and now Malta), I would still say Sweden is the least consumerist of the countries I have lived in - although my Danish niece did get an extreme amount of gifts this year...
16:21 January 25, 2012 by jwlundgren
I know this is well after christmas , but I agree with Jes. Watching Swedes who do not believe in Christ put up stars that are supposed to remind you of the star of Bethlehem, and candlesticks that resemble jewish menorahs is hilarious to me. I think tradition for the sake of tradition is stupid when it has lost its original meaning. If you take the joy of the birth of Christ out of Christmas, however it go started, all you have is presents to look forward to.
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Are we just going to let half the country die?
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Why you should 'grab a chair' on Stockholm's tech scene
Angry elk chases Swede up a lamp post
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Swedish for programmers: 'It changed my life'
The Local Voices
'Alienation in Sweden feels better: I find myself a stranger among scores of aliens'
People-watching: October 20th
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Top 7 tips to help you learn Swedish
The Local Voices
A layover at Qatar airport brought this Swedish-Kenyan couple together - now they're heading for marriage
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‘Extremism can't be defeated on the battlefield alone’
Swede punches clown that scared his grandmother
Fans throw flares and enter pitch in Swedish football riot
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Stockholm: creating solutions to global challenges
Could Swedish blood test solve 'Making a Murderer'?
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Why you should 'grab a chair' on Stockholm's tech scene
Property of the week: Linnéstaden, Gothenburg
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Where is the Swedish music industry heading?
Swedish school to build gender neutral changing room
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One expat's strategy for making friends in Stockholm
People-watching: October 14th-16th
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Nordic fashion in focus at Stockholm University
Man in Sweden assaulted by clowns with broken bottle
Nobel Prize 2016: Literature
Watch the man who discovered Bob Dylan react to his Nobel Prize win
Record numbers emigrating from Sweden
People-watching: October 12th
The Local Voices
'Swedish startups should embrace newcomers' talents - there's nothing to fear'
How far right are the Sweden Democrats?
Property of the week: Triangeln, Malmö
Sweden unveils Europe's first elk hut
The Local Voices
Syria's White Helmets: The Nobel Peace Prize would have meant a lot, but pulling a child from rubble is the greatest reward
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