Christmas in Sweden is a little different than in the United States.
For opener, people celebrate the holiday Dec. 24, where families gather for a big meal, presents and a smorgasbord of television classics that begin at 3 p.m.
Those are the memories shared by Red Wings center Joakim Andersson and forward Gustav Nyquist. They remember the pickled herring, jellied pigs feet, meatballs, rice porridge and ham.
They often received an early gift to keep them busy during the day. But then came the anticipated knock on the door when Santa brought presents.
“If you’ve been nice, Santa shows up with gifts,” Nyquist said. “You obviously had your wish list and were hoping to get something on it. But for me it is not a big deal now. It is a fun holiday for family.”
While most pro players don’t dwell on receiving the big gift today, as kids they were all about the fun.
Pistons guard Reggie Jackson said his most memorable gift was a bike he got when he was about five years old.
“The best part was sneaking around with your brothers to see if Santa came early,” Jackson said.
The best gift for Waterford native Dylan Larkin, a Red Wings rookie, was a collie he named Maggie, who remains the family pet today.