Consciously and unconsciously, I have adopted many Swedish habits and traditions in recent years. When I started thinking about it for this article, it turned out to be even more than I first thought. Maybe I was Swedish in a previous life, who knows!
I like sweetness. So the Swedish concept fika quickly won my heart. The idea of taking a conscious break also appeals to me. I used to think it was a waste of time, now I know better! Taking regular breaks helps to work more efficiently for the rest of the day. Also in the weekend I can no longer do without a fika break.
I was not a coffee drinker for a long time. Actually, it is only since the many video calls during the corona pandemic that I really started drinking coffee (well, latte) regularly.
Work / life balance, minimizing,… These are things I have been working on for some time. And somewhere there is also the concept of ‘lagom‘. Not too much, not too little. Exactly enough!
Thanks to corona I see more people enjoying the outdoors, friluftsliv. In the summer months I have been spending a lot of time outside ever since I was little. We have a beach cabin and we almost live there in the summer. In the winter, or when the weather was bad, I used to stay indoors. But the Swedes taught me that even then it is worthwhile to go outside. And that’s what I do. Even when it rains, I go outside to get some fresh air. Last winter I bought a warm down jacket and a winter jacket that can withstand the rain. A big investment but I have already enjoyed it so much! Afterall, there is no bad weather, only bad clothes …
Take your shoes off
We used to keep our shoes on at home. When I think back to it now, I think it’s so strange! I follow the Swedes completely: no shoes inside. It’s not just practical: leaving your shoes at the door keeps out melting snow and mud. But there are even more advantages. I’ll talk about that in another article!
My working week and weekends are not always clearly defined. On Thursdays I usually have an office day so Thursday night always feels a bit like the start of my weekend. (Even though I often still work on Fridays and Saturdays.) So I did fredagsmys for a long time, but on Thursdays. Besides fredagsmys you also have lördagsgodis but since I don’t eat candy, that is not for me.
Festive days for food
A habit that I would also like to introduce in Belgium is to queue. I always try to do it but unfortunately I notice in the supermarkets that this isn’t very common in Belgium.
Another thing, on the escalator we all just stand where we want to while it would be so much more efficient if we were on the right so that those in a hurry can pass on the left. Stand right, walk left. Easy as that!
I like a Scandinavian interior. A mix of natural materials such as wood with white and black accents. Practical furniture with well-chosen design. Less is more.
And I also like Scandinavian fashion. I am a winter colour type and so, luckily, I can wear black. The fact that Scandinavian fashion often also has loose-fitting models is a plus for my figure 😉 Nearly everything in my dressing now comes from Sweden. What I also like is that they like to choose comfortable clothes. Yet there are also fashion trends that I don’t like. Sneakers or sports shoes under a (long) dress is such a strange sight!
Sankta Lucia is also a day that I will not let pass by. I start the day with lussekatter and try to attend a lucia concert. Preferably in Sweden, online if there is no other option.
I haven’t gotten my family to the point that we serve a real julbord on Christmas Eve, but otherwise the Swedish Christmas traditions are already entering our house. We celebrate on Christmas Eve instead of December 25th, the Christmas decorations could come straight from Sweden and there is a star and a candle in the window.
This year I was unfortunately not able to do it as I had in mind due to corona, but next year my colleagues and friends can expect an invitation for a glöggmingel! I’m already looking forward to it…
This year I was a bit sad. I thought I no longer had an advent candle in the house. Every year I bring one from Sweden. Every day I burn that candle until the number for that day is gone. A nice way to countdown to Christmas and my godchild is also a fan. He is then allowed to blow out the candle and comes every minute to see if he can blow the candle already.
Luckily I found one among my Christmas decorations this year! It really made my day.
January 13th, it is time to put away all the Christmas decorations. I find the lights in and around the Christmas tree quite cozy and we can use some extra light in January too. But, I want to make a fresh start with a tidy house at the beginning of January. Some of the Christmas decorations will therefore disappear already before January 13.
Do you think about other Swedish traditions that you cannot miss? Let us know in the comments!