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  • Oct 20, 2014

Design New Holiday Memories This Year at the American Swedish Institute

Winter Wonderland: A Nordic Christmas

November 15, 2014 —January 11, 2015

From Christmas elves, kick-sled races, gingerbread house-making, to the ASI Christmas Rooms and Julmarknad, ASI’s signature holiday market,  discover the magical tradition of Christmas at the Castle as the American Swedish Institute transforms its city-block campus in to a winter wonderland November 15, 2014 —January 11, 2015.  

Winter Wonderland: A Nordic Christmas kicks off on November 15 (10 a.m. – 5 p.m.) with Winter Wonderland Kick-Off Family Day, a day of musical performances and activities that are sure to set the stage for a season of good jul.   Make holiday crafts and Christmas ornaments, help create the community Advent calendar, take your picture with Tomte, the Swedish Christmas elf, and more (included with museum admission.)

"The Future Is A Long Story" By Ingalena Klennel

Travel through the holiday traditions of the five Nordic countries (perhaps the world’s most magical winter wonderland) in Christmas By Design: ASI’s Christmas Rooms. This year, the iconic rooms in the historic Turnblad Mansion highlight the distinct design traditions of each country and showcase how design plays a role in creating holiday traditions. Swedish glass artist Ingalena Klenell’s masterful glass table setting, “The Future is a Long Story” is the focal point of the Swedish room. Klenell leads an in-gallery “Nordic Encounter” lecture of her work on Saturday, November 15 and Sunday, November 16.  Featured designers include Arne Jacobsen (Denmark) and Aino-Maija Metsola, Harri Koskinen, and Alvar Aalto of Finland. A sixth holiday room highlights the work of Minnesota’s own design community and its deep roots in Scandinavian design – featuring work by Blu Dot, Forage Modern Workshop and The Foundry Home goods of Minneapolis. 

The tastes of the holiday season are celebrated in a new exhibit, Nordic Inspired, American Made, a look at how the Minnesota based bake ware company Nordic Ware has helped families share heritage and holiday traditions through food.  Create your own holiday food traditions by joining ASI for one of three Julbord, a delightful Christmas smörgåsbord with all of the fixings and live music. Families can decorate their own pre-made gingerbread houses at Family Gingerbread House Celebration on November 30 (1 & 3 p.m.)

Join ASI for the biggest weekend of the season: Julmarknad, a European-inspired holiday market featuring the work of 25 local artisans and craftspeople on December 6 and 7. Music, craft activities, and FIKA’s holiday bake-sale are all special moments in this weekend of family fun. Meet Tomte on Saturday and Santa on Sunday.

Music brings magic and light to the darkest time of year. Join ASI for Lucia Concerts (December 13 and 14) and Making Traditions,the Sunday series featuring music in the Mansion by ASI performing choirs and drop-in holiday handcraft for kids.

Children of all ages will get lost in the imaginary world of Tomte’s Bakeshop – a delightful place to discover Christmas traditional favorites from the bakery as well as a safe space to dream big and design your own baked delights.  Learn the stories and reasons behind Tomtes, Julbocks and other Swedish holiday traditions at ASI’s youth and family programs including Lucia’s Legend and Hide and Seek with Tomte and the Great Tomte Find throughout the historic Turnblad Mansion.

Transport yourself to a Stockholm-inspired town square right in the heart of Minneapolis. ASI’s cozy Holiday Square invites visitors to celebrate the beauty of winter while exploring the magnificent grounds of the Turnblad Mansion. Get a cup of cocoa, or take a jaunt on ASI’s custom kicksled course (weather permitting).  

Reflect on 85 years of Christmas celebrations at ASI through the retrospective exhibit Christmas at the Castle: A Look Back. Learn about Swedish Christmas traditions such as St. Lucia Day and the julbord in this playful jaunt through the ASI photo archives.

The ASI Jul Shop (November 7-January 11) has everything you need to give the gifts of Scandinavian tradition and Nordic design including: Saturday candy (yum!), tomtes, lights, holiday cookbooks, and contemporary Nordic jewelry.

Explore the Turnblad Mansion during extended museum hours this holiday season. ASI expands museum hours to open at 10 a.m. Tuesday – Saturday from November 15, 2014 – January 11, 2015.  ASI opens early on Black Friday (November 23— 8-10 a.m., free museum admission and special museum shop offers) and stays open late Wednesday nights until 8 p.m.. ASI’s Winter Solstice Celebration lights up winter’s longest night with bonfires, Scandinavian s’mores and more (December 21— 3-7 p.m.). Lilla Julafton (“Little Christmas Eve”) (December 23—3-8 p.m.) offers the perfect evening for last minute holiday shopping, a special dinner at FIKA and the chance to help ASI decorate the community Christmas Tree.



The 2014 ASI holiday season is proudly presented by ASI contributing members and donors, and the Anne Ray Charitable Trust.

Related activities are made possible by the voters of Minnesota through a Minnesota State Arts Board operating Support grant, thanks to a legislative appropriation from the arts and cultural heritage fund, and a grant from the Wells Fargo Foundation of Minnesota.

Nordic Inspired, American Made and related holiday food events are made possible thanks to the generous support of Nordic Ware, a local manufacturer of fine kitchenware products.

Making Traditions is generously supported by Mike and Barb Nelson.

The 2014 Lucia Choir season is supported in part by a gift in memory of Margaret Ingebord Olson Robillard.

For a complete list of holiday activities and to register for the special events, call 612-871-4907 or visit


Founded in 1929 by Swedish immigrant newspaper publisher Swan J. Turnblad, ASI serves as a gathering place for people to share stories and experiences around universal themes of tradition, migration, craft and the arts, all informed by enduring ties to Sweden.

Museum hours (Nov. 15, 2014 – Jan. 11, 2015) : Tue., Thu., Fri., Sat. 10 a.m. –5 p.m., Wed. 10 a.m. – 8 p.m., and Sun. 12 –5 p.m. Museum admission: $9 adults, $7 ages 62+, $5 ages 6-18 and students with ID. For directions or more information, visit

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