First published in Nordstjernan on Dec. 9, 2004:
For the fourth Sunday of Advent (which was Dec. 20 this year), it's time to take that last bit of energy you stored up and begin making holiday candy and some julpyssel to hang in the Christmas tree.
Candies that are a must have during the last days before Christmas are knäck - a type of toffee - and ischoklad - ice chocolate made with lots of butter. Both should be kept cool until ready to eat. The toffee will be very hard, though, so be careful not to bite into it before it softens up or you might lose a tooth!
When the ice chocolate is made just right, it will melt in your mouth. Both candies are sure to please children and grandchildren.
Many other delicate candies also adorn the Swedish Christmas table. Brandy balls, Dajm squares, chocolate caramels, mint kisses and chocolate balls with coconut are among the favorites.
For the tree, one or more smällkarameller - Christmas crackers - are a must. They are made with tissue paper and an empty toilet roll, with riboons tied at the end. Usually these can be kept from year to year, but it is always fun to have a couple of fresh ones. They are also fun for children to make.
If you have pets, however, the Christmas crackers often fall into the fun-to-play-with category, and you may need to make new ones each year. Otherwise, keep them high up on the tree - out of reach for naughty cats or dogs.
Two-colored Christmas hearts and bookmark angels are also frequent home-made decorations that can be seen on Swedish trees. Trees are in abundance in Sweden, and are often cut from someone's property with the homeowner's permission.