Daylight savings ended the other day. And by the other day I mean Last Saturday night/Sunday morning. That is a week earlier than the US. Very sneaky. Messes with the time difference a bit, so last week football games started at 6 in the evening instead of 7, and life was good. But aside from that benefit, it just means that Sweden is really dark now. Like sunset at 4 in the afternoon dark. Like pitch black by 4:30 in the afternoon dark. Like less than nine hours of daylight dark. Which can only mean one thing to Swedes. Christmas is almost here.
Swedes don’t have anything to look forward to until December rolls around. Halloween is trying to catch on, but Swedes have resisted the urge to adopt a holiday that really just gives people my age another reason to drink and dress up in next to no clothes. Some people love Halloween, but they are no friends of mine. Halloween isn’t really my style. Mostly because I hate fun.
But who are we kidding. Swedes don’t need another reason to drink during the winter. The darkness gives them plenty of reason already.
Of course after Halloween on the 31st of October comes November. Which means absolutely nothing to Swedes. They don’t even get Thanksgiving. And, in case you were wondering, no, Swedes don’t celebrate Thanksgiving. It is by far the question from Americans that aggravates me the most. Swedes do not celebrate English religious fugitives sailing across the Atlantic, landing in New England, and having dinner with the natives. For some reason they don’t feel the need.
Anyway, this leaves Swedes anxiously awaiting December. Santa Lucia. Christmas. New Year’s Eve. It’s all there. Finally, there is something to do in the winter darkness.
With this in mind, capitalism is alive and well in Sweden. Because I went grocery shopping last week. So now I don’t have to resort to a dinner of senapssill on knäckebröd and spaghetti with ketchup two nights in a row. I found the jar of senapssill in the back of the fridge and was hesitant to eat it not really knowing how long it had been there. Then I remembered that senapssill is in fact pickled herring in mustard. And pickling, by design, is meant to preserve food for a long time. So I ate it. And felt fine. But I digress.
While doing my shopping at Willy’s I couldn’t help but notice something was amiss. Christmas decorations were already out. Little towels with Christmasy themes. Tea trays with Christmas elves painted on them. Christmas had come to Sweden in October. And I was confused.
Every year in the US people complain that Christmas comes earlier and earlier. The idea being that the earlier you put the idea of Christmas in consumer’s heads, the more time they will have to spend. It makes sense. It’s kind of annoying, but it makes sense. But the US has Halloween and Thanksgiving to break things up a bit. To slow down the onslaught of Santa and his merry elves.
Sweden does not. And so, with 56 days left until Christmas day, or 55 days until Christmas Eve seeing as how this is Sweden, the onslaught has begun. But in the spirit of Christmas, there are rumors of snow tonight...
Welcome to Sweden.