Today is the first of advent, a fun day to be living in Sweden because the streets really come alive.
I’ve been living in the middle of cobblestone land for over 10 years now, and I admit, some days cobblestones are more of an annoyance than that romantic vision of European beauty I had when I moved here (Seriously, biking with a toddler in a bicycle chair behind you with buses passing you and aggressive drivers all while going bumpity bumpity bumpity over slippery when wet cobblestones = not so romantic). But throw in a light dusting of snow, some Christmas lights, and a Christmas vibe and cobblestone streets start to shine again.
While just like in many other countries the start of Christmas is inching its way into August, the official start here is 4 weekends before Christmas. That is when the town lights officially get switched on (although these days most of the lights are turned on earlier and it is just 1 tree that is switched on during the ceremony).
Advent in Sweden means lighting special candles every morning and watching this strange TV show every morning that tells a story over the 24 days (mostly if you have kids – I admit I have never actually watched a whole Christmas calendar TV show, and probably won’t this year either – Little Swede is still too young and getting up early to watch TV is really not high on my to do list). It means having advent lights and stars in the window.
Mostly the beauty of advent in Sweden is that there are so many lights in the darkness. These days it is dark when you go to work and dark when you come home. Having candles in the windows, lights and all kinds of events in the town center mean things actually feel a lot more alive and vibrant.