Laura Winterhalter, Manager/Buyer at The Shop at Scandinavia House
“To me Christmas means being with my family, it means good food and conversation. We go home to my family in Cincinnati, Ohio; my mother’s got a strong sense of holiday traditions and the house is always very well decorated, very tasteful. My Dad always makes an anniversary punch, and there’s always a fire in the fireplace. Christmas really is a whole week of celebration in my family. Myself, I collect ornaments from all over the world, and I decorate my house with holly, fresh pine, and candles. And then of course there’s all the cooking and the baking.”

Sarah Garvey, Manager of Communications, Scandinavia House
“Christmas is the time of the year to celebrate sentiments that you practice all year around. There’s always a certain generosity and kindness that people acknowledge around Christmas, and that makes me very happy. My parents always have a glögg party and they take their glögg mugs and walk around in the cold nights, enjoying the Christmas decorations. I like that a lot. My nana used to make us rice pudding. And of course there’s the Christmas tree! When I was little we used to bring the TV into the living room so that we could enjoy both the TV and the Christmas tree at the same time! That was always something special.”

Carolyn Peterson, Development Assistant, Scandinavia House
“Christmas means spending time with the entire family, cousins, aunts and uncles. It’s the only time we’re gathered together in one place. My family enjoys the outdoors so there’s a lot of skiing and hiking. When it’s Christmas we take time off from our normal schedule of life.”

Ben Zweig, Assistant to the President, Scandinavia House
“The most important thing about Christmas is family, meeting with friends and family you haven’t seen in a long time. Most family members are gathered, and it’s a perfect time for reflection as the year comes to an end. We celebrate a secular Christmas, what’s important is to be together, to eat, see each other, and talk.”

For more info on Scandinavia House and the American Scandinavian Foundation, see