Ben posted a video "Swedish Lucia For Dummies" that is unafraid to mention that this is a deeply pagan festival. Distilled cuteness covers a multitude of sins, I guess, as even the Covenanters celebrate it, as we will this year. (I'm betting the Swedish Baptist churches dropped it, though. Are there even any of those left?)
Cute. Cute costumes. Our two oldest had their shot at being tomten and star boys, and Emily will be a tomter for the first time this year. Kyle and the two Romanians came too late for that.
Interesting that it is still celebrated in Sweden. Though they are at times a hypertraditional people who like to make sure that everyone is on the same page and doing the same thing. An online American commenter mentioned how much he loved living in Sweden until he got to Christmas and noticed that every house in town was decorated in exactly the same fashion. then he couldn't get out fast enough. I mentioned in reply that there were suburbs here (I was thinking Bedford) with remarkably similar decorations for blocks on end but he dismissed that. I know what you mean, but this was much more intense. ABBA has been around for 40 years now but they haven't worked that in.* You laugh. American Christmas adds new traditions every year, many of them deplorable. Stupid songs not allowed to die a natural death, reanimated each December like some undead simulacrum of humor or worse, oversentimentalised stories about poor children getting various versions of the-greatest-gift-of-all: shoes, a friend, a sense of wonder, Daddy finally returning after years of profligate wandering, a wink from Santa, a puppy. Plus John Lennon being self-righteous. That's always fun.
My town is much more mixed, with some front-lit greenery and single-candle-per-window neighborhoods, some splashy, tacky, riotous displays, a fair mix of the idiosyncratic, and a whole lot of houses with no decoration. One of our neighbors has an overfull, random display of illuminated (some even flash!) objects - though there is a creche and many santas - such as a 6-foot giraffe with stocking cap next to a large frog.
*Yes, ABBA had that Lennon-lite "Happy New Year," but that was pretty endurable. And they did a very nice job with actual carols.
You can skip the longish introduction here.