Christmas at Bullerby and other Swedish Children’s Stories

bullerbyMy family have always celebrated Christmas the Swedish way, on Christmas Eve, because  my Grandma on one side of the family was Swedish. One of my favourite books as a child was Astrid Lindgren’s beautifully illustrated Christmas at Bullerby. It was first published in Britain in 1964.     

The story tells of seven children who live in three farms (North Farm, Middle Farm and South Farm) and is told from the perspective of Lisa, who lives with her two brothers (Lars and Pip). I loved looking at the snow, imagining what it would be like to have a go on a traditional Swedish sledge or to go and cut down your own Christmas tree in the woods.

bullerby farmsWe would also light lots of candles on Christmas Eve and make pepparkaka (Swedish gingerbread). I can’t think of Christmas without remembering Christmas at Bullerby, and the small traditions that my sister and I looked forward to every year. We always have a traditional Swedish candelabra in the window and we made heart shaped decorations for the tree which still come out every year.

making Swedish gingerbreadI read countless other books by Astrid Lindgren. Karlson on the Roof is a brilliant story about a little man who lives on the roof, flying about playing tricks on people. Then there were the Emil books, about a small boy who constantly got into trouble, as well as Pippi Longstocking, who I really wanted to be.

astrid lindgren booksMy whole childhood, looking back, was full of Astrid Lindgren stories, and I can remember many of them vividly. I’d recommend any of her books, but I am especially looking forward to reading Christmas at Bullerby this Christmas with my niece.

Astrid Lindgren passed away in 2002, but she’s still the most popular children’s author in Sweden, and her books have been translated into many different languages. Find out more about her by visiting her website.

christmas at bullerby