Since they don't celebrate Thanksgiving in Stockholm I felt like we could start celebrating Christmas earlier than we usually do. Plus I wanted to have all of our Christmas shopping done before we flew home on December 12th which meant I needed to get on the ball.
|Here are a few electric candelabras.|
|Here is our electric candelabra and a few Christmas presents we exchanged before we flew home.|
|We also bought a candelabra that can hold real candles.|
|The little guy sitting on this present is a Tomte (Swedish Santa Claus). This is a Christmas ornament but they also have bigger ones for decorations and I think they are pretty cute. Can anyone figure out what Jake wrote on my present?|
I am not a huge candle person, or at least I wasn't one until we moved. (I should really start making a list of things that I've started doing now that we've moved because other than some obvious things there are little things now and then that pop up that I wouldn't think about.) Everyone lights candles over here. I think they do it because it gets dark so early but also it helps warm up your apartment. We have lots of candles around the apartment (several that our landlord left for us to use) and when we light them our apartment warms up really quickly.
|Here is a picture of the downtown shopping area.|
Notice the red and white lights hanging above the main street. The building on the left is Åhlens which is the main, and really one of the only, department stores in Stockholm. It is nice but I wish there were more options sometimes. The street that I am looking down in the picture is one of the main shopping areas in Stockholm and the T on the right-hand side of the picture tells you that there is a metro stop. This stop is Central Station and is super busy but it was my ride home after shopping with my friend Lisa.
One of the things we wanted to experience this Christmas in Stockholm was a Christmas market. They have them in different parts of town but the one we decided to go to was at Skansen. Skansen is an outdoor, open air museum and zoo. They brought in different buildings from around the country that were built in different time periods to show you what life was like in Sweden (similar to Cow Town). We went to Skansen this summer when we visited Stockholm in June. When we were there this summer we went on June 21st which was our 5th wedding anniversary and Midsummer which is a huge holiday in Sweden. Here is a picture of us in June:
|June 21st, 2013|
|It was only a little bit busy :).|
After lunch we headed to Skansen. It was pretty chilly that day but we remembered that "there is no such things as bad weather, only bad clothing" and dressed for the outdoor museum, in Stockholm, in December.
|They had fire pits throughout Skansen.|
|Ice sculptures. They were selling the molds to make these.|
|Jake enjoying some ostkaka = ost means cheese and kaka is cake. Jake's family always has this at Christmas.|
I tried to upload a video of people dancing at Skansen but it didn't work. If you click on this link it should take you to the same video on youtube, http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ma6-s1YpNRQ.
|We went to a Christmas concert at this church in the afternoon while we were at Skansen.|
|Inside the church waiting for the concert to start.|
|Most of the concert was in Swedish but it was really pretty and warm in the church. I took a very short video but it wasn't very good. But there were other videos on youtube if you want to check those out.|
I went to another Christmas market in Gamla Stan (Old Town). It was very similar to the one at Skansen. They sold sausages, Christmas decorations, ornaments, candles, waffles, scarves, hats, etc.
|The Christmas Market in Gamla Stan.|
|We took an hour long boat ride to the castle. It was on the island in the archipelago.|
|Here is the Vaxholm Castle.|
|Jake enjoying some glögg and pepparkakor (glögg is hot, mulled wine and pepparkakor is a gingerbread cookie).|
|It had just snowed (the only snow we've had in Stockholm so far) which made it really pretty.|
Here was the buffet:
We weren't sure what to expect other than a buffet of traditional Christmas foods. After we went through and filled up our plates with fish, cold cuts, cheese and bread we looked around to see what others were doing. We weren't sure if there were different courses or if what was out was the whole buffet. We decided to ask one of the waitresses just to be sure. The waitress said that all of the food was out and then she told us the order most people go in. They usually start with the pickled herring, then move to the bread and cheese, fish, cold cuts and then the hot food. They would be bringing out the desserts later with coffee and tea (of course). So we went back through and filled up our plates again. The food was good but I was expecting more hot food. They did have meatballs and potatoes which were good.
|Jake ordered lutefisk which is a traditional dish of air-dried fish. It is supposed to smell pretty bad and not taste that great but Jake said it wasn't bad.|
|I definitely enjoyed the desserts.|
|We walked around the inside of the castle for a little bit and found other tables set up. I'm guessing on the weekends the whole place is full and this would be a really neat room to have dinner in with a large group.|
After dinner we decided to walk around the outside of the castle. It was a little bit chilly but not too bad.
|This was our view when we got off the boat. See the stars hanging in the window? Those are one kind you might see in windows around town.|
|This is the island of Vaxholm.|
|Jake is not a planner but I love that he plans fun things for us to do and convinces me to go along with it or else I would be missing out on so many cool adventures with him.|