I will be in Sweden for Christmas !

I don’t know about you, but as soon as Christmas gets closer, I feel myself being a child again. To be honest, I let my inner child express herself freely. Sorry ? That’s what I do all year long ?

This year will not be different.

Despite global warming, I can’t help thinking of snow and cold as Christmas weather. I dream of spending December 25th near a wood stove (which will be hard, since we live in an apartment), cuddled in a cosy blanket, with a wonderful hot tea and a good book. By the way, why do people say a « good » book ? No one picks a book for its boringness.

Ok. I have a sofa, a blanket (I even have dozens of those), and I have tea, too. As for books, I don’t lack them.

But there is one huge problem. What to choose to read myself away at Christmas, while quenching my thirst for refinement and delicacy ? What to choose, which is not too cuty-cuty, sweet and cheesy ? You see, my inner child is demanding. She is not naughty or rude. She knows what she likes.

Moreover, I dream of visiting Scandinavia and Iceland. One day, I will go for real.

Right now, I can’t, so I decided to travel without leaving my home. Would you like to come with me in Sweden ?

Yes ? OK, I grab my bag, and let’s go !

Please, pay attention : it is no ordinary bag. It was given to me by a Tomte, a Swedish elf, on a day I helped him. Maybe one day I will tell you about this story if you are good kids.

First, it can fit an incredible amount of things. It can contain every single thing that one needs, and the inside grows without the outside to grow accordingly. Convenient and nice, don’t you think so ?

Second, it can make appear exactly what is required for an amazing journey.

You are still doubtful, from what I can see ? Let’s see…

I asked it to prepare a journey to Sweden at Christmas time, and here is what it chose :

So, what do I have in my bag ?

A book of Christmas tales (Le livre de Noël, or The Christmas Book) by Selma Lagerlöf, the author, among many books, of The Wonderful Adventures of Nils Holgersson. She was a wonderful storyteller, using an elegant, refined, simple language. She mixed fantasy and reality, and made her readers know Sweden of her time (1858-1940). Just one thing : The Robin takes place at Easter, and I don’t understand why it was put in this book. Selma Lagerlöf disliked cheesiness : you will learn why Saint Lucy is revered in Sweden, how a skull can be a sign from God, and what happens on the New Year’s night for cattle. So, if you like well written fantastic stories, go for it !! From a much more mundane point of view, you will learn Swedish Christmas traditions.

Wait a minute !! What would be this book without some tea ? The ideal one : a Darjeeling tea, delicate, elegant and without frills, but tasty, of which you can taste the astringency under sweetness, drunk from a white porcelain teacup. The white tea cup will allow you to admire its golden orange hue.

Mais que serait ce recueil de contes sans un thé pour l’accompagner ? L’idéal : un thé de darjeeling, raffiné, délicat, élégant et sobre, mais non fade, et dont on sent l’astringence qui pointe sous la douceur, dans une tasse de porcelaine blanche qui met en valeur sa teinte orange doré. I know, Sweden is a coffee-addict land, not a tea-lover country. But my Tomte friend is of old British descent, and he was able to find THE perfect tea.

Oh, one more thing : don’t forget the candles, that bring much welcome light and warmth in this dark and cold season !!

Have you found the two Tomtes on the picture ? They are brothers, and very shy. I can say it took me hours to convince them to accept to be photographed, and only if I could give them many cardamom flavored cookies. (Tomtes love cardamom, just like most Swedes).

 

I have to go, my kettle is whistling, & my book is calling…

 

 

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