December 15, 2008

Traditions


Only 11 days left till Christmas! Wow, hardly seems possible. We found an exceptional bargain on an 8ft Christmas tree at the farm on Saturday- $25. It's beautifully decorated and smells soooo good. I am going to take pictures later when I get the rest of the ornaments made. The homemade ornaments turned out very well and my husband really got into it :)

I was going to share some Christmas traditions that we as a family have started doing. My husband is half Swedish; his father is full blood and his great grandfather came to America from Finland, but is originally from Sweden. Thus the reason our last name is Sundholm.

This is so cool to me, because I have no idea where my family came from- the records were burned in the courthouses of Tennessee during the Civil War, so we don't know how to trace it back. Being the kind of person I am, I feel it's important to incorporate the past into the present. Although we're an American family, I think it's important for us to remember where we came from too.

So, in Sweden, the tradition is to have a large feast called smorgasbord on Christmas Eve. Last year I started that tradition in our little family on a much scaled down level :) This year, my husband's parents will be here for Christmas, so this gives us even more cause to celebrate the Swedish heritage. One thing I did is with our real tree, I used all of my imported decorations from Sweden, little straw snowflakes, gnomes, hearts and horses trimmed with red ribbons. The rest of the ornaments are red, white and gold or brown.

Traditional smorgasbord has lots of things I can't find here- pickled herring, lingonberries, special cheeses etc. So I will do what I can with what I have. I happen to have a nice cookbook that has recipes in it contributed from Swedish families, so they are 'real' ones. Swedes mostly eat rye bread, so that is on the list. Here is what I am planning to make.

Breads- homemade rye bread- this has molasses in it and is quite tasty and very dark in color. I may also make some sweeter bread in Christmas shapes called saffron buns.

Cheese- usually mild ones like Havarti with caraway or muenster, but I will include some sharp cheddar because we like it so much.

Summer sausage from the store.

Pickles- homemade ones, plus maybe some pickled onions and beets

Swedish meatballs- this are very yummy and have allspice and nutmeg in them, which gives it a unique flavor. I almost never have enough gravy, so last year I put some cream of mushroom soup in and it worked great.

Christmas ham- still undecided if I will do this, depends on prices :) To be served with coarse mustard

Janssons' Temptation- a potato gratin dish or small boiled red potatoes served with onion butter

Homemade cranberry sauce, instead of lingonberries

some other vegetable, like green peas or something for color

Rice pudding- generally you hide a whole almond in it and whoever finds it will be married next, but that doesn't really apply to any of us :) Plus I don't want the kids to choke on an almond.

Christmas cookies, other sweets and coffee

Homemade eggnog and spiced wine


I also have a deep fried whole turkey in my freezer, so we may have that instead of ham since it's just sitting there :) The only problem is I don't have a big table to hold it all, so we'll use the island in the kitchen.

I will probably make the bread and freeze it and possibly do the same with the meatballs. Everything else is either storebought or fairly simple to assemble on Christmas Eve. Then I will prepare a nice breakfast on Christmas morning, and that evening will be nachos :)

Next week I will be baking up a storm!!! Lots of cookies and candy to make and I am making chocolate covered cherries this week as gifts.

Lots of work I know, but someday my girls will be able to assist me and they will have lovely memories of our Christmas Eve tradition.

1 comment:

ElleBee said...

I too love traditions. I think it's great that you've taken a traditional Scandinavian Smorgasbord and adapted it a bit for your family.