Stories from the Stringam Family Ranches of Southern Alberta

From the 50s and 60s to today . . .



Thursday, December 7, 2017

Christmas: Swedish Style!

Mother’s parents emigrated from Sweden in the early part of the 20th century.
These are the Swedish/Canadian Christmas customs passed on to their family . . .

From Uncle Roy:
Preparation for Christmas began quite some time before the day.
Lutfisk and herring were ordered early. Lutefisk—cod cured in a lye (sodium hydroxide) solution—was bought tightly packed in a wooden box. It did not require refrigeration, though detractors felt that its smell and texture might have been improved by this practice.
Whole herring (Sill in Swedish) was cured in brine and was available in wooden pails about a half-gallon in size.
Several weeks before Christmas, Mama would fillet the herring, cut it into bite-sized pieces, and store them in vinegar with chopped onions, cucumber pickles, dill and cloves—delicious!
Roll mops of today, approximate Sill but do not equal its favour.
Mama also prepared large quantities of several kinds of Swedish cookies, fruit cake, special breads and cinnamon buns.
About a week before Christmas, Papa bought a spruce tree in Duchess or Brooks. There were no native evergreens on the prairie where we lived. We set the tree up in the living room and decorated it with ornaments, ribbons and real candles (although they were never lit for fear of fire).
Of course, Santa Claus brought the presents. We began to suspect that Santa had some help when large parcels arrived from Eaton’s via the mail train. After school, we brought these parcels home but we never saw them opened. They were whisked into the parlor which was out of bounds with the doors closed for a month of more before Christmas. Papa would sequester himself in the parlor for a day or two before Christmas, engaged in some mysterious activity.

Tomorrow Christmas Eve, Swedish style.

This is the BIG ONE!
And I need your help . . .
Daughter of Ishmael is up for the big award: Book of the year!
I need your vote!
It's simple and REALLY effective.
Thank you! Thank you! Thank you!
http://whitneyawards.com/nominate/

4 comments:

  1. So sweet. Both my grandparents were Swedish so some of your memories, especially eating herring, are very similiar.

    ReplyDelete
  2. Hooray for Christmas traditions. And memories. Good luck with Daughter of Ishmael. Off to vote.

    ReplyDelete

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