Beautiful Danish Christmas Decorations, In a Cosy Swedish Cottage
by Niki Brantmark / My Scandinavian Home
As I walked home early evening yesterday, the night sky was bathed in a warm light from the glow of fairy lights and candles shining brightly from windows and I felt a sense that Jul (Christmas) is just around the corner. In Blekinge, Sweden, interior designer Helen Sturesson's decorations will be slightly different this year thanks to a stunning handmade Christmas collection by Pernille Bülow - a glass atelier on the Danish island of Bornholm. It's safe to say the Pernille Bülow elves have been burning the midnight oil to create the most beautiful mouth blown baubles you'll find this year (some of which are made from recycled glass) - as well as candleholders, oil lamps, vases and dinnerware. I chatted to Helen to find about her family Christmas traditions up at the cottage, and to take some photos of the collection.
When does the Christmas period begin for you?
It starts on the first Sunday of advent when I put up star lanterns and line the windowsills with candles and oil lamps. Around St Lucia (13th December), we put up a Christmas tree and dot more Christmas decorations around the house.
How do you like to decorate your home for Christmas?
As well as the star lanterns and candles, I also love to find a little Christmas tree in the garden which I bring indoors and decorate with a few pretty baubles. And I make a wreath or two, also using whatever is available outside. Since it's so small, our cottage doesn't need more than that to feel festive and cosy.
Your cottage makes the perfect backdrop for Pernille Bülow Christmas decorations - what are your thoughts on the collection?
I love that the ReUse items (bowls, glasses and decorations) are made from recycled glass and also that everything in the entire collection is handmade or mouth blown on the Danish island of Bornholm. Every piece feels really unique and good quality. You get so much more value from items that come directly from a designer / atelier and are not mass produced.
When do you head to your cottage for the holidays?
We usually go there one or two days before Christmas.
What do you love most about being at the cottage at Christmas time?
It's more cosy here than at our apartment in the city. I love to light the fire in the Kakelugn (tiled oven). It's very peaceful here and I really like to be near my parents and brothers who live nearby.
Where do you spend Christmas Eve and what does your day look like (the day Christmas is celebrated in Sweden)?
On Christmas Eve we drive over to my parents which is around 15 minutes away. The entire family gathers so we're usually about 12 people in total. We all bring dishes for the 'Julbord' (the Christmas spread) and rally around in the kitchen to finalise the meal before it goes on the table.
After lunch there's always someone who wants to sit down and watch 'Donald Duck and his friends wish you a Merry Christmas' - a bizarre Swedish Christmas tradition - while others chill and chat! In the evening Tomten (Father Christmas) arrives bearing gifts and we drink glögg (mulled wine).
Over the table: Mouthblown Sky pendant lamp
What type of dishes does your Julbord include?
We have a fairly traditional one with ham, pickled herring, Jansson's Temptation (a potato dish with anchovies), meatballs, salmon etc washed down with 'Julmust' (a form of Christmas cola) a little beer and schnapps. In the evening we drink glögg (spiced mulled wine) with gingerbread and tuck into Rice á la Malta or Christmas porridge.
What do you do on Christmas Day (the day after the festivities)?
It's a very relaxed day. We meet up with my parents again and go for a long walk together in the countryside before eating leftovers from the Julbord. Sometimes we head back to the city to meet up with Kristoffer's family.
When do you take down your decorations?
I don't really stick to a specific date - it's basically when the tree starts to look awful! The stars are the last things I take down. It feels so dark without them. My son always gets sad and cries when we take the star down in his bedroom - he loves the cosy, warm light it emits.
Thank you so much for sharing your Christmas with us Helen, it sounds so lovely!
And thank you to Pernille Bülow for entrusting Helen and I with all the beautiful glassware!
Follow any of the links in this post to treat yourself or friends (everything they sell makes a perfect present, but especially the clear mouthblown baubles which come in a lovely box!) - or head over to the Pernille Bülow online shop (they ship almost worldwide and it's free if you buy for a certain amount). I have a suspicion their elves will be working overtime in the coming weeks as the Christmas decorations are the prettiest I've seen this year.
Is there anything that stood out to you about the decorations or Helen's mysig family Christmas at the cottage?
Stay cosy friends!
Photography; Niki Brantmark / My Scandinavian Home (except for first and last cottage image by Helen)
Styling: Helen Sturesson