Festivals & Fun Activities

Activities to learn about Sweden:

Walking & hiking

Swedes are lovers of nature and are fond of getting out to enjoy the beauty of each season. In Sweden there is an ancient tradition of common access known asAllemansrätten. This access gives people the right to use and enjoy all uncultivated land – regardless of ownership. This means anyone can pick wildflowers, berries, mushrooms and nuts, walk, use drinking water and camp throughout the country – even on private property. This access also makes all responsible for the wellness of the land and is taken quite seriously.

Although it’s probably not a great idea to go and camp on someone else’s private property where it isn’t a respected law and tradition, it is a great idea to get out and enjoy nature as the Swedes do. Go for a walk and immerse yourself in the nature you have access to. Enjoy it and revere it, being sure to respect the land and take responsibility for the wellness of it, just as the citizens of Sweden do.

Candle making

Candle making has a strong tradition in Sweden. With the long, dark winter nights, well-made candles were historically essential and are associated with many of the oldest festivals.

Before the religious reformation in 16th Century Sweden, churches were lit up with beeswax candles that burnt slowly while cleanly. A colony of bees, while it only produced one pound of wax per year, was then valued as highly as a cow. Swedish beekeeping was extensive at this time, though Gustavus Vasa had all bee colonies confiscated during the 16th Century and it became far more rare after that.

Learn to make Beeswax candles at home. Supplies can be purchased on-line or at your local craft store.

When making and burning candles at home, it is strongly encouraged that you use beeswax or vegetable-based wax instead of paraffin, as paraffin is a petroleum by-product, proven to contain and emit a large number of toxic substances.

Advent Calendar

Advent Calendars likely originated in Sweden and have spread through Europe and North America as a wonderful countdown to Christmas. The traditional advent calendars featured different pictures of toys, holiday symbols and winter scenes for each day from December 1st – 24th, with a nativity scene featured on the 24th. A family advent calendar can be a wonderful way to celebrate each day of December and can be made as gifts for others or shared in the Earthy Family home.

Ideas for making a calendar:
No-Sew Burlap Calendar:
Large piece of Burlap
24 Safety pins
24 Scraps of Material, cut into circles
Felt pen
2 Wooden dowels or lengths of branch, each about 1-2 inches longer than the width of the burlap
Sturdy twine

Place one of the dowels or branches at the top edge of the burlap. Roll it toward the center one full turn, covering the branch with the burlap tightly. Secure with glue, repeat this process for the bottom edge. Once the glue is dry, roll each of your calendar stuffers in the cloth circles and secure the circle closed and to the burlap with one safety pin each. Write the numbers 1 – 24 on each of the rolled circles. Attach the twine to each side of the top branch, making a loop to hang it from. Have the calendar participants open one circle each day from December 1st – 24th.

Other ideas for calendars:
• Make a felt base with felt pockets (these can be any shape) stitched on with yarn
• Create a wooden chest with 24 little drawers
• Quilt a calendar with windows or pockets
• Set up a shelf with 25 mini Santa/elf hats to hide surprises under – make the hats from felt or cloth

Ideas for Calendar stuffers:
The traditional advent calendar featured pictures for each day. The modern version bought in discount super stores feature cheap chocolates. Let your imagination run wild as you plan your calendar and remember calendars can be made for children and adults. This is a great Christmas gift to give for the hard to buy for sibling, grandparent or friend. Make it personal and make it fun.

• For a traditional Advent Calendar featuring pictures, try using old Christmas card pictures
• Use photos of Christmases past, or photos of the family from throughout the year
• Write a story and allow just one paragraph or sentence to appear in each day of the calendar
• Write out a Christmas memory for each day of the calendar
• Feature a Christmas tradition from a different area of the world each day
• Find a poem or song for each day
• Share a recipe each day
• Write out a favourite Christmas story and divide it between the 24 days
• Provide a different craft activity for each day, complete with supplies
• Provide a personal coupon for each day – cooking, cleaning, babysitting, hugs, kisses, reading favourite stories – get creative – think of your recipient’s needs and your abilities
• Think up an outdoor activity to do together each day