Holiday greetings to you, Scandinavian style! This year we’re sharing some Norwegian, Swedish, Danish, Icelandic and Finnish touches, anchored by our Washington Island Stavkirke, modeled after a 12th century stavekirk in Borgund, Norway.
Christmas, Christmas glorious Christmas
Shine over white forests
The crowns of heaven with sparkling lights
Glistening bows in each of gods houses
A hymn sung time and time again
Eternal longing for light and peace…
Shine over white forests
From the Swedish, “Jul, jul, strålande jul“
The idea of building a stavkirke on Washington Island was formulated in the early 1980’s by the pastor and members of Trinity Evangelical Lutheran Church. Years of planning, fundraising, obtaining materials and initial work followed and the actual foundation of the Stavkirke was begun in October 1991. Ann’s brother, John Herschberger, was one of the two main carpenters. They were joined by several others, most volunteering their time. There are twelve center staves as well as heavy beamed, ship-like construction throughout the structure. It was dedicated as a house of worship in August 1995 and the tower and dragon heads were added in 1999. The building is open to the public and accessible by a boardwalk or path through the woods.
For a taste from the former Danish Mill, this re-discovered recipe in an old Washington Island Observer reads in part, “This is a family favorite, a recipe passed down from the Petersen side of the family that settled on Washington Island in the late 1800’s. We never remember a Christmas without them. This cookie recipe is so well-used that only the ingredients are listed on our recipe card!”
Thank you Danish Mill family!
Danish Mill Christmas Crisscross Cookies
1 cup butter (softened)
5 Tbsp. white sugar
1 tsp. vanilla
2 cups flour
Preheat oven to 350°. Cream together sugar, butter and vanilla. Stir in flour. Form into 1 1/2″ balls and roll in sugar. Use a fork to form a crisscross pattern. In the center, place a small piece of pecan, maraschino cherry or chocolate chip. Bake for about 10 minutes or until just starting to brown around the edge. While still warm, sprinkle colored sugar on top.
In Iceland, Jólabókaflóðið, or “Christmas book flood” is a unique and charming Christmas custom where new books are given and received on Christmas Eve and, by tradition, everyone begins reading the books right away, often while drinking hot chocolate. (We love this!)
If something more than hot chocolate appeals to you, why not try some Finnish Glögi (Mulled Wine)? Most recipes have the same basic ingredients, but with variations on the use of extra wine or red grape juice instead of water, the amount of sugar, using red grape juice only, adding vodka or adding fresh lemon and orange juice. Here’s one to try:
- 1 1⁄2 cups water
- 1⁄2 cup sugar
- 5 whole cloves
- 1 cinnamon stick (3-inch)
- 1 tsp whole cardamom seed
- 2 Tbsp. orange peel
- 750ml fruity red wine (1 bottle)
- 2 Tbsp. raisins
- 2 Tbsp. almonds, blanched whole (or slivered)
- In a non aluminum mid-size sauce pan, heat water and sugar over medium heat until sugar is dissolved, about 1 minute.
- Tie all spices and the peel into a small piece of cheesecloth for easy removal.
- Add the spices and peel and wine to the sauce pan and simmer, covered, 5 minutes.
- To serve: Evenly divide gogli into each glass. Add a few raisins and almonds in each, or serve separately.
Eternal longing for light and peace…Shine over white forests
Our warmest wishes to you and yours for genuine Scandinavian hygge as well as happiness, good health, love and peace this holiday season and into the new year.
With gratitude for your friendship,
Ann, Butch, Cindra, Carolyn, Barb, Kathleen, Patricia, Kirsten, Ellie, Shawn and Roxanne