On December 9 the Swedish-American Chamber of Commerce held its annual Christmas Luncheon at Fairmont Hotel on top of Nob Hill in San Francisco. The luncheon took place in the Venetian room, its ambience bringing to mind an old European castle and setting the mood for a traditional Christmas celebration.
The chairman of the organization, Nils Welin, welcomed guests and toasted with mulled wine and ginger cookies. And so, the annual Christmas Luncheon began.

The traditional Swedish Christmas buffet offered a lot of delicacies such as meatballs, Janssons Temptation, herring, cured salmon and ham made by Swedish chef Pelle Nilsson and the Fairmont Hotel. Laughter and conversations were mixed with schnapps songs and aquavit. Guests enjoyed the lunch with wine provided by Field Vineyards and beer from Spaten.
As the mood reached its “Christmas peak” the lights slowly started to fade and master of ceremonies, Ted Olsson, began to tell the story about Santa Lucia. As he ended with the words, “Hark through the darksome night,” Lucia and her “tärnor” entered the room. With candles casting the only light in the room, the Lucia song touched everyone. The performance ended with 10-year-old Annie Byström singing “Så mörk är natten.”
After Lucia and her entourage left it was time for coffee and ris a la Malta, a traditional Swedish dessert. The chairman of the board, Nils Welin, announced the winners of the raffle, including two SAS tickets to Sweden, a night at the Fairmont Hotel, tickets to San Francisco Ballet and much more!
This, the last event of the year, was an excellent opportunity to announce the Member of the Year. This year’s winner was Lotta Byström. Her incredible dedication to the chamber and its interns was a part of the motivation which named her the winner. She recruits new interns and makes sure everyone feels welcome in San Francisco, which has been very much appreciated both by past and current interns.
Members of the chamber and their guests really made this an incredible event and a perfect end to 2011. Now the Swedish-American Chamber of Commerce in San Francisco and Silicon Valley looks forward to a new year with new happenings and events! SACC-SF/SV wants to take this opportunity to wish everyone a Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year!

By Emma Lööf Björnram