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What Does the Dala Horse Symbolize?

swedish dala horseIf 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.

Special Scandinavian Crafts and Goods for Christmas

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.

What Distinguishes the Swedish Mailbox?

Swedish Mailbox | SwedensFinest.com

Winters in Sweden are notoriously cold, but that doesn’t stop the postal service. The postboxes need to be built tough to endure the months of below freezing temperatures. Over the years, the bright red steel mailbox with its crown-and-horn logo has become part of Swedish iconography. Whether you love the aesthetics of the Swedes or you’re looking for a reliable postbox, there’s plenty to love about the traditional Swedish mailbox.

These postboxes are made with galvanized steel and are completely weatherproofed. With dimensions of 15 ¼’’ x 10.5” x 5”, there’s plenty of room for all your mail. Many people attach them directly to their house or fence by first mounting them on some wood.

Curious about the story behind the crown-and-horn logo? It’s a variation of the official logo for the Swedish postal service, the PostNord Sverige. Their postal service was established in 1636, and by the 18th century, it was operating nationwide. Today, their logo is a simplified crown and horn in blue and yellow, but the more detailed version endures on these iconic mailboxes. The crown in the logo is a tribute to the Tre Kronor or Three Crowns, the national emblem of Sweden. The horn is a callback to the post horn, used in the 18th and 19th centuries to announce the arrival of the mail.

Memorable Scandinavian Gifts

Scandinavian Crafts | SwedensFinest.com

Are you looking for presents that exemplify the many charms of Scandinavia? Thanks to online shopping at SwedensFinest.com, it’s easier than ever to find the perfect Scandinavian crafts and gifts for your family and friends. You can order items made by Scandinavian artists and craftspeople from anywhere in the United States. Here are some popular presents to get you started on your shopping journey.

Scandinavian Knitting Motifs: Do you know someone who loves to knit? Get them a book listing the many famous Scandinavian motifs. These patterns are famous worldwide for their geometric beauty and intricate designs.

Alder Wood Trivets: There’s nothing better than hot food on cold days. However, no one wants to damage the table with a scorching dish. Hand-carved alder wood trivets are perfect for protecting tables while also enhancing the aesthetics of the table setting.

Almond Cake Pans and Trays: Almond cake is a beloved dessert in every Scandinavian country with many different variations available. An almond cake pan or tray would make a great gift for any baker in your life—and maybe you’ll get to enjoy the results as well!

Straw Christmas Goat: Every Yuletide season, goats decorate homes throughout Scandinavia. You may have also heard of the giant Gävle goat erected each year, which is infamous for getting burnt down by vandals before Christmas almost annually. Give your loved one his or her own straw goat to enjoy during the holidays; however, we definitely do not recommend burning it.

 

A Brief History of Dala Horses

Swedish Dala Horse | SwedensFinest.com

The little wooden horses of Sweden were originally carved by men that worked in the forests during the winter. When they returned to their villages, they gave the horses to children as playthings. This was in the 17th century during which the horses were also sold at market in small towns and villages in the Dalarna region, in central Sweden. The horses were painted in bright colors that were inspired by the furniture in the region. Eventually, even young children learned to carve wooden horses, and, in 1928, one family founded a business producing the Dala horses. They are still producing the horses today in the village of Nusnäs in Dalarna.

The colorful wooden horse debuted internationally at the world fair in Paris in 1936, where it garnered enough attention that the Swedish committee at the fair decided to showcase the horses at the next fair. In 1939, at the New York World’s Fair, a Dala wooden horse became notable around the world. That was because an enormous painted Dala horse was placed outside the Swedish pavilion, which caused excitement throughout the crowds of visitors. In the year following the exhibition, it’s been said that more than 20,000 Dala horses were shipped to New York and the Swedish Dala horse immediately became a symbol for Sweden.

 

Welcome to Our Blog

Welcome to our blog! Thank you for your interest in our Swedish gift shop. We are pleased to serve numerous visitors to our Fort Myers, FL, store as well as on our full-scale online store. Our online Swedish “superstore” carries an expansive inventory of cards, chimes, food, and Scandinavian gifts. Choose a slice of Scandinavian life when you shop at our store for stunning crystal, Danish paper cuts, books, jewelry, unique Christmas items, toys, and more. We invite you to enjoy shopping among our authentic Scandinavian gifts that expose you to the wonderful culture and traditions of Scandinavia.

One of our owners is Swedish, and most of her family still lives in Sweden. With her in-depth knowledge of Sweden and her family connections to many Scandinavian artists and craftspeople, we have been able to offer a comprehensive collection of exclusive Scandinavian gifts.

Our popular store is known for its Swedish souvenirs as well as its fine Swedish designs of coffee mugs, decorations, handmade wares, and handicrafts. We ship products to buyers throughout the United States and worldwide. You can find the special gifts you seek for any occasion at our genuine Swedish gift shop. We welcome you to our site and invite you to enjoy gaining a better understanding of another culture.