So at last it had come around, the most longed-for day of the year, Christmas Eve! Every Swede has a Christmas Tradition of some sort, they either start with a light or heavy breakfast depending on when the “julbord” Christmas smörgåsbord is served. There are 3 main things happening on Christmas Eve 1. Julboard 2. Donald Duck 3. Open Presents.
Some folks have their julbord before Donald Duck and some do it afterwards. Many start their big Christmas smörgåsbord around noon. Everything has to be included on the julbord, nothing can be forgotten. I think the julbord on Christmas Eve is as close as we Swedes get to the American Thanksgiving Dinner. On Thanksgiving it is important to have the entire accompaniment for the turkey on the table and all the family gathered around. That is the way with Christmas Eve in Sweden and the julbord.
Then the second thing, at three o’clock everyone, adults included, sit down in front of the TV. For those that have never been to Sweden on Christmas Eve, the whole country comes to a standstill at three in the afternoon. That is when they show Donald Duck on TV, a traditional that dates back some 30 years. The same Disney excerpts are shown every year, including Jiminy Cricket, the chipmunks, Cinderella, Lady and the Tramp, Santa’s workshop, Ferdinand the Bull sniffing at his cork oak (my favorite), and Mickey Mouse on holiday.
After four o’clock Sweden returns to normal and the Swedish people go on with their Christmas celebrations. The third most important part is Santa’s visit. He comes walking with a sack and a lantern. He comes through the door (not the chimney) and asks if there are any good children around. Once Santa left you could start opening your gifts.
Merry Christmas! God Jul!
Soft Gingerbread “Mjuk Pepparkaka”
Yield: 1 loaf | Prep Time: 20 minutes
5 Tbsp (75g) butter
1 1/3 cup (3 dl) sugar
1 1/3 cup (3 dl) all purpose flour
1 tsp baking power
2/3 cup (1 ½ dl) sour cream or crème fraiche
1 tbsp cinnamon
1 tsp ground cloves
1 tsp cardamom
Turn on the over to 350F.
Whip the eggs with the sugar until mixed well. Pour in the flour, baking powder and cinnamon, cloves and cardamom. Mix well and then pour in the sour cream or crème fraiche. Pour into a buttered bread form.
Bake for 45 minutes.
Swedish Christmas Series:
“Julbord” Christmas smörgåsbord Recipes:
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