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My Swedish Habits That Sometimes “Clash” with the American Way of Living

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Being from Sweden, now living in the US there are a few habits my family – husband, and kids -had to get used to. Well, my kids think all these habits are “normal” since they grew up with it. It has been, somewhat, an adjustment for my husband when it comes to a few things though.

The Food We Enjoy Eating

Herring in a mustard sauce, smoked salmon, and caviar in a tube. These are all foods that we enjoy eating in our house. Believe it or not, the caviar in a tube is now one of my husband’s favorites.

Candy like the salt licorice, I usually get to keep to myself. The kids do love the small Ahlgren’s marshmallow cars, and any kind of Scandinavian chocolate.

I like to slice my cheese. It makes me a little crazy when my husband has to carve into it cutting off big chunks. As a Swede, I like to use my cheese slicer and slice my cheese in thin slices.

Outdoor Habits

Scandinavians love being outside. In all kinds of weather, rain or snow, we dress appropriately and go out. In Sweden we even have a saying for it; ”there is no bad weather, only bad clothing.”

Like the one time, I took my young daughter on a walk in her stroller. It was cold, and the snow was coming down pretty heavy. Ohio in the winter can be snowy and cold, but it was a beautiful day.  I was out walking, well dressed. My daughter was warm and cozy, sleeping in her stroller.

We enjoyed our walk, but I had people stopping and checking on me. They were sticking their heads out from their car, asking if I was ok. Wondering if I needed a ride back to the house. In Scandinavia, you will see parents out walking their young kids in all kinds of weather.

Christmas Traditions

Santa at Your HouseOur “big day” to celebrate Christmas, is Christmas Eve. For most Swedes, the celebration starts with watching Donald Duck at 3 pm, a tradition since 1960. We watch cartoons, drink Glögg and eat gingerbread cookies. The kids start getting excited about Santa Clause’s arrival.

Santa or one of his elves will show up at our house to spend a little time with us. He also helps hand out the Christmas gifts. A tradition my kids are excitingly looking forward to every Christmas Eve.

For dinner, we have a traditional smorgasbord, called “julbord.” On the “Julbord” you will find ham, ribs, meatballs, herring and smoked salmon. You will also find local specialties, depending on what part of Sweden or Scandinavia you are from.

With the meal, we drink “Julmust.” It is a soda drink, something in-between Coca-Cola and Root Beer.  This holiday drink is only available in the stores around Christmas and Easter.

For dessert, we have “julgröt” rice pudding. Now, I must say that most my American friends and family have adjusted, to our “Julbord” tradition. They still have a little hard time with Santa, or one of his elves, actually showing up at our house.

Eurovision Song Contest – Melodifestivalen

Eurovision Song ContestEvery year, there is an ongoing party around “Melodifestivalen.” This is a music competition leading up to the Eurovision Song Contest final. This International music competition has been around since 1956, making it one of the world’s longest running TV shows. Each competing country sends their representative. Representing your country in the Eurovision song contest is a big honor. Music wonders like ABBA and Celine Dion have won the competition.

Each country has different ways of picking their contestant that will represent them. Sweden has numerous competitions leading up to the big “Melodifestival” final. The Swedish “Melodifestivalen” winner will represent the country in the Eurovision Song Contest.

Watching these shows is something me and my kid’s love, ask my husband about it and he is not overly excited about it.

Swedes Love to Travel

Love for TravelEvery year most Swedes take a vacation either within the country or abroad. Swedes love to travel. As long as I can remember, vacation-time and family-time was always a priority. That stuck with me, and today I like to take my own family on trips. We go back to Sweden frequently. I have to go back and soak in the natural beauty, the open landscapes, and the unique Swedish atmosphere.

If you haven’t been to Scandinavia yet, I highly recommend a visit. The rich history and the culture, along with the natural beauty and modern architecture, makes for a fun and exciting vacation. Friendly, English speaking Scandinavians make the trip even better.

If you are ready to find out more about Scandinavia or to book your travels, you can contact us here.

If you have any questions, please leave them in the comment section below, and I will be happy to answer them.

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