Julstämning – the Swedish word that doesn’t really have an equivalent in English. Christmas Spirit according to google, but it’s more than that – it’s a whole mood.Holiday mood, also according to Google, or festive spirit, or Christmas atmosphere – but none of those really capture the magic that is julstämning.
Julstämning is the mood your in when you feel Yule in your soul, in your being. It is the magic of festive lights, of glitter and baubles, of old carols sung for centuries, of the traditions of people who went before you. Eating Christmas porridge, seeing people being happy, hearing church bells at 6 a.m. Decorating the tree and lighting the candles. Listening to Jussi Björling singing ”O, Helga Natt”.
It’s what everyone aspires to at Christmas, an elusive mood that can only be experienced in the here and now, and is often not available for everyone because of the circumstances. But it still lingers as a sort of ideal to aspire to. A bit of hygge, but yule specific.
I hope we all get some of this julstämning this Christmas!
Here’s what I do when I want to craft something last minute, but still have all the fun of creating something from scratch – I decorate match boxes!
They’re the perfect size for a last minute Christmas gift, don’t take up much space and are the perfect utilitarian gift this time of year. I did these together with my daughter, who had lots of fun cutting scraps of paper and gluing sequins.
If you want to be really fancy you can gift these along with wax dipped pine cones as fire starters. It’s also super easy to do – just melt old candles in a jar in boiling water, or on low heat and dip the pine cones in the wax! You can dip them several times if you like, just for the look of it, but once is enough for fire starting.
I love taking pictures of our Christmas ornaments! There’s just something so festive about all the colors, the glitter, the all over celebratory feeling that surrounds them. This year I only got to watch the ornaments, because the kids decorated both our trees by themselves!
It feels odd to have kids that are soon old enough to be leaving the home. Also nice to have three almost adults in the house, cooking dinner, baking every other day, helping cleaning up and running the house, and overall being so responsible and fun to be around. And also decorating the trees! I just need to sit there and watch and listen to Christmas music and enjoy myself, and feel like a very lucky person indeed!
I haven’t always been able to have traditional Christmas scents at our home because of allergies, but you can add some magic through sound as well! There is something magical about the sound of tinkling bells at Christmastime. When I was little I used to pretend a tomtenisse had walked by when a bell jingled, and some of that feeling still exists somewhere for me. Here are some easy DIY:s using jinglebells:
Acorn bells are the perfect mix of whimsy and magic. Go pick some acorn caps, dry them and glue jingle bells to the inside.
If you have a lot of bells you can add them to a sturdy piece of metal wire, turn them into a wreath and hang them on a door. Makes for a lovely jingle whenever someone walks through the door.
You can also add your bells to the decorations you make. Make decorations out of self-hardening clay with a cut out for a jingle bell.
Me and my family live smack in the middle of the most cozy part of Pargas, Gamla Malmen – the old town. We usually have a Christmas Market in our neighborhood, which is so much fun to both attend and participate in! Last year it was cancelled, but now it’s back and this year I’ve got a couple of teenagers in my family who want to sell their own gingerbread cookies, have a lottery (two big gift baskets as a prize!) and have friends who also want to sell their dog biscuits and other cookies.
I’ll be selling this beauty:
And this year is extra special for me, because for the first time I’m selling my paintings!
Come by our house at Finnbergsgatan 13 between 12 – 16 if you want to buy a cow friend, a nutcracker or a penguin.
Or just for a chat – we’d love to have you! The kids are exited, I am exited, the Christmas music is already playing – we’re ready for the coziest Christmas Market to start!
(Our house is about 40 meters to the right from the big number 10 on the map)
This is one of my favorite Christmas DIY:s! Instead of packaging gifts in paper that gets tossed out, I sewed us a bunch of pretty bags that we can reuse for years to come.
I got to repurpose a lot of preloved materials, which also made my heart a bit extra warm! Old Christmas curtains, napkins and runners are now a staple beneath our Christmas tree, and get to be as admired as they ought to.
The bags are super easy to sew – simply cut a rectangle of a material (a runner is perfect for this). Fold it in two, add a ribbon to one side (make sure the longer part of the ribbon is on the straight side of the fabric) and sew together. I’ve used up a lot of pretty ribbons that I haven’t had the heart to use up, including lovely ribbons from funeral adresses.
It’s the perfect way to reuse old fabric material that you still love, but don’t have a use for. We get to take out the bag filled with bags, and fill them with our gifts, saving both the environment and time, and making us smile in the process!
This year I decided to make a cityscape candle holder. I chose Copenhagen, a city that is close to my heart, and made buildings inspired by those there. I drew them freehand on the gingerbread dough, mainly from memory, so I’m probably the only one who recognizes Marmorkirken and Magasin! But it was a superfun build, and it adds so much cozyness to our December.
This also functions as an advent candle holder where we light one candle each Sunday, but I wanted to show you how it looks like with all four candles lit. I made little windows with sugar glass and it looks especially lovely when the candles have burned down low and you can see through the windows.
Dec 6th is a common gingerbread baking day here in Finland. For me personally our Independence Day has been a day without that many traditions. That all changed a couple of years ago when we decided to make that day our Gingerbread House Making Day along with the family of my bestie. Since then we spend that day having so much fun together, and both kids and adults produce the most amazing creations.
These are from a few years back. Last year my eyes ached too much so I couldn’t take pictures, and least of all edit them, but it was superfun all the same! I like documenting things here on the blog, but simply putting phone pictures onto IG stories has its own charm. It sort of fits with the gingerbread theme of beauty in the moment.
Happy 2nd Advent everyone, and here’s to celebrating Finland tomorrow, with candles and gingerbread and whatever you choose!