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Adventide Scandinavian Style

For our third instalment of our Adventide series we welcome Birgitta Sif, Icelandic children’s author and mama of two girls. Birgitta and her family currently live in Cambridge, here in the UK and have a lovely mix of traditions they enjoy at this time of year. We’re so happy to share them with you here, make a cup of hot cocoa and enjoy!

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Our little family is originally from Iceland. However, we recently moved from Sweden to England and so we have a mix of Scandinavian traditions that we have taught our daughters. One of our favourite traditions that we have kept with us is the love for the outdoors.

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We go on walks and picnics, anytime of year. Now that it’s winter, the girls always wear a woollen vest and woollen tights under their clothes. It hasn’t been so cold here but if it is, we’ll grab some warm wool sweaters and snowsuits and bundle up. There’s the famous saying, there’s no such thing as bad weather, only bad clothing. And we try to install that in our girls. Coming from a cold country, if we stayed inside on cold days-we’d probably never go outside! For winter picnics we pack some hot cocoa, whipped cream, snacks and sometimes a craft or toys. It helps us all be together and slow down.
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At home this time of year for me, coming from Scandinavia, is all about lighting up the darkness and celebrating the winter. We decorate with lights around the house and a little tree. Even our little mouse house that the girls love to play with and decorate is lit up with a tree. We fill our house with the smell of cinnamon, ginger snaps, mandarins and Lussekatter, or saffron buns and the baking smells brings Jól home to us.

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An Icelandic tradition that I grew up with and have kept on with my girls is that 13 days before the 24th, the girls put their shoe out in the window. And each night on of our 13 Icelandic Jólasveinar, or Yule Lads, come and leave a little treat. If you’ve been good you get a mandarin and a little chocolate or if you’ve been naughty, a rotten potato. Thankfully, we’ve had no potatoes in our shoes! We celebrate Jól on the eve of the 24th of December and the warmth and magic has already filled our house, along with two excited little girls!  Gleðileg Jól from our family to yours!
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Happy Christmas x x x
Thank you Birgitta
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