Friday, January 6, 2012

My Childhood Christmas In Sweden -- At The End Of The Season Children Plunder Their Trees

From the Huntington Hotel, Pasadena, CA -- Much larger than those we "robbed."

I forgot I was going to post about how Christmas ended for a child in mid-20th century Sweden. This is a an edited copy of part of a post from 2010.  Oh, what fun it was during my childhood when I got to go to parties at my friend's homes where we children would plunder the Christmas trees. This was called julgransplundring. Epiphany, also called trettondags jul (13 days after Christmas) in Sweden, is observed as a holiday there on January 6. Between  this day and something called 20-day Knut we would be invited to these parties. (Each day in the Swedish calendar has a name assigned and the name day of Knut falls 20 days after Christmas.)  In Sweden, 20-day Knut is the formal end of the Christmas holiday season. Or so it was when I was a child there. Sort of backwards from here where it begins at Thanksgiving and ends at Christmas. Upon our arrival at our friend's home we would find the Christmas tree dressed anew with fresh candies and cookies. There was something called, smaellkarameller, a  tube with candies inside, wrapped in silk paper with frilly ends that hung in the tree. You pulled each end and it went "bang" and all the candy fell out. All the children would dance around the tree, something called ring dance; eat, play games, and then set about robbing the tree of all the goodies. When the tree was empty, we would drag it outside and put it in the yard for the grownups to dispose of. And then we went home, happy with our loot of candies, cookies, nuts and a fruit or two in our goodies bags. Looking back, I think this was a lovely way for a child to say goodbye to Christmas, as it ended on a very high note indeed.  


  1. Very interesting--thanks for sharing. Kids love any time they can get candy or gifts for more than one night, like this & Hanukkah, where they get 8 nights of goodies.

  2. Delightful party! I felt I was there.

  3. I agree with you...that sounds like a marvelous way to end the season!

  4. Must have been fun for the children! I can almost hear it now!

  5. Edible ornaments. What a wonderful idea and so green.

  6. Dear Inger,
    What a lovely posting and memory. All this is new to me and I'm wondering if you know any children's story from Sweden that tells about a family and the holidays.

    One of my favorite Scandinavian stories as a child was "Snow Treasure" by Marie McSwigan. It takes place in Norway and is about how the children in a village there helped to smuggle gold out of their country during World War II.

    Sister Marian read us the story when I was in the eight grade in 1950. Later I bought my own copy and have reread it several times. Can you suggest a children's book about Sweden that I might enjoy?

    I'm sorry to have missed your blog for three weeks. I've had an infection and have been feeling poorly during that time so I've haven't been reading blogs or commenting.

    If you have one or more favorite postings that you'd like me to read, Inger, please let me know and I'll do so. For today, I'm simply visiting all the blogs I follow and commenting on the most recent post.

    One of the gifts of 2011 was getting to know you and being the recipient of your great generosity with regard to Dulcy's book. I will never forget your review of it and your posting on Amazon. You are a true friend to Dulcy and me.

    Peace as ever and always in the new year.

  7. What a wonderful tradition, Inger. Yes, it was a lovely way to bid adieu to a tree that brought much pleasure. Now, please, your Louisiana stories! I know they're going to be great!

  8. This sounds like so much fun. Far more fun than my 'plundering' the tree in the next hour or so to denude it of its decorations!
    Do you think today's kids have as much fun as the kids of yore?!

  9. Some smart grownups to figure out how to get the kids to strip the tree and haul it outside. And what fun for the children! I can just picture this while reading your vivid words.

  10. Jag tar inte ner ljuststakar och ljusslingor förrän 20dag Knut faktiskt. Den traditionen håller jag på. Många har redan plockat bort juleljusen.

  11. This sounds like a wonderful way to end the season! Loved this post :)


Thanks for leaving a comment.. ~~ Inger


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