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Christmas in Sweden.

Christmas in Sweden (front)

This is a reposting of a guest blog post I did for Dos Family last year. I still get emails asking for the link to download the Swedish Christmas record, so I thought it would be fun to share it again in honor of the 16th day of Advent!

In the United States, it’s not uncommon to hear Christmas music wafting from shop speakers as early as the beginning of November, but it’s not “Here Comes Santa Claus” or “Jingle Bell Rock” that puts me in the holiday spirit. For me, it’s not Christmastime until I put on the recording of Swedish Christmas music that I grew up listening to each and every year: Christmas in Sweden, recorded in 1962 by Åke Jelving and a chorus of parents and children.

This is jovial, happy music, sung with energy and enthusiasm…and with audible gasping and stomping!

Our mother may be Swedish, but my siblings and I haven’t got a clue what the lyrics mean. I suspect that they, like me, sing along phonetically (and badly) in the privacy of their own homes. On Christmas day, we put the record on and leave the singing to Mommy as we all hold hands and dance in a circle, usually around the spread of snacks and glögg on the kitchen island.

My gift to you is a download of Christmas in Sweden. My husband made the MP3s directly from the record, so you’ll hear all the same snaps and crackles that I do when I listen to the original. I think that just adds to the appeal! Unless you’re a Swede, this may not sound like Christmas music to you at first, but give it time. (And maybe enjoy it with a little glögg.)

To download the album, you’ll need to visit this link. If you don’t have an account, that’s okay—just wait for the countdown to finish, then click the “regular download” button. Easy!

God Jul!

God Jul!

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34 Comments

  • Reply karla December 16, 2010 at 12:00 pm

    love it. thanks for sharing!

  • Reply Lynn December 16, 2010 at 12:26 pm

    Oh, thank you, Anna! I’m halfway through the first song, and my arms and legs are twitching and wanting to dance. I am reminded of the film “Ronya the Robbers Daughter” for some obscure reason…:-)

  • Reply Jill December 16, 2010 at 12:30 pm

    How awesome! I haven’t even listened to a song, but LOVE the idea. I’m so excited to hear these!

  • Reply Sara December 16, 2010 at 12:47 pm

    OOO I was cooking the other night and I thought what I need is that christmas music that Anna posted last year on door 16. I found it after a little searching and happily made my christmas cake while it played. Its certainly a christmas fave in our house now!.

  • Reply sheila December 16, 2010 at 12:48 pm

    Anna, you are the sweetest! I’m always looking for new holiday tunes – thanks a lot! I love scratchy old records – my fav albums are the ones from my childhood too – my parents had these great ones from the 1960s, John Gary Christmas, and Living Voices: The Little Drummer Boy – old Christmas albums are the best! cheers!

  • Reply Natasha December 16, 2010 at 12:57 pm

    Anna, I love you!

  • Reply Luisa December 16, 2010 at 12:59 pm

    I am a regular reader, first time commenter. Thank you so much, what a wonderful idea. I’m loving all the songs. Funny fact: song no. 5 is originally an Italian song (neapolitan, precisely), Santa Lucia, and I just learned on Wikipedia that Saint Lucia was “adopted” by the Swedes and the song has been “adapted” in Swedish for the Christmas time. I am singing along in Italian (as I am originally from Italy) – Buon Natale.

    • Reply Anna @ D16 December 16, 2010 at 1:21 pm

      You know what’s funny? I can’t sing it in Swedish, but I CAN sing it in Italian!! I had to learn it when I was a kid for a play I was in, and it’s stayed with me ever since. 🙂

  • Reply Leslie December 16, 2010 at 1:00 pm

    Thanks Anna (and Evan), your blog is one of my favorites!

  • Reply chrispito December 16, 2010 at 1:06 pm

    how nice of you! thank you!

  • Reply vee December 16, 2010 at 1:11 pm

    I’m a regular reader as well. Thank you so much for sharing this! I’m not even close to Swedish and I just love it!
    Even if I can’t understand it its so refreshing to hear Christmas music that isn’t one of the same 4 songs sung by different top 40 artists
    THANKS!

  • Reply Abigail Percy December 16, 2010 at 1:24 pm

    Wow – sounds fantastic… thanks so much Anna – can’t wait to have a listen 🙂 So kind of you…

    Merry Christmas to you and yours… x

  • Reply Sara December 16, 2010 at 1:25 pm

    My family does the same thing! (Singing phonetically I mean.) My mom is Swedish and every year my siblings and I crack her up singing “Nully Yully Gen” and “Hellan Go” (“Nu ere jul igen” and “Helan Går” respectively). I’m sure we are singing utter gibberish, but it’s a tradition I wouldn’t break for the world.

    God Jul to you and Evan and the beasties.

  • Reply stephanie December 16, 2010 at 1:50 pm

    Thank you Anna! I absolutely adore your blog. What a sweet gift.

  • Reply mommy December 16, 2010 at 3:05 pm

    I’m so happy to read this! As for the lyrics (hopp tra la la la, etc.), I have tried to translate, but nobody is listening. Too much glogg! (Don’t tell anyone, but I actually used to think that Santa Lucia was a Swedish song!)

  • Reply chelsea December 16, 2010 at 3:34 pm

    NO WAY!!!! I actually thrifted this very same record a few months ago. It is my xmas gift to the BFs father (who is Swedish). The funny thing is that I had hear Carl-Einar (my BF) sing several of these songs before as “drinking songs” and I had no idea they were Christmas songs until I heard the whole record. In fact, these were the songs he used to woo me when we met. Romantic.

    Anyhow, I love that you shared the mp3 versions because we were going to do it before we left to Norway for xmas but we have plain run out of time!!! Thank you!!!!!!!!

  • Reply Carl December 16, 2010 at 5:19 pm

    How funny! I’m from Sweden and frequently reads your blog. I understand that all the jibberjabbish in the songs must sound hilarious, but theres many classics on this records that you sing every christmas at school in Sweden. My favourite being “Staffan var en stalledräng”. Keep up the good work on your blog and have a merry xmas!

  • Reply Julie Jacobson December 16, 2010 at 7:27 pm

    Thank you so much, Anna! How fun to find an extra little treat on my favorite blog. My husband and daughters (who are of Swedish descent) will get a kick out of this!

  • Reply Dori December 16, 2010 at 7:44 pm

    This is such an awesome gift! Thank you! I’m listening to it right now and loving it already.

  • Reply Linda December 17, 2010 at 4:35 am

    Thank you for sharing this! I have childhood memories of some of the songs, too!
    But in fact I know the songs with German singing. I used to listen to a tape from Ikea about a Swedish family preparing for Christmas and in between the scenes they played these songs!

  • Reply dawn December 17, 2010 at 6:08 am

    just wanted to tell you thank you for this download. once the house wakes up, i am so blasting this while i clean up the studio.

    happy holidays to you & yours.

  • Reply Hanna Metsis December 17, 2010 at 7:20 am

    Thanks for the download 🙂
    My favorite Swedish Christmas song: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FmYeZh3KthU
    Perhaps not the most festive, but it’s beautiful.

  • Reply Kim December 17, 2010 at 7:21 am

    Bah! More to love about this blog and you… you’re a Swede! God Jul till dig också och tack för skivan!

  • Reply paule December 17, 2010 at 8:14 am

    THANKS ANNA!! Joyeux Noel!! xx

  • Reply Virtual Assistant Guru December 17, 2010 at 9:27 am

    Its my first time to hear this. But I’m beginning to love it. Thanks to you. Merry Christmas.

  • Reply jana December 17, 2010 at 12:42 pm

    thanks, it´s really great 🙂

  • Reply robyn December 17, 2010 at 9:20 pm

    You’re Swedish too? No wonder you have such good taste! Thanks! This is really cool!

    • Reply Anna @ D16 December 17, 2010 at 11:40 pm

      Oh, I’m totally American! My mother is Swedish, though, so you can blame her for the good taste and the Christmas music. 🙂

  • Reply katrin December 20, 2010 at 5:31 am

    Oooh! This is just lovely! I’ve never commented before but this made me so happy I can’t resist. As a Swede spending Christmas in Athens, Greece, for the second year in a row I’m obsessed with trying to create the kind of Christmas spirit I’ve grown up with. These songs made my day. Thank you so very much!

    Happy Holidays and God Jul!

    Katrin

  • Reply sam December 20, 2010 at 2:53 pm

    living in Stockholm with my Swedish/American kids and Swedish husband. Thanks for this!

  • Reply Annalena December 21, 2010 at 9:11 pm

    I’ve been out of town, so only just now commenting. But I read your post and thought “I could have written that!” I am also half-swedish on my mother’s side and instead of listening to “Christmas in Sweden” we often listened to “Julsånger och Julvisor”- a CD with many of the same songs on it. And…I also sing along without having a clue what I am saying.

    Loved the post! And I’ve downloaded the record to play for my Mom when I visit for Christmas. God Jul och Gott Nytt År!

  • Reply Paul December 23, 2010 at 11:59 am

    Tack så mycket! I can’t tell you how happy you’ve made us. Every Christmas since we can remember (and my sister is 64) we’ve unpacked the tumpte gubbas, brewed the glogg and listened to this album until it was almost unintelligible. This year – no album. Searched the house, couldn’t find it. Nobody could remember what it was called or what the sleeve looked like. Found various Swedish Christmas music on line, but just not . . right. And then stumbled on your site. And there it was.
    Many, many thanks. You made our Christmas.
    God Jul!

    • Reply Anna @ D16 December 23, 2010 at 12:24 pm

      Fabulous!!! That’s so wonderful to hear. God Jul!

  • Reply Janet December 31, 2010 at 11:43 am

    Both of my father’s parents were from Sweden. I grew up in their house, and it wouldn’t be Christmas without my grandmother (Nana) playing this album. With her thick Swedish accent, and her trill along with this record, I have distinct memories of her baking limpa for us. My husband can’t understand why I love it so. Now every time I hear it, I too start singing along, (phonetically) without understanding a word of it. Thank you for putting it online, as my stereo is no longer working…and no, this record didn’t kill it! I too believe the stomping and gasping, crackles and pops add to its charm. Thanks again & Merry Christmas! Happy New Year too!

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