Thursday, 17 November 2011

Swedish Church Christmas Fair in London

Most the Nordic Churches in London seem to have picked this weekend to open their annual Christmas Fairs. The Swedes were first off the mark, with the opening day today, whereas Finnish and Norwegian expats can enjoy buying their own festive wares from tomorrow. The Danish Christmas market opens the weekend after next, 26 -27 November.

As those of you who've been reading this blog for some time know, my cultural background is a kind of hybrid of Swedish and Finnish, and this confusion of origin shows more acutely in what my Christmas table looks like. (So no sharp comments about my traditions not being Finnish enough this year, please....)

When we lived in Wiltshire, I sometimes managed to come up for the Finnish Christmas Bazaar, but usually I had to make do with Ikea's selection of pickled herrings, German rye bread from the supermarket and home made everything else. Unless, of course, I had a special delivery from Finland or Sweden.

Swedish Church
So this year, it was a delight to just be able hop on the bus and pop over to the Swedish Church in Marylebone. 

It was busy at the Swedish Church Christmas Market
Those Swedes do have style...The rooms at the Church, which I've seen in a somewhat barer state, were transformed today to a lively, colourful bazaar. At the entrance I was met by the pastor himself, and trying to shake off the image of the cruel and strict Bishop Vergerus from the film Fanny and Alexander, which the Lutheran vestments always remind me off, I made polite small-talk with him.

But when my eyes wondered over the different stalls, I could hardly choose which one to attack first. There were separate ones for sweets, linens, bread, decorations, candles (can't you get proper candles in London?!), books. There was a whole room dedicated to foodstuffs, including a stall selling fish and game from Tornedal in Northern Sweden.

The Tornedal butcher and fishmonger

This was a difficult stall to pass by without buying...but as we are still downsizing, I couldn't really go for it.

The ladies at the linen stall were lovely and very helpful.
And here is my booty: 

I couldn't resist the linen stall and had to add to my collection of runners with a lovely red Christmas one, as well as a new cloth bread basket. I also bought a tin of pepparkakor (gingerbread biscuits), proper old-fashioned knäckebröd (crisp bread), and was delighted to find some 'reindeer moss' and other traditional trimmings to decorate the advent candles.

'Reindeer moss' - treated to be flame-resistant

Advent candles
For good measure I threw in some sweets, Bilar, that my children have always loved, and some festive paper napkins.

Swedish sweets

Merry Christmas napkins
I had to struggle hard to get away with just these few bits; everywhere I looked there were stylish goodies - all of which reminded me of my childhood in Stockholm.

A lovely festive breadbasket

I could open a shop with the amount of Scandinavian runners I own...what's one more?

I have to be very strong not to break into this 'hard bread' before Christmas Eve.

Even the cloth bags were stylish.

Swedish Church Christmas Fair is at

6 Harcourt Street 
London W1H 4AG

Opening times:

Today 17 November 11am to 8 pm
Sat 19 November 11 am to 6 pm
Su 20 November 12 noon to 5 pm

I cannot wait to see how the Finnish Christmas Fair compares - I shall buy more foodstuffs there, including, I hope, most of the salted herring I need to make Christmas Eve properly Finnish!

Finnish Church Christmas Fair is at
33 Albion Street
London SE16 7HZ

Opening times:
Fri 18 November 12 noon to 8 pm
Sat 19 November 10 am to 6 pm
Su 20 November 10 am to 6 pm

Wed 23 November 12 noon to 8 pm
Thu 24 November 12 noon to 8 pm
Fri 25 November 12 noon to 8 pm
Sat 26 November 10 am to 6 pm

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Great! thanks for the share!