A White Christmas in Åre

my first White Christmas

Growing up in Australia, I’ve always dreamed of having a White Christmas. Don’t get me wrong, I love Australian Christmases. We have plenty of our own traditions, like Carols by Candlelight, going to the beach, having a BBQ and Santa wearing shorts! It’s just that all the Christmas movies I watched as a kid, made celebrating Christmas in winter look so magical. Being able to rug up in cosy clothes and drink hot chocolates when it’s not 30 degrees outside. Ice skating, the snow falling and building snowmen. And my personal favourite, Christmas Jumpers 🙂

So when we moved to Sweden, I kept my fingers crossed. Unfortunately, the snow didn’t fall until a few days after Christmas that first year. And last year we went back to Australia. So to guarantee a White Christmas this year, we went to Åre in Sweden. Which is roughly 600kms North West of Stockholm, near the Norwegian border. As you probably know by now I don’t love to fly and enjoy travelling by train much more. So we decided to catch the early morning train from Stockholm instead. The train left Stockholm Central Station just before 8 am and takes about 6 and a half hours. It was a really easy trip, comfortable and smooth. Plus I had hours to do heaps of writing and organising for 2018! I didn’t quite get my Harry Potter train experience, but it was close to it.

Getting off the train in Åre was so beautiful. It was just before 3 pm when we got there. So the sun was setting over the gorgeous village and the Christmas lights were sparkling. And, there was snow everywhere!

The hotel

We stayed at the very cool Hotel Fjällgården, which is a beautiful ski lodge about halfway up one of the ski slopes. Due to its location, it was very popular in the afternoons for après ski and then quiet and cosy in the evenings. And there are plenty of cosy corners to relax by a fire with a drink or a good book.

Because it was Christmas there was a beautiful tree set up in the foyer. It was so nice to see as we entered for the first time and it got me super excited for Christmas. As is the tradition here in Sweden, Christmas is celebrated on Christmas Eve. The celebrations start by watching Kalle Anke (Donald Duck) at 3 pm. The hotel had a screen set up in the bar and everyone came in to watch. That evening we celebrated at the hotel with a Christmas inspired local menu, and it was delicious!

Hotel Fjällgården

The hotel itself had the perfect ski lodge vibe to it. There was wood everywhere, multiple fires to sit around and a cosy bar. The rooms are quite small but really nice, with comfy beds. The view from our room was spectacular and we could see the funicular from the balcony.

The most picturesque town ever!

After Christmas, we had a few days just to explore Åre. And I have to say that it’s one of the most picturesque towns I’ve ever been too. The snow was magical and the frozen lake looked amazing even when the weather turned grey and cloudy.

overcoming fears

If you follow me on Instagram you may have already seen my handstand on the frozen lake. It was such a beautiful day and I was already feeling brave about walking on the lake, that I decided to give it a go. I usually only practice handstands with a wall behind me, but I thought I’d give it a go anyway. I was always scared that I might go all the way over and it would hurt. But I figured, what the hell! It turns out that I did go all the way over, and it didn’t hurt at all!

The other moment that I’m really proud of from the trip was the snowmobile tour that we went on. I was not only a little nervous about doing the tour, but I was really really nervous about driving one myself. At the last moment, I nearly chickened out and got on the back of Daniel’s. But I took a deep breath, thought about how proud of myself I would be if I could do it and then got on my own snowmobile. And I’m so glad that I did. I had so much fun. We went out for 4 hours and drove through beautiful paths lined with snow-covered trees, we drove fast over frozen lakes and we saw so much more of the area than we would have otherwise.

Even though this little holiday was short, this was one of my favourites. Christmas was magical and now I’ve ticked ‘White Christmas’ off my bucket list. And I stepped out of my comfort zone and tried things that I was scared of. One of my main focuses for 2018 is to be more courageous. So I feel like this was a great start and I’m feeling confident about giving it a go next year.

I’m looking forward to heading back to Åre at some stage with my snowboard and I highly recommend this as a beautiful and fun location for a getaway.

And of course, Giordie found some time for photobombing 🙂

Cheers, Jess