This squirrel was having a ball the other day with the traditional julenek we have hanging around the store.

An explanation of julenek (or julkarva), taken from a previous blog post..

A julenek (Norwegian and Danish) or julkarva (Swedish) is a sheaf of grain hung on a tree or pole as a Christmas treat for the birds. One of the most popular symbols in Scandinavia today, they are sold on street corners in the weeks before Christmas. Few homes are without one.

The tradition is actually from olden times, when people believed that taking care of the animals and spirits during the coldest, darkest days of winter would cause good luck and a bountiful harvest the following summer.

Like other winter sostice traditions in rural Scandinavia, it eventually became part of the celebration of Christmas. On farms, the peace of Christmas began before sundown on December 24th, when the sheaf was tied to a pole and erected in the farm yard. It was thought to be very lucky if birds flocked to it as it was being hung.