Day Six: My North Shore Scandihoovian Christmas

Today, on day 6, I want to write out what a North Shore Scandinavian Christmas means to me. As I post this, I also want to mention that I completely understand that there are many different ways to celebrate the holiday season. No one way is better than the other! This is more of a personal post, much less to do with The Big Lake and our holiday offerings. It is a reflection on the season. You see, it has been such a hectic life these days, as a mother of two littles and starting a small business, that I found it very comforting to write down these thoughts on paper for myself, and now to you on the blog. I hope you enjoy!

 A couple weekends ago, at our Thanksgiving weekend pop-up, we wanted to provide a treat for shoppers that burst with all the Holiday feels. We served krumkake from my Great-Grandma Tofte’s recipe because, to my family, that is what makes Christmas, Christmas. Krumkake and Lefse put me more in the holiday spirit than Christmas music, candy canes and gingerbread men ever could! I love that you need two people to work the lefse station efficiently. It’s always my dad and I, every year. Thank goodness my younger brother never wanted to bud in, I would have taken some serious issue with that.

A North Shore Scandihoovian Christmas feels rich with security, familiarity, tradition and longevity. It feels like home. It feels like light in the darkest of winter. It feels so very good.

19th century Swedish Christmas card by Jenny Nyström

It also feels a bit... foreign. I mean, there is Nisse (Nis-ah). Nisse is this freaky looking little tomte that has been in my husband’s family for years. My mother-in-law gave it to us a few years back, as a gift to her grandpuppies. Nisse protects the animals of the home and she wanted our dogs, Finn & Olive, to have a holiday guardian. I have always loved this Nisse, and I have to admit I was a bit nervous that this year our 2 year old daughter Freja might be frightened of the goofy looking doll. As I lifted Nisse out of the box and slowly presented him to my daughter she SQUEALED with glee and ran off with her new best friend. Nisse used to live on our fireplace mantle, but now no more. That crazy looking tomte follows her EVERYWHERE. Nisse doesn’t scare her at all, he does, however, scare me when I notice he is perched on my dresser in the morning just as I wake up.

It was only just recently that I realized that a Nisse and a Tomte are the same thing. Which I found confusing because I thought a tomte and a gnome were one in the same. Apparently, I was wrong. A nisse, or tomte, lives near the homestead and looks over the animals and the farm, whereas the gnome lives in the forest. At Christmas time, when you bring warm rice pudding to the barn, or in our case the garage, you are leaving this goodness for the Nisse, not the regional gnomes. Good to know!

Regardless, gnomes will always still feel like Christmas to me as well :-)

There are so many other amazing aspects of the season that I would love to jot down for today’s post, but I already feel a little silly taking up a whole day just to talk about my own family traditions. Maybe I’ll post more next year. Until then, thank you for reading the whole post. I hope you comment below with some of your favorite holiday traditions. I would love to hear about them <3


Abby and The Big Lake Family


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