The Friday Five: A Scandinavian Christmas

Vintage photo of my Mor Mor!

Astrid, Age 20

Friends, I want to introduce you to someone very special today.  She is 100% Swedish, grew up on the north-shore of Long Island, married a pastor and missionary, traveled the world and even lived in Vietnam during the war.  She can destroy crossword puzzles in one afternoon, loves all felines (especially her Ana), and says, “Bless her heart,” more than anyone you’ll ever meet (and she means it, too).  She is a prayer warrior with a heart the size of a football field, and the world is astronomically better for having her in it.

Her name is Astrid, but I know her as Mor Mor, which is Swedish for “Mother’s Mother.”  So, yes, this amazing woman is my grandmother!

My Mor Mor turned 90 this Wednesday.  Did you get that?  90!  Just a decade shy of a century, and if that doesn’t bear celebrating, I don’t know what does!

My sweet Mama even flew down for the festivities, and we threw a Swedish-themed birthday open house in her honor.  Of course, we had to serve some classic Swedish fare: Swedish meatballs with lingonberry jam, gingersnap cookies, and non-alcoholic Glögg!

Mor Mor's 90th Birthday!

I even spelled out a special birthday message for her using wholemeal KEX biscuits from IKEA.  It was a grand old time.

The Friday Five

The Friday Five: Inspiration for Your Weekend!

Well, in honor of my Mor Mor, this week’s Friday Five celebrates my Swedish heritage with a focus on favorite Scandinavian treats, crafts, and pastimes…especially around Christmastime.  Now, maybe your understanding of Swedish culture is based primarily on the Swedish Chef….

…but as someone who grew up celebrating St. Lucia Day and having a traditional Swedish Christmas meal, lutefisk and all, there’s a whole lot more to the nordic peoples than their accents!  And so, I hope you’ll enjoy the taste you’ll get with today’s collection of inspirational links.  (Though don’t get me wrong, the Swedish Chef still makes me chuckle.)

Before we dive in, I have to give a shout-out to my Mama who helped me put this post together!  She even started an “All Things Swedish & Scandinavian” board on Pinterest that we both started pinning to if you’re hungry for more Scandinavian inspiration after exploring the links below.

Okay, here we go: 5 inspirational links on Scandinavian Christmas with five word intros.

1.  Reminiscent of St. Lucia’s crown!

Handmade Advent Wreath by Tidy Tipsy

Handmade Advent Wreath by Tipsy Tidy

2.  Warm Glögg down your gullet.

Swedish Glögg by Offbeat & Inspired

Glögg: Scandinavian Mulled Wine by Offbeat & Inspired

{Might be yummy with some mulling spices from a Scandinavian recipe shared by yours truly…?}

3.  Interwoven felt hearts…with video!

4.  Life in IKEA is impossible.

{Spoof of the Gravity trailer.}

5.  Swedish dala, dala horse, y’all!


I’m looking forward to hearing if any of you have any Swedish or Scandinavian blood…besides my girl, Midsommarflicka, of course!  (She’s a blogger friend who happens to be doing a whole series right now on Nordic Advent, and you should check out her post on the difference between Glögg and Glühwein.)

Also, Thalita has something super duper spectacular going on over at The Learner Observer that you don’t want to miss.  Her extra long title says it all: The Hostess Gift Guide, The Friday Five & A Final Chance to Win $200.  So, whatcha waiting for?  Skiddaddle!

The Friday Five with The Thinking Closet & The Learner Observer

And in the words of the Swedes, God Jul!


Lovely comments so far...

  1. Awwwww!
    Yes, you were right! I love it! <3

    So fun to see you're thinking about the same things… Great minds and so, you know? ;)
    And also great to see some things here and on your pinterest boards that I will cover in my series in the next days and weeks until christmas! :)
    (And it reminded me that originally I wanted to ask you if you want to write a guest post in my series. But I totally forgot about writing the mails… But if you have time and like to – spontaneous?!

    Hugs to you, my lovely! And thanks for the link-love!

    Love, Midsommarflicka

  2. Karen Lewis says:

    It’s so nice and interesting to see what other cultures do for their holidays.
    The memories of growing up around my grandparents becomes so much clearer around Christmas time just like you’ve shown here. Thanks for sharing.
    I remember my first trip in the IKEA store in at the Robinson Town Center in Pittsburgh. I could see where I wanted to be but could not get there. And then on the way out, I found Heaven. The room where the discontinued and damaged goods are.

  3. Happy Birthday to Laura’s Mor Mor! What a fun and special day! loved reading about your Swedish roots and celebrations.

    • thethinkingcloset says:

      Aw, thank you, Linda! It makes it all the more special to be able to share about our celebration with sweet bloggy friends like you. Hope you are having a blessed holiday season!

    • thethinkingcloset says:

      P.S. Just came back from your blog, Linda, and saw your Google Hangout. Loved it! (Twas great to SEE and HEAR you, too!) I especially appreciated what you said about choosing 3 things to accomplish and considering it a success if you get those three things done. I’m going to have to try that! I have a feeling it will MAJORLY increase my productivity.

  4. Hi Lauren, Happy Birthday to your MorMor! It surely is a special occasion :)

  5. Happy Birthday to your sweet Mor Mor! My mom is Swedish making me half Swede. Sadly her parents passed before she married my dad so I never had a Swedish Mor Mor, though her older sister stepped in as a great replacement. We grew up with a fair amount of Swedish meatballs, and lefse and broiled fish with lots of butter for Christmas Eve. Thankfully my mom wasn’t fond of lutefisk, but my aunt served it on Christmas for her and her Norwegian husband. And there were always plenty of Scandinavian cookie choices for the holidays. I loved our Christmas dinners so much I frequently asked for lefse and fish for my birthday and my dear sweet mom quite often painstakenly prepared the homemade lefse for me. We didn’t have any other traditions other than going way overboard on the Christmas decorations, what I’ve learned is a common Scandinavian trait.

    • thethinkingcloset says:

      Diana, thanks for sharing about your Swedish ancestry! It’s neat to hear about all the Scandinavian elements you grew up with, as well. And I think you’re right: the Swedes love their Christmas decor! They don’t hold back, do they? ;-)

      Now you’ve got me hungry for lefse! (I should learn how to make it….) Hope you’re having a lovely weekend, Diana!

  6. Grattis to your mormor. I spent a year in Sweden and the Christmas season was amazing! Thanks for this post. It has sent me on a lovely trip down memory lane.

    • thethinkingcloset says:

      Al, I’m delighted to hear about your connection to Sweden! And that this post made you nostalgic! How cool is that? My Mor Mor and I thank you for your birthday wishes, too. Have a blessed Christmas season, k? K!

  7. I relished this post through and through. What a tribute to our dear Mor mor! I love your collage of the open house. And Mor mor’s picture (Pop pop’s favorite picture of her)! I was laughing out loud to the Swedish chef too…his gibberish is so over the top, it’s fantastic! And I had almost forgotten about glogg! Looking forward to enjoying it sometime this season. Maybe when you come home post-Christmas! p.s. Ana’s video is too much…you’re so right about her being torn between you filming and the catnip…two good choices!

    • thethinkingcloset says:

      Ha ha. It’s true! All that gibberish really is so silly – - it almost toes the line on offensive – - but I couldn’t help but include it and think of Uncle Roy and his imitations that made us laugh so hard as kids! Yes, looking forward to clinking together our glasses of Glogg this New Years with you! But you’ll need to clink one sooner than that…after your finals! (Are you near the finish line? Still praying.)

  8. Happy birthday dear Mor Mor! Love the advent wreath. Merry Christmas season. Lauren!

  9. Terri Hughes says:

    I love the picture of your grandmother when she was 20 years old. Beautiful woman and still is at 90. Happy Birthday Mor Mor!

  10. Love it! My great grandmother was Swedish (must be why we are friends). I have one of those horses from her that I just put out with my Christmas decorations. AND, I have a heart ornament from her that looks like that felt one. I had no idea that was a Swedish thing! Haha. I love that you threw your Mor Mor a Swedish-themed birthday! So cute!

    • thethinkingcloset says:

      Ha ha. Yes, that MUST be why we’re friends! Love that you have one of the dala horses! It’s so festive for Christmas, especially with its typically red color. And you have a weaving heart basket ornament? Get out! I’m lovin’ this connection we share!

  11. Fabulous! A very happy birthday to your grandmother :) A frequent visitor to Ikea, myself, I fell in love with the Scandinavian Christmas decor, and among the other delicious goodies, the Dryck Julmust.

    • thethinkingcloset says:

      Thanks for the well wishes, Raven! My Pop Pop shared this post her, so I’m sure she saw your sweet comment. And I haven’t yet tried the Dryck Julmust. Will have to get a bottle next time I stop by IKEA! Thanks for the rec!

  12. I love bringing history and tradition into the holidays. Great post!

    • thethinkingcloset says:

      Thanks, Jennifer! Yes, it adds such richness and anticipation to the holidays, doesn’t it? Hope your December is off to a fantastic start!

  13. I hope your Mor Mor had a wonderful birthday! And I love the old photo of her! Beautiful!
    I have a very limited knowledge of Scandinavian culture beyond Swedish Chef (who is my favorite Muppet, by the way); I am German through-and-through, but was a very happy 8-year-old girl once who received the Kirsten American Girl Doll for Christmas, complete with her St. Lucia outfit!

    • thethinkingcloset says:

      Thanks, Emily! Isn’t she beautiful? That’s my Pop Pop’s favorite photo of her…and it’s clear why!

      I, too, had the Kirsten American Girl Doll! And used her St. Lucia crown on St. Lucia Day when I’d bring my family breakfast (I loathed the early morning rise…but still, it was fun to get in on that Swedish rite of passage for the eldest daughter). Still have that doll somewhere in a box…just waiting for the someday when there might be a little girl around who might be happy to receive one, too.

  14. Marie Karlsson says:

    Grattis till Mormor. Happy Birthday! nice to see. You have some 100% swedish followers as well :-) even if I live i Switzerland for the moment. keep up your nice blog.

    Best Wishes Marie

    • thethinkingcloset says:

      Yay! I’m delighted to hear I have 100% Swedish followers, and I wish the distance between us wasn’t so great so that I could chat with you over coffee and cardamom bread! Thanks for the kind words and birthday wishes to my Mormor. And have a blessed holiday!

  15. Awwwwwww your Mor Mor is the sweetest!!!! As are you and your family for celebrating her so thoughtfully! I’m sure she was thrilled to have a Friday Five dedicated to her. which reminds me, ALL of these picks are amazing and I must have a dala horse. And some Glögg. YUM!

  16. This is a lovely post; one I have returned to several times and finally will comment on! It will be good to return to again and again. It was such fun to share the preparation of Astrid’s 90th Birthday Party with you and Mark and my dad! She really enjoyed her day, I believe! This post is a wonderful tribute to her and your Swedish heritage. The Swedish chef and IKEA videos are sad/scary yet hilarious to watch. The advent wreath is really pretty! So glad we created the All Things Swedish and Scandanavian Pinterest board. God Jul!

Your comments make my day!