If you’re familiar with Sweden at all, you’ve likely seen the Dalecarlian or Dala horse before. It’s one of the most popular images of Swedish folk art, often carved from wood or appearing in prints and patterns. Unfortunately, however, no one can say for sure what the original meaning or story behind the horses is.
Swedish woodcarvers have produced wooden horses for centuries, typically as toys for children. References to wooden horses for sale date back to the 17th century. These early horses typically weren’t painted like the more modern Dala horses. Painting the horses a solid color became common in the 19th century, with further painted decorations coming later.
There is one popular tale about the origin of the Swedish Dala horse, although it cannot be verified. The story goes that in the winter of 1716, while King Charles XII waged war, soldiers were quartered in many private homes. However, food was scarce for all. One soldier carved a horse, painted it, and presented it to the child in the home he was staying. In return for the toy, the child’s mother gave the soldier a bowl of soup. They repeated this exchange, and soon, other soldiers began craving horses to barter for food. Thus, the Dala horse is said to have helped the Swedish army survive the long winter.
The Christmas season is special for Scandinavians. It’s been celebrated in the region for centuries, with many of the oldest traditions persisting even today. The snowy landscape itself looks like something from a Christmas card. Furthermore, the cultural emphasis on “hygge,” or a sense of cozy togetherness, dovetails nicely with the holiday.
You too can bring Scandinavians charm to your Christmas by choosing the ideal gifts for your loved ones. With so many Scandinavian crafts and goods available to order online, it’s easy to find the perfect present for everyone special in your life. We recommend the following décor and gifts to make your holiday memorable.
Seasonal Papercut Mobiles: Papercrafts are popular worldwide, including in Scandinavia. For a small gift that’s sure to charm anyone, you can’t go wrong with a seasonal papercut mobile.
3D Paper Christmas Trees and Stars: Papercraft miniature trees and stars are great for beautifying any Christmas display. They are also great for brightening up table settings.
Cookbooks: The chefs and bakers in your circle will enjoy trying out authentic Scandinavian recipes. Also, if you cook as well, you’re sure to find the perfect recipe for Christmas dinner in these cookbooks.
Straw Yule Goat: As a traditional Christmas display, straw Yule goats can be found in homes and businesses across Sweden during the holiday season. Add one to your own home or gift it to a friend.
Our products make perfect gifts and can brighten up your home as well. Make the Christmas season special with authentic Scandinavian crafts and goods.