Let the holiday traditions of countries like Denmark, Finland, Norway, and Sweden inspire you this season. Long winter nights in these countries are brightened with red and white, a favorite color tradition in Scandinavian homes. This color combination is inspired by the red color of berries which shows up brilliantly against the snowy white landscape.
In these countries, function is more important than all out over decorating. Simple baskets of apples, berries, garlands of candy and popcorn, and decorated sugar cookies embellish Christmas Trees and holiday tables. Gingerbread cookies are cut out into holiday shapes, decorated with white frosting, and hung onto the tree for a beautiful display. As visitors leave they are given cookies to fill their pockets as a sign of holiday hospitality.
The gingerbread cookies can be cut into holiday shapes or circles and then decorated with white frosting. The frosting can be done into shapes of horses, stars, hearts, angels, and so on, and put onto round cookies. Then place little dots of white frosting around the design to finish it off. Use a straw to cut a hole into the top of the cookie before it is baked to make a hole for hanging. Use white ribbon tied into bows to make the hangers. Make popcorn garlands and swirl them around the tree. Use white or red tree lights to finish off the look.
Make beautiful red centerpieces for the table using plastic foam cones. Purchase the cones from a local craft supply store and cover the cones with fresh cranberries. Use toothpicks to stick the cranberries onto the cones. Place the cones on a tray and embellish with sprigs of holy. Use a white table cloth and make up little gifts wrapped in red wrapping paper to place around the table. The red shows up beautifully against the while tablecloth.
To make the white garlands use either popcorn or white gumdrops. String them onto thread or dental floss. Dip the needle into hot water if using gumdrops to keep it from getting too sticky.
A special holiday tradition of theirs that is easy to take on for yourself is one that is kind to the animals in nature. This old Scandinavian tradition honors the animals that were present at the nativity. Neighborhood children are invited to help make arrangements of apples, seeds, and grains to be left outside for the birds and animals. The animals would love to be remembered at Christmas as well.