As the Christmas season has begun, I’d love to share how I enjoy celebrating my favorite holiday! Even though I’m not chilly weather’s #1 fan, I still find the upcoming holiday season to be the most beautiful and cozy time of year.
My husband and I, along with our four children, live in the woods north of Duluth. Typically, the day after Thanksgiving we head to the trails behind our home and scout out a Christmas tree. I have a soft spot for the sparse, crooked little trees. We try choosing one that may not flourish in its surroundings, or perhaps take the top off one that has recently fallen.
Handel’s Messiah plays in the background as we string the white lights. The kids then pick out their favorite ornaments to hang. If you peek at our tree, you’ll find an assortment of dala horses, tomtens, straw angels, wooden birds, and amazing macaroni masterpieces from their early school years. I get excited to take out some vintage Scandinavian décor which has been passed down to us, or we have thrifted through the years. The style of these items was not very beautiful to me as a child, but now nostalgia has turned them into my most favorite decorations.
When the tree is up, we try to keep most evenings lit only by the tree lights and fireplace. We have a basket of wool blankets to keep us warm and cozy. This is my favorite part of the season. It’s during these cozy moments, on blustery and cold days, that I know I wouldn’t want to spend my winter anywhere else.
My love for Duluth and northern Minnesota grows stronger by these moments each year. To add to the winter warmth, we enjoy adventures on skis or snowshoes. It’s fun exploring the animal tracks that can only be seen in the winter. When the snow conditions are right, we’ll have new snowmen friends in the yard. Coming back in the house with rosy cheeks and fresh air-filled lungs, hot chocolate or caramel steamers are typically on the menu.
And then there is the food! Thankfully, I have willing bakers excited to assist in the kitchen, especially when there is chocolate or frosting to be had. Tom and the kids are typically in charge of the cookies. I sign up for the taste-testing! While they’re in the kitchen rolling out sugar cookies, pouring fudge or making krumkake, I’m in charge of making the lefse and sneaking several of their delicious samples.
Scandinavians doing baking right!
With so many goodies to choose from during the holidays here are some of our favorite recipes:
You'll need a Krumkake iron.
(This recipe makes about 20.)
My FAVORITE Sugar Cookies
(This recipe makes about 40 cookies.)
1 1/2c. Powdered Sugar
1t. Vanilla Extract
1/2 t. Almond Extract
1t. Baking Soda
1t. Cream of Tartar
2 1/4c. Flour
Let dough sit in fridge for a minimum of 3 hours. Roll to 1/4" thickness and use cookie cutters or the top of a jar to cut cookie shapes.
Bake at 350* for 7-8 minutes.
Sugar Cookie Frosting
4-6c. Powdered Sugar
1/2t. Vanilla Extract
1/2t. Almond Extract
Add milk 1/2t. at a time until you get your desired consistency and food coloring if you'd like.
I dare you to try eat just one!
We hope you love these yummy Scandinavian inspired treats!
On Christmas Eve, we make a delicious meal. Everyone has a say on what they’d like to have. We eat by candlelight and watch as the kids try being patient as anticipation grows for the evening’s main event- gifts! Once they have handed them out, we start from youngest to oldest, opening one gift at a time. It’s important for us to see and acknowledge all the thoughts and kindness that went into each gift.
Afterwards, we snack on more cookies and treats and sit by light of the tree- thankful. What I want is for them to look back and remember a feeling of love, comfort and joy during their dark winter nights.
Kristen is an artist and surface pattern designer from Duluth, owner of Juniper Blue. Her work is inspired by nature and her Scandinavian heritage. She enjoys creating art and patterns with a modern Scandi-Folk vibe. You can find her Scandi Christmas wrapping paper, cards, and more in store today.
Add a little touch of Scandinavia to your Christmas traditions with Juniper Blue Design]s holiday line. We have her Holiday Dala Horse + Holly Wrapping Paper (only available in store.) And an adorable collection of Holiday tea towels
, perfect for moms stocking! And be sure to send out one of her adorable holiday cards