As early as the 1st of December, the mood was palpable in Linköping. It all began with the official lighting ceremony. It was a beautiful Saturday evening and the excitement had reached fever pitch.
There were several performances to entertain residents who had gathered at Stora torget, the city center. Then at 4pm, the lights came on. Christmas was definitely in the air. From the beautiful decors adorning stores to the lighted trees in front of houses.
Radio and TV stations made sure to remind their audience often about the season with Christmas songs and adverts. Retail stores displayed several deals and discounts for Jul mat ( Christmas food). There were Christmas rea (discounts) that could tempt even the most frugal customer. A shopaholic’s paradise.
I took a trip to Norrköping with some friends and the mood was the same. Christmas menus in every restaurant. Not to forget the sweet Christmas Glögg (wine). It was also the season of parties and dinners. Everyone seemed to have a good reason to organize one. Nobody complained though. We enjoyed every one of them. After all, it was the season to be merry. Or wasn’t it? There were local Christmas markets. Stocked with selections of the finest Christmas presents. One of the major student accomodation providers in Linköping organized a ginger bread house contest.
They provided all the materials and even threw in a complimentary bottle of wine. It was a perfect opportunity for students on the corridor to socialize over the bottle of wine as we put ideas and skills together to come up with a master piece ginger bread house. There was so much to talk about and yes, we had some christmas music in the background.
By the 21st of December, the student housing areas had become like ghost towns. Leaving behind endless trails of wheeled travel bags in the snow. The holidays had begun.