Sunday, 5 June 2011

Swedish Summer Holiday Rules


Sunglasses for sale at the Spring Market
Straight Out of the Camera Sunday


This time of year, whenever people get talking, the standard question is: “And what are your plans for the summer?”

It’s an implicit rule that you must have plans for the summer.

Holiday plans should always include leaving home for at least a couple of weeks. The longer, the better.

If you have a house and garden of your own, rebuilding the house or digging up the garden may be accepted as “plans”, even if it means staying home.

But if you live in a flat you definitely have to get out of town, or you will be getting very strange looks.

Going away to stay in another town however, is quite all right. Although preferably it should be either a really big one (in Sweden that would be Stockholm) or a small, old and picturesque one. In the summer, any town on the coast or by a lake is okay. (Unless you happen to live there all the year round. Then you should go probably go hiking in search of the North Pole or something for a change.)

The farther away you go, the higher the holiday status.

If you are not going far or doing anything very exciting you should humbly add a “just” or “this year” or something of that sort to show that you are aware of the inferior status. For example: “Oh, we’ll just be at the cottage, as usual.” or “We’ll only be going away for one week this year.”

Since several years now I’m of no use at all when I comes to keeping a normal pre-holiday conversation going. The last time I had “plans” was in 2005 – and even then it was just (see?) to spend less than a week with friends in a town I’ve revisited quite frequently since I used to live there. (Revisiting does not rank high on the wow-scale.)

The next year I actually also spent a few nights away from home, but alas that was in hospital. I guess surgery must be considered an acceptable excuse for not going out of town though.

Possibly I may also be excused for the summer of 2008, because then I made plans to move right in the middle of July. (Not only did I make plans – I actually went through with them. But they did not take me out of town!)

If I had had any plans for the two following summers, they would have been thwarted anyway because of family troubles. So from my own point of view just as well that I never even did get round to much planning. In pre-holiday conversations however, it is of course the planning that matters.

To “take the day as it comes” is really only acceptable if you are planning to do it somewhere else. Then people say ah and oh and how good that sounds and oughtn’t everyone to do that more.

But if you plan to take the day as it comes from your own flat, then you get raised eyebrows, and the ah’s in a different tone of voice.

So at times I feel a certain pressure that I should at least pretend to have some kind of grand plan for the summer. But now it’s June already, and I haven’t even come up with a pretend plan yet! On the other hand, since I don’t really get a specific vacation anyway (not having a job to get time off from!) I suppose I might get away with pretending that perhaps I’ll do something “later”…

Who knows. Maybe some day I will.


  1. Oh, this is TOO good Monica!!!! I could have posted this very same thing, thanks for doing it for me! It is the very same here! Only you have made it quite funny! A few months ago, I commented that Phil and I have never been on a vacation in over 40 years of marriage. Well, the horrified outcry, such a thing is unheard of!! My daughter-in-law still tries to get us to go away after 16 years of trying. But you see, my bones and joints and other things are not well, and I do not travel good! Do people remember "The Wizard Of Oz"? There's no place like home! And that it true for me. We enjoy a day trip to nearby cultural cities now and then, otherwise I am content to be where I am. Of course I may like to go away to cool places, if it didn't involve any traveling!!

  2. this is soooo funny, it is all true here to, and like you the last time we had "plans" was 2005, that is when we rescued Jake and had 3 big dogs and no sitter, so have not had "plans" since then. maybe you could come stay here with the dogs and we could come stay in your flat and we would both have something to talk about. I LOVE THIS POST. still laughing.
    people do that to me, they will say so, what are your plans for the weekend? i say the same thing i do every day, nothing. they look like i am mad as a hatter. so you and Ginny and I are all in the same boat, stay at home people. i am like ginny, i like my own house and bed. when we were taking 2 vacations a year, before dogs, it was only for 2 or 3 days, by the 3rd night i was whining i want to go home. thanks for my afternoon happy hour

  3. Funny!
    It's the same here in Norway, and we're the sort of people who always have plans :-) but I can see that it might be annoying always hearing about people's plans.

  4. Ginny, it is much the same thing with me: I do not travel well. I'd love to explore new places for a change sometimes - if it did not involve the actual travelling...

    Sandra, even in my wildest imagination (nightmares) I don't think I would have been able to come up with the pretend plan to go and spend the summer alone with three big dogs... in Florida or anywhere! ;)

  5. What a fabulous post and fun photo. I always have plans, some come to fruition some don't, but I'm a planner, for sure.

  6. mostraum, I find the problem lies more in our "conversations patterns" than in actual facts. It's not that I get green with envy listening to everyone else's plans; I just hate it when my own "nothing much" seems to throw a spanner in the works - not really for me, mind, but for them!

  7. Jan, yes, for one thing people are different personalities, and for another sometimes circumstances force us to change our patterns. I used to be more of a planner than I am now. It was easier when my body didn't protest quite so much!

  8. I have a sister-in-law who travels purely so she can send post cards and let others know that she's been on vacation.

  9. Janet, I used to send postcards whenever I went anywhere. Now I take photos even if I don't go anywhere. I blog, therefore I am!

  10. LOL! Aren't stayvacation the in thing now? I love being at home in the summer in Sweden!

  11. This post has really made me think, Monica. After all, I live in two places on opposite sides of the world and spend so much time when in both countries going to tournaments or visiting friends and family - most of whom live far away from me - that I never have time for a holiday. Indeed for me a 'holiday' is time at home. Alternatively one could say that I am always on holiday. Which would be nearer the truth! I must make some plans to stay at home!!


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