To me there are a few things that are a "must". The Christmas tree has to be real with mess and all :) You go to pick out the tree and spend hours finding the right one....either it's not straight or the branches are too skinny and will dip down when you hang the ornaments or it's simply really ugly. But that is the charm of it all, and once you get it decorated it makes you all warm and fuzzy inside even if it didn't have all the branches perfectly evenly spaced out.
In USA pretty much all the trees are "shaped" and have that perfect "Walt Disney tree shape"....you know the kinda tree Chip N Dale lived in, in the old Mickey Mouse Christmas movie from 1952.
I just love the old Disney movies by the way and still watch Pluto protect his Christmas tree every year :)
Well here in Sweden the trees are more natural so to speak, which means there is a whole lot of....well...less flattering looking trees out there. I have this memory from when I was a child...maybe 11 or 12 years old, and my dad just could not find a tree he was happy with, so he gave nature a helping hand....he drilled holes and put extra branches into the tree. I can't say I have gone that far, it's been close a couple of times though. Even if there is a side that's a bit uneven one can almost always get away with it by facing that side to the wall or corner.
Another thing I really wouldn't want to be without is ginger snaps. Here in Sweden they are very much a Christmas cookie and we call them "pepparkakor". And naturally there also has to be the gingerbread house. I almost always buy the ginger snaps though, it takes such a long time to make and you can buy really good ones in the store, meaning no photo ops of us making ginger snaps, but I found this picture at Fotoakuten they have lots of free pics to use.
Drinking "Glögg" is another very typical Swedish Christmas tradition. "Glögg" is mulled or spiced wine, but from my limited experience neither in England nor USA does it taste quite the same way as the kind I am used to. It's rather common to serve it with raisins and chopped hazelnuts or almonds. You put some of that in the warm "Glögg" and when you have finished you scope it up with a spone....yum!!
A yearly tradition is to make some Christmas crafts. I found these super cute and simple to make ornaments on Kissing Frogs Photography Props. Something you can make with kids all ages, older ones can use the glass ornaments and for the younger ones it's probably a good thing to go for the plastic ones. Anyone who has children most likely have either craft paint or finger paint at home, or....I imagine any white paint would work. Tiny pieces of fabric or felt and some markers for eyes, mouth and nose and voila......Super cute snowman ornament.
My granddaughter Victoria loves to draw and paint on her arms and hands, so she will really enjoy this project :)