Glad Midsommar or Happy Midsummer to all of our wonderful customers from all of us at The Gift Box/Scandinavian Imports in beautiful downtown Geneva!
The GIft Box is now open to the public, but taking precautions. We are requiring our customers to wear face masks and to social distance 6 feet apart when shopping inside our store. We will allow no more than 10 people at one time to shop inside the store. We are keeping communal surfaces clean and we have a bottle of hand sanitizer at our check out counter for our customers. We are following Illinois state guidlines for the protection of ourselves and our customers during the COVID-19 virus pandemic.
Please call us at 630 232-4151 during opening hours. We don't have voicemail but Jeanne checks our caller ID and calls back any of you who might have called outside of working hours. You may also email our website or contact us via social media (Facebook) for product inquiries, or mail orders. We also have curbside pickup for customers who prefer to call ahead and pay for their items over the phone.
For the first time in over 70 years the ever popular Swedish Days event in Geneva was cancelled due to the ongoing health pandemic which is occurring all over the world. *Tomorrow, Saturday, June 20 is Summer Solstice, the longest day of the year. *Sunday June 21st Good Templar Park is selling Swedish food from 9am-2pm. You can drive through to pick it up, eat at the picnic tables provided, or bring your own blanket to picnic on the grass! The Geneva Chamber of Commerce is providing many on line events for next week during what would have been Swedish Days in Geneva. Check their website www.genevachamber.com
Swedish Midsummer Celebrations and Traditions
The word Midsommar or Midsummer to a Swede holds joy and visions of sunny meadows, shimmering waters, music from an accordion or fiddle, and dancing around the majstång or maypole. The celebration of sommarsolståndet, the Summer Solstice, the the longest day of the year following the shortest night. Since the 1950s Swedes have celebrated Midsummer's Day on the Saturday closest to June 24, following Midsummer's Eve. This summer holiday has become one of the most Swedish of all traditional festivals, after Christmas. The word maj used in majstång has nothing to do with the month of May but is derived from the old Swedish word maja meaning to adorn with leaves or deck with branches. This practice is thought to be imported from Germany to Sweden sometime during the late middle ages. In pre-christian times, the maypole or midsummer pole symbolized both the male and the female and fertility rites. People adorned themselves in ferns, and also decorated their houses, farms and tools with foliage, in addition to raising leafy maypoles. Today in Sweden, local wildflowers are gathered, and flowered head wreaths or blomsterkrans are made and worn by everyone during midsummer festivities.
Many Swedish towns and villages, especially famous in the province of Dalarna, decorate a maypole whish is proudly displayed in the the town square. The maypole or midsummer pole is a tall cross clad with leaves and flowers. It is decorated early in the day by people in the community usually with birch twigs , leaves, and flowers. Large hand made flower wreaths and ribbons are added to the leafy pole. In the afternoon the maypole is raised in the center of the village square or in a field. Then everyone gathers around the maypole to begin the dances. There are usually games and competitions with the children, ring dances and traditional dancing and singing games.
Even though this year, 2020, we are not able to gather together in Geneva to celebrate Midsummer, we hope that you will all celebrate with your families at home. The Gift Box has been your headquarters for all things Swedish, and all of Scandinavian, in gifts and food for over 72 years.
Please stop in and see us during Midsummer week, we look forward to seeing you!
NEW ARRIVALS 2020
-We now carry Batavia artist Kathy McPartlands new books about Geneva and Good Templar Park! We have also received a new shipment of her counter cards. Her cards subject matter is all things Geneva and our wonderful local park Good Templar Park.
-New shipment of counter cards downstairs has arrived.
-New cards from a wonderful Minnesota artist have arrived upstairs across from the check out counter.
-We also received a new shipment of Norwegian cheese slicers with wooden handles.
-We also now sell ceramic cookie stamps again in many patterns. They have been unavailalbe for a few years but are now back in production.
Photos from past Swedish Days and Good Templar park events: