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Getting into the Christmas spirit

Getting into that special Christmas feeling you are used to is not always easy when you’re living abroad, but it is still possible.

Here are some ideas from some of our members:
How do you keep a Swedish Christmas feeling in Asia?

19 DECEMBER, 2019

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Conny Jakobsson, Elos Medtech, Beijing

“To foster the Christmas feeling here in Beijing, we open the numbered chocolate advent calendar every day until Christmas, decorate our rooms with Santas and are enjoying the aroma of newly heated Swedish glögg (mulled wine), made by herbs from Sweden. On Christmas Eve, we’ll prepare Swedish meatballs, egg with Kalles Kaviar on top, Swedish herring and perhaps add a snaps (aquavit) to that. Our Christmas tree is decorated, hopefully with a few presents under it that has my name on it.”

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Elsa Gullberg, H&M, Shanghai

“During my first years in Shanghai, I put up Christmas decorations, made gingerbread houses and had advent fika with my friends. But I’m getting lazier and do less every year. Christmas markets are also a great way to get into the spirit here in Shanghai.”

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Björn Odenbro, Azelio (Beijing) New Energy Technology

“As Christmas is for the children, the best way to retain its spirit is to preserve it for them – something that takes a conscious effort in a place where it is not part of the culture. We begin right after Thanksgiving by putting up lights around the apartment (and my son’s Lego Town). Then we put up a fake Christmas tree to the sounds of beautiful Christmas tunes by Nat King Cole, before finally hanging the socks for Santa to deposit small gifts that will be gleefully collected in the morning of Christmas Eve.”

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Elisabeth Lindström-Dupui, Sandvik Coromant, Beijing

“An absolute must during Christmas for me is candles and some sort of red Santa (I have a foldable wooden one, which has accompanied us on many trips). For sure, a glittery Christmas tree is amazing, as well as having the house filled with Christmas songs, and Swedish Christmast food (Jansson’s Temptation, ham, pickled herring with potatoes), while the warm light from a set of candles leads my thoughts to hope and happiness. Family and friends sharing this happiness over a warm glögg and laughter is the ultimate Christmas feeling for me.”

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Nelly Måtar, student, Shanghai

“Three ways in which I keep a Swedish Christmas feeling in Asia are first of all going to IKEA, buying all the Swedish snacks you can get like gingerbread and glögg, and having a cosy night at home in front of the Christmas tree. The second way is to walk the streets of Shanghai with Christmas lights – for example, Nanjing Road. And the third way is attending Christmas events together with fellow Nordics.”

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Carl Jevring, Seventy Agency, Shanghai

“Normally I return to Sweden in December but this year I will stay in Shanghai. I’ve decorated the home in Shanghai, playing Christmas music and watching the Swedish TV show ‘Julkalendern’ every day through the app. My father will spend Christmas here with us so I have asked him to bring some typical Swedish items such as glögg and homemade saffron buns, but I will also visit shops in Shanghai that sell Swedish food, such as Scandic Foods and IKEA. They’re life savers!”

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Viktor Sandstedt, Inceptua Group, Shanghai

“Keeping a Swedish Christmas feeling can be difficult when you are stationed far away from home. Luckily, Shanghai offers a wide selection of Christmas markets and other festive events. And to put the icing on the cake, there’s always IKEA, which is a source for everything from glögg to pepparkakor (gingerbread cookies), ensuring a Swedish touch to the celebrations.”

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Eva Bostam, Consulate General of Sweden in Hong Kong and Macau

“We focus on the core things such as baking pepparkakor together, putting up the advent candelabra and of course watching the advent calendar on Swedish TV. But the best way to get into that Swedish Christmas feeling is to watch the annual Lucia celebrations at St John’s Cathedral in Hong Kong.”

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Anna Reje, Consulate General of Sweden, Shanghai

“I’ve celebrated Christmas in Asia quite a few times and I think the small things around Christmas become more important here than back home. That means the joy of finding gingerbread cookies and glögg in a small store when you are on the other side of the world. Invite your friends over for advent fika (coffee break] with glögg to give them a taste of Swedish Christmas. Nothing gives you more of the Christmas feeling than sharing it with someone!”

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Patrik Ågren, OSM Group, Hong Kong

“Your best friend for establishing the right Swedish Christmas feeling in Hong Kong would be to order a Christmas tree from the christmastree.hk website – they carry The Classic Premium Nordmann. Despite being German, it’s as close as it gets. Your second stop would naturally be IKEA to stock up on the Swedish Christmas goodies they carry for the holidays. Last but not least open your windows and door to chill your house down for the right feeling and don’t forget to order the ‘fake snow in a can’ from Amazon and apply in strategic locations.”