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Few homes have documented their objects and habits as the Hallwyls family who lived at Hamngatan in Stockholm 1898-1930. In their catalogs, one can for example read about how the family celebrated Christmas in 1920.
The home was cleaned thoroughly before Christmas but was decorated sparingly. Perhaps because the amazing interior was so sumptuous all year long. The Christmas tree though, was important and had a central place in the dining room.
The Christmas Tree
The tree and, above all, the lights in it, were important and had their traditions and rituals. The tree was decorated with burning candles and a star in the top, in addition to that it was also dressed with angels, sweets from Oscar Bergs Confectionery, glitters, bells, colored balls, trumpets, birds, etc.
There were also very strict rituals connected to the tree and its light. The tree was purchased at Norrmalmstorg and should be brought into the palace with the top first. And the other way around, with the root end first, when the tree was thrown out on January 2nd. Two and two, the lights would sit, be lit and blown out. It never should be 13 light burning at the same time in the grain.
The service people had their own tree in the kitchen, which had its own decoration. In that one the Swedish flag and other sweets was hung. In the dance that took place throughout the palace, both masters and servants participated. At the piano, traditional Swedish Christmas songs were played. The service people were thanked for the year with Christmas gifts - Oscar Berg's candy and a 100 swedish crowns, which was a very generous Christmas bonus equivalent to almost a third year's salary. In addition to that, the gentlemen got a bottle of punsch and the women some bibelot.
During the Christmas supper, men and women sat down at separate tables. Ham, stockfish, butter, bread, porridge and the special butter cake ( filled with apple mash and sweet almond). Instead of the classic almond, the Hallwyl family had a white little porcelain doll in the porridge, so you needed to be careful not to swallow it or damage your teeth.
Walter von Hallwyl took care of the distributing the Christmas presents. Walter reads the rhyme and the rest of the family members guessed what the wrapped gifts contained.