Happy Winter Solstice!

Eero Järnefelt (1863-1937): 'Winter Sun'

Nowadays Yule denotes the Christmas holiday season. 
Examples include Jul (Sweden), Jul (Denmark), Jul (Norway), Jól (Iceland 
and the Faroe Islands), and Joulu (Finland)...but jul goes way back!. The events of Yule
are generally held to have centred on Midwinter (although specific dating is a matter of debate), 
and feasting, drinking, and sacrifice (blót) were involved. Scholars have connected the month 
event and Yule time period to the Wild Hunt (a ghostly procession in the winter sky), the god 
Odin, and increased supernatural activity, such as the aforementioned Wild Hunt and 
the increased activities of draugar - undead beings who walk the earth

by Carl Emil Doepler

Yule was an indigenous midwinter festival celebrated by the Germanic peoples
 The earliest references to it are in the form of month names, where the Yule-tide period 
lasts somewhere around two months in length, falling along the end of the modern calendar 
year between what is now mid-November and early January. Old Norse corpus also 
contains numerous references to an event by the Old Norse form of the name, jól

The Saga of Hákon the Good credits King Haakon I of Norway with the  
Christianization of Norway as well as rescheduling the date of Yule to coincide 
with Christian celebrations held at the time. The saga states that when Haakon arrived in 
Norway he was confirmed a Christian, but since the land was still altogether heathen and the 
people retained their pagan practices, Haakon hid his Christianity to receive the help of the 
'great chieftains'. In time, Haakon had a law passed establishing that Yule celebrations 
were to take place at the same time as the Christians celebrated Christmas, 'and at that 
time everyone was to have ale for the celebration with a measure of grain, or 
else pay fines, and had to keep the holiday while the ale lasted'

Yule had previously been celebrated for three nights from midwinter night, 
according to the saga. Haakon planned that when he had solidly established himself 
and held power over the whole country, he would then 'have the gospel preached'.
According to the saga, the result was that his popularity caused many to allow 
themselves to be baptised, and some people stopped making sacrifices


'The Dísablót', by August Malmström

A description of pagan Yule practices is provided:
'It was ancient custom that when sacrifice was to be made, all farmers were to come to the heathen temple and bring along with them the food they needed while the feast lasted. At this feast all were to take part of the drinking of ale. Also all kinds of livestock were killed in connection with it, horses also; and all the blood from them was called hlaut [ sacrificial blood ], and hlautbolli, the vessel holding the blood; and hlautteinar, the sacrificial twigs [aspergills]. These were fashioned like sprinklers, and with them were to be smeared all over with blood the pedestals of the idols and also the walls of the temple within and without; and likewise the men present were to be sprinkled with blood. But the meat of the animals was to be boiled and served as food at the banquet. Fires were to be lighted in the middle of the temple floor, and kettles hung over them. The sacrificial beaker was to be borne around the fire, and he who made the feast and was chieftain, was to bless the beaker as well as all the sacrificial meat'
The narrative continues that toasts were to be drunk. The first toast was to 
be drunk to Odin "for victory and power to the king", the second to the gods Njörðr 
and Freyr 'for good harvests and for peace', and thirdly a beaker was to be drunk to 
the king himself. In addition, toasts were drunk to the memory of departed 
kinsfolk. These were called 'minni [memorial toast]'

 These four magical symbol ceramic oval ornaments will add 
enchantment to your Yule tree this Winter Solstice. Clockwise from the top, 
these old symbols will bless your tree; Thor's Hammer, Vegviser 
Viking Compass, Vlaknut, and Aegishjamr/Helm of Awe

 Purchase the ornaments here:


Shopping in the snow...

Adina Sand

CL - Carl Larsson

Lars Jorde (1865–1939): 'The Market in Lillehammer', 

Inge Löök

Erkers Marie Persson

Curt Nyström-Stoopendaal

'Winter Day at Helsinki Market Square, Study', 1889 
 by Albert Gustaf Aristides Edelfelt (1854-1905)

Helge Artelius

Swedish halmkrona

Helfrid Selldin

Vintage Danish Christmas cards

 from 1924

Purchase the Christmas cards here

from 1924

Copenhagen City Hall

 Vintage Copenhagen City Hallpostcard
This card was part of a collection of postcards acquired by 
a young American couple who live in Copenhagen Denmark in the 
mid 1950s. It is signed in the lower left corner A.M.

Purchase it here: A Lot a Books'n'Stuff, Etsy

 A huge crowd gathered in 1954 when the tree was lit...
The tradition of the Christmas tree next to Copenhagen City Hall 
started in 1914. Exepct two years during World War II, a Christmas tree 
has spread cosiness and Christmas atmosphere in the 
City Hall Square every year since 1914...

Crocheted wings for Christmas angels

Instructions in Finnish at Novita

Knäck - Swedish Christmas toffee

 Knäck is a traditional Swedish toffee prepared at Christmas.
The name translates into 'break' and refers to its hard consistency.
Some prefer their knäck to be soft and chewy, which is easily attainable
by simmering the mix for a shorter time

Kikki.K shares this wonderful Swedish Christmas toffee 
recipe, Knäck, with us:
  • 1 1/4 cups sugar
  • 1 1/4 cups golden syrup
  • 1 1/4 cups thickened cream
  • 2 teaspoons butter
  • 40g chopped blanched almonds
Combine sugar, golden syrup, cream and butter in a 
heavy based saucepan; bring to the boil. 

Continue boiling on medium heat until a few drops of the mix 
poured into cold water can be rolled into a chewy or hard ball 

Add the almonds and pour the mixture into waxed 
paper cases and leave to cool. 

Finnish Christmas....

From 'Kotivinkki Joulu' - photo by Kaisa Rautaheimo


'Julträdet' and 'äpplastake' candle holders for Christmas

 The Swedish candle holder 'Julträdet' is decorated with apples and sweets. 
Julträden became popular while the Christmas tree made its way into many Swedish
homes, and it was regarded almost as a thing in between the Christmas tree and 'äpplastake'
- a candle holder with apples. In the past, the Christmas tree was usually ut on a table by a window
so it would be clearly visible even from outside. Throughout the weekend candles were lit every day
and the candlestick decorated with apples and sweets. The typical 'julträdet' has a foot consisting of
four horses, apple sticks and arms for the candle, On top sits a rooster, guarding the house.
Christmas apples as decoration was a luxery, and should occur throughout the holiday
season. This beautiful 'julträdet' is something to keep for many generations
 and an old tradition to pass on. The 'julträdet'  is hand-painted in 
beautiful colours, tuneful that contribute 
to a pleasant holiday spirit

Purchase this 'Julträdet' here: Fyrklövern

Please, go Blekinge Museum here and lean more about
the Christnas candle holders...and see photos

I've posted this Lars Carlsson postcard from 1950
before...but i've better do it again...

'Julträdet' from Småland, 1900-50
For sale here

The traditional 'äpplastake' by Helge Artelius

A warm winter glow...

Svend Svendsen (1864-1945): 'Glow from the Blacks'

Antti Favén (1882-1948): 'Morning in Helsinki'

Swedish matchbox label

Lennert Helje

Hans Gude 'Talveöhtu', 1847

Ljuskrona - from Sweden to the US

Helge Artelius

'Ljuskrona' is Swedish and means chandelier. The literal translation 
of the word is 'light crown'. The term is currently used to describe both the 
folk-art object itself and the Christmas traditions surrounding the creation of 
ljuskrona and their use. Originally found in Sweden during Jul, this tradition 
was brought to the United States by Swedish immigrants. Ljuskrona have 
been found among people of Scandinavian descent since the early 1800s

Ruth Milles  (1873-1941): Merry Christmas, 1908

The term ljuskrona has been used in the United States to describe 
both 'light crowns' (those candle holders that hang, or chandeliers) and ljustaken, 
'light stakes' (those that sit, candelabras). Technically ljuskrona hang and ljustaken sit. 
Some families refer to the paper-wrapped candle holders as julstaken, julkrona, jul tradet, or 
simply Swedish Christmas trees, regardless of whether the object sits or hangs. The type and 
colour of paper used appears to be a personal family decision, with some preference given 
to decisions made in previous years. Ten distinct styles have been found in the United 
States at present. There is some correlation with the style that was predominant in 
the area of Sweden from which the family originated. Four methods of cutting 
the paper are found in the United States, with variations such as 
curling, using pinking shears or cutting two colours together 
to give a variegated effect

by Carl Larsson (1853-1919)

Ljustaken on table...
A detail from Carl Larsson's 'Christmas Evening', 1904-05

Ljuskrona are taken from their hiding place on December 13, St. Lucia Day
At that time repairs or a complete rewrapping will take place. Usually the mother 
or oldest child teaches the younger ones how to 'decorate' the ljuskrona.The ljuskrona is 
put away on St. Knut's Day, January 13, as are all of the other Christmas 
decorations. Some rural families burn the Christmas tree that night

'After the Dance' by Carl Larsson

by Ruth Milles (1873-1941)

Reinhold Ljunggren (1920-2006)

Vinterutsikt - A Winter View [from the window...] Kjell Midthun

 Gnome and Woodchopper


Hej tomtegubbar...

Hej Tomtegubbar
illustrated by Maria Nilsson Thor

Hej, tomtegubbar, slå i glasen och låt oss lustiga vara!
Hej, tomtegubbar, slå i glasen och låt oss lustiga vara!
En liten tid vi leva här, med mycket möda och stort besvär.
Hej, tomtegubbar, slå i glasen och låt oss lustiga vara!

Gleðileg jól - Icelandic Christmas Village

The Christmas Village in downtown Hafnarfjörður - 15-20 minutes 
from down-town Reykjavík -  will stay open every weekend until Christmas.
The Christmas Village offers a wide selection of gifts, Christmas decorations 
and live musical performances are on the program, as well as the opportunity 
to meet Iceland’s very own Yuletide Lads, thirteen mischievous Santa’s who 
are said to bring gifts to good children for the thirteen nights preceding 
Christmas Day. Their mother is often seen in the neighbourhood

 For gift shopping, Hafnarfjörður has a large variety of shops 
 conveniently located in the compact centre of the town, adjacent to the 
Christmas Village, and a nice selection of excellent restaurants and 
 cafés. Plenty of four and five star hotels to be found nearby 
in town  and minutes away in Reykjavik...

Christmas tree from Applicata

Spruce up your home for the holidays with this Filigree Tree from Danish Applicata
The Filigree Tree can be used as a decorative Christmas tree in cramped spaces 
or to add some decorative holiday cheer throughout the house.  The Filigree 
tree can be disassembled and reused year after year. Available in beech,
black, and white and each in two sizes: 65 cm and 165 cm

Go here and shop: CPH de Luxe

Anne Charlotte Sjöberg (1864-1947)


Happy New Year