Sunday, December 23, 2012

The story of the Swedish Christmas goat

Growing up it was easy to get the American/Swedish Christmas stories to line up, mostly because we were either celebrating in the US or in Sweden, and in that case, it didn’t seem odd that Santa stopped off at Northern homes earlier and more southerly homes in the middle of the night. It is a time consuming job.

But in The Swede’s family, like most Swedish families, Santa comes on Christmas Eve and delivers a few gifts to the kids before departing again to other homes. (Yes, it can be tricky to find a Santa to show up! The Swede is on Santa duty for our neighbors this year.)

But there are a ton of kids in the Swede’s family, so there is a gift limit. And since this is a big party, we like to open grown-up gifts, family gifts and a few other little tokens before we go to the big party (We originally thought we would keep a Christmas Day celebration, but since we usually end up at sleeping over somewhere, that is too difficult).

My Swedish in-laws developed the tale of The Christmas Goat, a classic part of the Swedish Christmas, to put the story together and thus this year we decided to tell the tale of the Christmas goat. This may prove to be a mistake, but, well, none of the other stories really seemed to add up.

So the Christmas goat is delivering some of Santa’s gifts early, to take the load off. We left out some water and gingerbread cookies (Little Swede wanted water rather than milk). We could go with reindeer. Or maybe some goat/reindeer combo. But Little Swede is pretty into goats at the moment. He decided this goat’s name was ‘Brown’ since it was gingerbread. So obviously, we have some elements to go over for the future.

But hey, I don’t think this story will be believable for more than just a few years.

The goat is a traditional Swedish symbol, and is often made of straw and set around all over the place, and often burnt to the ground.

Do you have any weird combo traditions in your family? Either way, I hope you have a Merry Christmas!!!


  1. Believability is overrated. If you're lucky you get two years from when kids stop being terrified/confused until they figure out it's not real. Better to go with something that's practical and fun to pretend.

    "He decided this goat’s name was ‘Brown’ since it was gingerbread. So obviously, we have some elements to go over for the future."

    Oh dear, here we go again.. :)

  2. I thought you would appreciate that --- :)

  3. In the 1800s, the presents were sometime delivered by a man dressed as a goat actually.

  4. In a lot of families, a family member is the Santa. "Jag ska gå och köpa tidningen" is a common gag ^^