Festive Bonbon: a Christmas challenge 

The team that brings you What’s On Your Bookshelf each month, DebDonnaSue and Jo are hosting a special seasonal link-up – Festive Bon Bon. They have set of prompt questions that you can use if you wish to get you started on sharing what your holiday season looks like. A bit of fun to get into the festive spirit at the end of another not so easy year for many of us. So…let’s get started…

Christmas Tree:

  • Do you have one? Yes, of course!
  • When does it go up? Close to Christmas….around the 20th. I don’t understand how people can put them up early. I guess when we lived in Europe we always had a real tree, and it is better to get one later rather than earlier.
  • Who decorates it? Me with my husband’s help
  • Is there a theme or is it mis-matched? Red, gold silver and lots of little people, angels and creatures. A real mix – a little French drummer boy I have had since I was 11 years old, a penguin made by my dad, a glass kiwi, little red apples, wooden decorations from Sri Lanka, items with memories from all over – and garlands of Swedish flags and Danish Christmas hearts. An eclectic mix.

Christmas Carols: yes, traditional, both Swedish and ones in English.

Christmas books and films: neither. The season doesn’t influence what I pick to read, though I do think of things to read on holiday. We have no tradition of watching Christmas films either.

Christmas cake: I love it, dear husband didn’t grow up with it and isn’t too keen. We have chocolate, we have strawberries, raspberries, blueberries for seasonal fruits.

Christmas traditions: a glass of sherry when putting up the tree, watching the Lucia morning from Sweden on 13th December, lighting candles on each Sunday in advent, stockings on Christmas morning. With a Polish father and English mother I grew up with a mix of traditions, and with a Swedish husband as well, our Christmas is a lovely mix.

What’s on the table: on Christmas Eve: different types of herring, potatoes, Janssons frestelse, ham, sausages, meatballs, bread, salad, cheese, cake, seasonal fruits, snaps and beer. We have a Swedish Christmas Eve and then…well, since we moved to New Zealand, we usually spend Christmas Day with friends with a barbecue. I’ll be posting this year’s feasts after Christmas.

Christmas memories: there are so many…that exciting moment on Christmas morning, waking up to find a stuffed stocking at the end of the bed, the Christmas tree covered in snow (cotton wool!) and completely decorated with the fairy on the top. Then there is the first time I saw snow at Christmas, in Paris, and how that city was so much brighter and cheerful than Edinburgh. There have also been Christmases in England, the US, Denmark and Sweden. There was that Christmas when the special duck recipe took forever to cook, the one when my step-son set the meatballs on fire, (forgetting he was using a domestic cooker), and of course the first time we had Christmas in the summer.

All I want for Christmas: a 2022 when we will be able to travel to see family and friends like so many of us.

The featured image at the top of the post is of the pōhutukawa also known as the New Zealand Christmas tree.

Also entered into Natalie the Explorer’s Weekend Coffee Share.

You can find Thistles and Kiwis on Facebook, and also on Instagram @thistlesandkiwis.  As for Twitter….am totally inactive these days.  If you want to get in touch, email me on thistlesandkiwis@gmail.com


  1. I was hoping you’d link up so glad you did. I love the mix of traditions and this is the 3rd time I’ve heard of Janssons potatoes in the last 3 days & I’ve been madly googling recipes for it. Sound so good!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I thought this looked like a great link up topic! Janssons frestelse (or temptation!) is so good – you can’t go wrong with potatoes and cream of course, but the fish are not anchovies but anjovis, a special little pickled sprat. It is worth looking for them as salty anchovies just don’t give the right flavour. Unfortunately the recipe I use is in Swedish…I should translate and post it perhaps!


  2. This is a delightful read. The weather is so very hot here that I snip a tiny tree out in the country only a few days before Christmas so that its needles won’t all fall off beforehand. While I used to decorate it, that honour went to my daughter for years until she left home and now to my grandchildren. It too is a mish-mash of items that we’ve had for years with the odd new bauble to augment it.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Such a pleasure! I loved hearing about your traditions, and you are indeed inspiring me to record my own. The New Zealand Christmas Tree makes me smile, as do the burning meatballs. That’s another good holiday prompt! Thank you for sharing.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Loved hearing about your traditions! Our family has so many that we cherish during the holiday season!

    Wishing you a blessed and peaceful holiday season and New Year!

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Loved seeing the Swedish flag garland and other Scandi traditions. I recognized the Janssons Fretelse – yum and the pohutakawa. I think they look fantastic at Christmas and they are also flowering well here in Australia this year. You have built up some wonderful Christmas memories and you are so lucky to be able to draw from a variety of cultures. Do you make any Polish dishes for Christmas?

    Liked by 1 person

  6. How cool to see some Swedish Christmas stuff featured here! But perhaps I knew your husband is Swedish? Didn’t we discuss passports or something recently or was that someone else?
    Anyway – the NZ Christmas tree is stunning! I’m glad that you can mix and match different Christmas traditions. I actually forgot to mention snaps in my post – I*m not a big fan but my husband is. I have a lemon and chilli infused vodka that I take instead of the snaps. I hope you get a good Christmas this year and I totally agree about your wish for 2022.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I think we did discuss passports once yes! My husband is Swedish – from Kalmar.
      Lemon and chilli infused vodka sounds really interesting. All the best for a wonderful Christmas!


  7. Lovely traditions and memories. The flowers in your header photo are beautiful. I learned new words from your post: Pōhutukawas and Janssons frestelse. Thank you for linking up with #weekendcoffeeshare.

    Liked by 1 person

  8. I love it when traditions from all the places we’ve lived and cultures we’ve encountered come together! Thank you for sharing your very cheery Christmas traditions & memories!

    And hear hear! to your wish for 2022!

    Liked by 1 person

  9. Thank you for sharing your traditions and a glimpse into your holiday. I love to watch the sappy Christmas holiday movies, but my spouse is not a fan…lol

    Liked by 1 person

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