UK Christmas: Partridges in pear trees, dry turkey and gifts on Christmas Day. I am confused about all these things. My children, however, seem perfectly content with their Scottish Christmas. They prefer a mince pie to a meatball, a Yorkshire pudding to gravlax and a chocolate log to a green cabbage quiche. What on earth is wrong with them? And how can I have failed them so miserably? I feel deep shame while I pack away the tacky thick tinsel and multi coloured lights- items banned in any Swedish home!

I am passing down traditions I don’t even understand. I want my children to sing Lucia songs and hand out saffron buns while dressed in long white robes, I want them to play in the snow all winter break and eagerly reach for the herring on the Christmas table.

Trying to pass on traditions is really difficult, especially when traditions have to do with things like snow or fish. For some reason, making snow is not in my power and fish is just one of those things kids turn their noses up at. So, what keeps us here in this miserable rain chewing dry turkey? Why stay, you might ask, if you love a cold, snowy winter? Why not return to the homeland somewhere near family and forests where fish is pickled and meatballs come in abundance.

I am yet to settle on one answer, but I do feel that somewhere underneath the tacky coloured lights, bland Christmas meals and sleet that somehow manages to get in under your raincoat, there is something I am yet to find a Swedish word for. Community.

Gabi Froden

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