For 31 years SWEA San Francisco has arranged its popular Christmas
Market. Over 2,700 visitors took the opportunity to experience the Swedish Christmas spirit, buy wonderful gifts and enjoy the Swedish delicacies when this year's Christmas Fair was held on December 6 in St. Mary's Cathedral in San Francisco.

Concept for success
What is it that makes SWEA Christmas Market so immensely popular? Visitors arrive faithfully year after year and some queuing for an hour before the gates open in the morning. One of SWEA's project managers for the Christmas Market, Camilla Podowski explains: "The concept for the Christmas Market has been refined for over 30 years but it's still based on the traditional Christmas activities that all expatriates love and which belong to the Swedish Christmas: food, Christmas decorations, carols and festive fun! At the Christmas Market, guests can get a decent shrimp sandwich or a baked waffle, or buy some Christmas treats to bring home, traditional and modern Christmas decorations in quantities are available for sale, musicians and especially the Lucia procession offer Christmas music! Christmas fun for adults and children, too — in the fishpond, hands-on crafts and a portrait with tomten. Add glögg, gingerbread, coffee with cinnamon buns and all sorts of Scandinavian things on sale, and you have the basis for a fabulous Christmas Market!"

For the whole family
Above all, children have a really festive time at the market. But it also brings families together on even more levels. Since more than 135 SWEA members (and 85 nonmembers that are family or American friends) are involved in the preparation and help during the day, it is natural that even their families attend. Many of the SWEA members selling mulled wine and other goodies have their children nearby. Children spread the Christmas spirit by participating in the Lucia train and by helping at the fishpond or crafting tables, the staff café and in forming friendships that keep year after year. SWEA kids create their own Christmas memories with Swedish traditions and clearly show that SWEA San Francisco's Christmas Market has brilliant prospects for the future.

A new generation of Swedes is growing up caring about our Swedish Christmas traditions. The future looks bright for our Scandinavian community here in western America!

By Cecilia Mases