One year, I was browsing through the Christmas paraphernalia at Ikea and noticed that all of it – decorations, trees, wrapping paper, cards – was labelled “snömys” so I tried to translate that from Swedish to English… and stumped Google. Next, I emailed an Australian friend who had lived in Sweden for many years and this is what she said:
- Snö = snow
- Mys is probably related to “mysig” which means something like cosy, pleasant, nice. Close to gemuetlich, I think, in German.
- So I’d guess overall something like “snow fun” or “the joy of snow”.
You have, no doubt, noticed that a lot of Christmas is based on winter and I now think of this as “snömys” (which I treat as a plural because it works for me but I know that’s not a fair translation of the Swedish) and here is a list of very common snömys you’re likely to see:
They don’t actually work in Australia’s summery Christmasses so I avoid them but there’s no harm in them and they’re religion-free and hence inoffensive to all. So go ahead and ice up our summerfest with winter imagery if you think it’s cool.
 And snowmen. The worst Christmas of my life was the year that my brother Matthew was seven and would not stop playing “Frosty the Snowman”. Eventually, I hid the tape but then he started playing it on the recorder which was worse.
 Fir is also a snömy but is usually seen in pots rather than on Santas.