Today is the first Sunday in advent. When I was a kid, this meant lighting one of four giant pillar candles in church. In Sweden, it means the official start of the Christmas season. It is great! There is not post-Halloween Christmas overload, no Black Friday, and so more participation in the fun aspects of the season. It is hard to find a place more connected with the original pagan beginnings of the winter solstice celebration. It is so dark here that the return to lengthening days really feels like something to celebrate… and it has been since long before Christ was born.
One of the nice things about Swedish advent is that everyone puts up their Christmas lights. not coloured mini-bulbs (although there are some of those), but stars and adventsljusstakar (rows of 5 or 7 candles) the windows. My mom would love it!