Mall Santas and drive-through light shows packed with Christmas decorations that spin, whirl and twirl (and a few three-story inflatable reindeer) aren't a world-wide phenomenon. As a global holiday, Christmas is observed by millions of people with varying traditions and practices. But this doesn't mean the Scandinavian version of xmas is exactly like what your kiddos experience here in the U.S.
In Sweden, Swedish Christmas traditions begin on the first Sunday of Advent and continue throughout the next four weeks. By including other traditions in your Christmas celebrations, children can gain a new perspective on Christmas. And that's why we've gathered some of the best Christmas crafts straight from Sweden.
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Get ready, get set and ho-ho-go as your littles get artsy, making their very own home decor and so much more!
Make Tomte Swedish Christmas decorations
Add a Swedish Christmas decoration to your tree this year with Tomte Christmas tree ornaments to give your home decor a festive Scandinavian flare! But what exactly are these Tomte anyway? Tomte are mischievous, solitary spirits (you might think of these fictional creatures as Nordic gnomes) who protect and look after the farmstead, emerging around Christmas to protect the home.
You'll need a 2-inch wooden ball and a small wooden bead, stem wire, red felt and fuzzy white yarn for these Swedish Christmas crafts. First, create the hat. Cut out two pie-shaped pieces from the felt that are large enough to fit around the 2-inch wooden ball when put together. Stitch or hot glue the two felt pieces together. Drill a small hole into the wooden ball at an angle with a 7/64 drill bit or whichever size is necessary to fit the stem, and then glue the stem in place.
Hot glue and drills are tools for adults only! You'll need to craft through these steps for your children. But don't worry, they can sit by your side and watch as you get artsy too.
Next, create a beard by bunching the yarn together and gluing around the ball, covering the ball entirely. Place the felt hat over the stem and glue it over the beard. Then glue the small wooden bead for the nose. Lastly, stitch a ribbon to the hat, and the Tomte gnome ornament is complete.
Things You'll Need
2-inch wooden ball
Small wooden bead
Needle and thread, or hot glue
Make a St. Lucia Day crown
On December 13, Swedes celebrate St. Lucia Day, which is a 400-year-old custom that began as a Christian feast day. On this day, Luciatåg processions are televised and performed by Swedish kids in schools and churches. These holiday season processions include a Lucia who wears a wreath crown with electric candles on her head. To make a crafty wreath crown, you'll need a sturdy paper plate, green tissue paper, white coffee filters, markers and scissors.
You can make your own crown or St. Lucia Day hat. Begin by cutting out the center of a sturdy paper plate that is large enough to sit on top of someone's head. Then, wrap the green tissue paper around the plate to create a green wreath. Glue the paper in place and set it aside to dry.
Even though you won't need the ribbons or other decor until the wreath is dry, gather these items before you start the Christmas craft. This will help you to organize the crafting experience.
Once dry, decorate the wreath with markers and other decorations, such as ribbons, being careful not to rip the paper. Make fake candles by rolling the coffee filters into a candle shape and then glue them in place. Once dry, color the tips of the filters with markers to resemble a flame. Form a base on the bottom of the fake candles by cutting a slit and then bending the ends apart. Glue the base of the fake candles to the wreath. Allow the crown to dry before wearing it.
Things You'll Need
Green tissue paper
Make a St. Lucia Day Star Boy Hat
In addition to Lucia, boys would play star boys in the St. Lucia processions. Wearing tall cone hats decorated with stars, star boys carry stars on a stick.
You can try your hand at making a star boy hat. Cut the poster board to size and roll it into a cone large enough to fit someone's head. Glue the cone together and trim any uneven bits from the bottom.
Don't want to create a glitter-tastrophy? Cover your child's work surface withscrap paper or cardboard before you break out the sparkles.
Cut stars from the construction paper and paste them to the cone. Continue to decorate the hat with markers, crayons, colored pencils or glitter. Allow the hat to dry before wearing it.
Things You'll Need
Make other Swedish Christmas crafts
As if the gnome ornaments from Scandinavia and St. Lucia Day crafts weren't enough, we've got a few more artsy adventures to try with the littles. Get architectural and build a pepparkakshus, or Swedish gingerbread house. Or, bake a batch of pepparkaka (again, a.k.a. gingerbread) men, snowflakes, stars or other shapes to turn into Scandinavian style "Merry Christmas!" ornaments.
Your kiddos can also get artsy and DIY their own Christmas cards. Use card stock paper, markers or even watercolors to create Christmas time Scandi scenes.
Don't worry if you're not Pinterestingly perfect when it comes to Christmas crafts. Even the least crafty crafters can help their kiddos to make these Scandinavian Christmas decorations!