Everyone has his or her own holiday traditions. Whether they are inspired by your culture, have been passed down generationally, or are something that has started with you, we all do things a little bit differently—and that’s part of what makes the holidays so special. Now while I certainly have my own set of ways I celebrate leading up to December 25, I’m always interested in what others do as well. That’s why this time of year the American Swedish Institute particularly intrigues me, as the museum offers guests the chance to see how those in the Nordic celebrate, with exhibits, events, and more kicking off this weekend and lasting through the holidays. Check out the happenings, and discover just why this year you’ll want to celebrate like a Swede.
Christmas By Design: The ASI Christmas Rooms (Nov. 15-Jan. 11): Each year the museum offers a exhibit in which five separate rooms are ornately dressed to represent the holiday traditions of the five Nordic countries, but this year those rooms will show how design plays a role, and include the addition of a sixth room that shows how Scandinavian design has influenced design in Minnesota. Included with museum admission.
Winter Wonderland Kick-Off Family Day (Nov. 15, 10 a.m.-5 p.m.): Visit the Christmas By Design exhibit the first day it opens, and then create gingerbread ornaments, contribute to the community Advent calendar, make traditional ornaments to take home and decorate, play Swedish Christmas bingo, and embark on the Great Tomte Hunt. Included with museum admission.
Winter Wonderland: Curator’s Glögg Tour (Nov. 15, 6:30 p.m.): Enjoy a cup, or three, of Swedish glögg and bites from FIKA while touring the holiday exhibits with Curator Curt Pederson. 21+, $50 nonmembers, $45 members.
Nordic Encounter: Ingalena Klenell (Nov. 15, 10:30 a.m. & Nov. 16, 1 p.m.): During this 45-minute lecture Swedish glass artist Ingalena Klenell will talk about the art of glass making and her contribution to the Swedish Christmas room, “The Future is a Long Story.” $5.
Julmarknad: ASI’s Christmas Market (Dec. 6, 10 a.m.-5 p.m. & Dec. 7, noon-5 p.m.): Get a jump on your Christmas shopping with handmade and handcrafted goods from the market, or Scandinavian gifts from the ASI Jul Shop. FIKA will be serving Swedish meatballs, open-faced sandwiches and holiday treats, local musicians will perform Nordic holiday favorites, and there will be family activities like story time with the Christmas fairy, a visit with Tomte (Dec. 6) or Santa (Dec. 7), Christmas cartoons, a fiskdamm (fishing pond), and kick-sled course. $10 adults, $5 ages 6-18, ages 5 and younger and members free. Includes museum admission.
Fused Glass Holiday Ornaments Workshop (Dec. 10, 6-8 p.m.): Learn how to cut and craft two glass-fused ornaments, which will be fired in a kin and ready to pick up a few days later. 18+, $40 nonmembers, $35 members.
Julbord: A Scandinavian Holiday Feast (Dec. 13, 3 p.m., Dec. 20, 6:30 p.m. & Dec. 21, 1 p.m.): Come hungry, because you’re sure to leave stuffed with all that’s on the menu as a part of this feast: Swedish Christmas ham, Jansson’s Temptation, Swedish meatballs and potato sausages, herring, dill Havarti, Jarlsberg and baked Brie, lox salmon platter, cucumber dill salad, Scandinavian pea salad, roasted root vegetable casserole, boiled potatoes, European breads, deviled eggs, rice pudding with lingonberries, ginger cookies, carrot cake, and flourless chocolate torte. $55 nonmembers, $50 members, $20 ages 6-11, ages 5 and younger free.