Swedish Meatballs and Memories of Christmas Past

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i heart elves in a store display. stockholm, sweden.

I miss Christmas.

Of course, Christmas exists, in some form or another, in most of the world, including Australia. But celebrating Christmas in the middle of summer just doesn’t feel the same to me.

I miss the darkness and the chill. The way snow glitters by moon beam or street lamp. The crunch of boot heels against crispy, fresh snow. The warmth of hot cocoa. The snap and crackle of a golden-tongued wood fire in the hearth. The way frost streaks and swirls across windowpanes, unique as a thumbprint. The symbolism of light being brought into the darkest of times, and the way that symbolism is made literal by the blaze of Christmas lights during winter solstice.

I also miss all the things that I probably shouldn’t. The childish things about Christmas. The thrill of being given presents that are too fancy or too frivolous to get any other time of the year. The happiness of finding a gift that you know is just perfect for someone. (I won’t dwell on the pressure when you can’t think of a thing to get your friends. That, at least, I don’t miss.)

I miss the nutmeg and the eggnog, the spicy scent of fresh pine, and red-ribboned wreaths that decorate doors. Going into the woods to chop down an evergreen, and then bringing it back home to dress in bright silver ropes of tinsel and delicate glass baubles. The lavishness of Christmas window displays! Oh, the ones in the fancy stores are SO GOOD.

This is why I was so happy last year to spend the days leading up to Christmas in Stockholm, where all the old world traditions of a European Christmas are in clear evidence. Even the traditions which are not normally my own — say, eating wild boar meatballs accompanied by lingonberry compote in a restaurant lit by candles — lent themselves to my romantic Christmas fantasies.

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christmas market beneath the tall buildings of stockholm’s old town.

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the heart of a christmas market booth.

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i could live here. in stockholm, sure. but also HERE here, inside this gingerbread house.

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outdoor ice skating rink.

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festive altar at the aptly named church of saint nicholas.

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beautiful, stark nativity at church of saint nicholas.

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this deliciousness at the restaurant ‘meatballs for the people.’

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busy elves in christmas display.

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children peering into christmas display.

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all about the details: santa’s beard is adorned with candy sprinkles.

Then after getting our Christmas fix, Liam and I flew to Bangkok on Christmas eve. Because that is how we roll. Also, pro-tip: Airfare is a soooo much cheaper when you’re willing to fly on major holidays.

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christmas eve in the airport. plus, matchy-matchy scandinavian sweaters.

 

 

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