Latinos always ask me how I spend my Christmas, waiting to hear about Swedish holiday traditions. Swedes ask the same question, waiting for me to tell them about Argentine traditions. The boring truth is that I never really experienced either. Since we’re a mixed family, much of our traditions are mixed as well. We take our favorite dishes from both countries and just eat what we like—making up our own traditions as we go along. My amazing dad has grown very accustomed to Swedish traditions though, I must say. Although, in a very Argentine way, he often manages to go exaggerate them a bit.
Glögg (Mulled wine) is a typical warm drink we serve during Christmas (in our house it’s accompanied by a panetone that mi abuela prepares). It’s served with almonds, raisins, cinnamon sticks, and is pretty spicy. You can buy the spices mixed up in a little bag, conveniently labeled Glögg-mix, and my dad picks up several every Christmas. Thing is, the bags are supposed to be used for making Glögg, not to add to the one you buy. This won’t stop my dad from adding that little extra to our already spicy drinks. Result? Like drinking perfume that smells like Santa…
Sill (pickled herring) in countless forms is another Swedish tradition that my father has picked up on—unfortunately. I despise the stinky fish no matter what condiments you add to it, but my dad seems to enjoy them all and buys several jars every Christmas. This is something he enjoys doing when we have friends over from Argentina as well. They never like it, and so he ends up eating them all himself (which is what I’m thinking really was his plan all along).
Pepparkakor, what you call Ginger biscuits or Ginger snaps, seem to be mandatory at our house from October through December. We’ve even become so snobbish about it that we only buy the kind called King Oscar, convinced that they are better than the rest. Come Christmas, no one feels like eating pepparkakor anymore.
What are your Christmas traditions?
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