Living Entertaining:

Nordic Christmas

Photography by Sarah Elliott
Contact Goods We Love for further information
Wreath by James’s Daughter Flowers

I have never been to Copenhagen but somehow I feel a connection to the city, the people, the overall way of life, and the Scandinavian aesthetic. There is an understated minimalism and high-quality craftsmanship that seems to emanate from this region of the world. The furnishings are simple, yet with a tendency toward subtle curves, a light and pale color palette, and natural materials, they command attention. And Scandinavians know just when to stop—the philosophy is always less is more! This point of view is without doubt influencing us here in America. For years and years, Camilla Vest had been answering the question “Where did you get that?” from her American friends. And often, the answer was that the goods at hand were imported from her mother city, Copenhagen. Finally, after realizing an obvious void in the American marketplace, Camilla created Goods We Love with her now-partner, Ricky Nordson. The two began repping brands previously impossible to find here in America.

I first featured Goods We Love on EyeSwoon last year as they recapped their 5 swoon-worthy things for the home. I was instantly obsessed with the form and function of their OGK daybed and yearned to learn more about the aesthetic. So this holiday season, I could not help but to want to experience the Nordic style of Christmas with Camilla and Ricky, the Danes I love so dearly. The restrained Scandinavian approach to design is even more evident at Christmas, where it is in stark contrast to the more-is-more American holiday aesthetic. No disrespect to our cherished holiday traditions in any way, but we tend to pile it on–green and red and lights all over! If there is ever a time for garish, over-the-top Americana, it is now—Christmas draws it out of us all. It’s even more reason for me to take a breather and experience the holiday the light and bright, Scandi way. Trade a bright red poinsettia for a sprig of greenery. And rather than twinkly, colorful lights, let a single candle make a statement.

As Camilla and I decided upon this Nordic holiday EyeSwoon feature, she invited me into her stunning SoHo loft to show me the Nordic holiday way. We baked and we set a stunning table together as I learned about the traditions she holds so dear. Bathed in a blanket of white, each of her classic Danish furnishings had its moment to shine and be appreciated. And stark the space was not—it felt layered in its minimalism and calming, to say the least. There was a clean, neutral palette with warm woods and touches of metal found in the brass tray table. My eyes fell upon simple items like perfectly soft kitchen linens, a single brass candle holder by Ilse Crawford, white ceramic vessels with delicate ribbed texture by Lyngby, and olive wood cutting boards and spoons by a favorite woodworker, Andrea Brugi. Upon the OGK daybed I’d long admired sat an effortless, textural wreath by talented NYC-based florist Lisa Przystup of James’s Daughter Flowers. Everything held its own. The pieces were selected for quality, not quantity. As I walked about the home from the kitchen to the bathroom to the dining room, the design thread was obvious. The furniture and tablewares were refined and pared-down at once, and they had an assertive elegance that felt like it was rooted somewhere else.

Camilla and I talked about some of the classic Nordic traditions surrounding the holidays, like making glogg, a kind of mulled wine, and baking brunkager, crisp, brown and paper-thin Danish cookies that incorporate the classic spices of cinnamon and cloves. Camilla spoke of the Advent candle and how it holds a significant presence in the home during the entire month of December. We talked a lot about the use of candlelight at this time of year, and Camilla shared that every morning before her children sit at the table and eat their breakfast before rushing off to school, she lights a single candle, just for the appreciation of candlelight. Candlelight is everything to the Scandinavian way of life, particularly in the winter. The Danish have a word for it—it is called hygge, which essentially translates to creating a cheerful, cozy atmosphere at home during the brutal, cold months. It’s a feeling, an experience—food, candlelight, warmth, family and friends, all expressing a blissful spirit of winter and of Christmas—and always, surrounded by beautiful, simple things.

In this post:
OGK Safari Daybed, designed by Ole Gjerløv-Knudsen, manufactured by Skovshoved Møbelfabrik & Co.
Georg Stool, designed by Christina Liljenberg Halstrøm for Skagerak.
Edge Pot, designed by Stilleben for Skagerak. Available in the US early spring 2017. For further information, contact
Edge Brass Plate, designed by Stilleben for Skagerak. Available in the US early spring 2017. For further information, contact
Cookie Candle Holder, designed by Ditte Buus Nielsen for Skagerak. Available in the US early spring 2017. For further information, contact
No 7 Chair, designed by Helge Sibast for Sibast Furniture.
Lyngby Porcelain Vase, designed by Lyngby Porcelain.
Tray Table, designed by Mette Hagedorn for BASE212.
Cutting Board, designed by Andrea Brugi.
Ilse Candle Holder – Brass, designed by Ilse Crawford for Georg Jensen.
Stackable Glass, designed by Norm Architects for Menu.
Matte White Big Spherical Lidded Container, designed by Julie Bonde.

Stainless Steel Pitcher, designed by Henning Koppel for Georg Jensen.

Goods We Love


Camilla Vest

How would you describe the ethos of Goods We Love?

Our priority has always been to carry a selection of classic and contemporary Danish furniture and accessories. We give our clients a sense of how we use our products in a curated setting, using my loft as a showroom. We select brands that have a story, craftsmanship and Nordic simplicity. Just beautiful and functional items that will make your home feel complete.

Briefly, how did you come to do what you do?

I came to New York more than 20 years ago and began a successful modeling career. I have always had a passion for timeless Scandinavian design–I think I was 18 years old when I bought my first PK22 chair. My home in New York was a great inspiration to my friends–and still is–and they were always asking, “Where can I get this?” So, I thought it was a great time to start a business carrying a handful of Danish designs that are beautiful, functional and timeless.

Tell us about the genesis of your business.

Goods We Love was founded three years ago, together with creative director Ricky Nordson. We met each other in our kids’ schoolyard in Tribeca and shortly after we got introduced and discovered we shared an interest in home design, we started GWL design agency.

How would you describe the Scandinavian aesthetic and craftsmanship in a few words?

Well-made and timeless. Simplicity and form follows function.

Can you a bit talk about how you choose to rep certain designers?

Craftsmanship and design are vital for the brands we represent. Every brand needs to be able to “work” with the other brands, so when we carry them in our showroom they fit well into our curated settings.

What are your best-selling pieces?

  • The OGK Safari Daybed by Ole Gjerløv-Knudsen, designed back in 1962 for his son, who was going on a camping trip.
  • The Seal Lounge Chair by Ib Kofod-Larsen. Midcentury piece from 1956–a true icon.
  • Our brass tray table. Every home needs a bit of bling, even for us Scandinavians!

How would you describe the aesthetic of your home?

Light has always been essential to me and my family. Our home features many windows and a skylight that brightens up the loft, even on rainy days. I have always followed my intuition when it comes to deciding on furniture pieces that work both aesthetically and functionally. I prefer a mix of high-end classics and more affordable pieces. Our white flooring gives our interior a modern and simple look, and it makes it easier to bring in a touch of bling, like our brass tray table. I guess I’m a fan of down-played luxury.

Can you share some classic Nordic holiday traditions?

During December we love to decorate our homes and make every night very cozy. The Danish word “hygge” is a perfect description of how we like to be with our family and friends. We start the holiday season with the Advent wreath. One of the wreath’s four candles is lit every Sunday in December. We bake traditional Christmas cookies like brunkager and vanillekranse. The aroma from baking the cookies kicks off everybody’s Christmas spirit.

It is very traditional to be hosting a Christmas lunch with foods like curried herring, cured salmon and roasted pork belly on our rye bread, drinking beer and snaps.

For Christmas Eve, we light up our tree with real candles and the whole family dances around the tree singing Christmas carols.

Visually, how does a Scandinavian Christmas differ from the classic American aesthetic?

We like to celebrate during the whole month of December, making it very festive and traditional. We celebrate on Christmas Eve, opening presents at night on the 24th. Our homes are decorated but not overloaded and we use lots of candles to make our dark nights more vibrant.

Tell us about the cookies and glogg.

Our mulled wine glogg is a typical treat we drink during the Danish Christmas season. We gather our friends and family, eat, be merry and drink glogg. It has a very strong aroma–a mix of red wine, spices and usually other liquors such as brandy or vodka. We add raisins and almonds slivers as well.

Danish brown cookies, or “brunkager”, as they are called in Danish, are very traditional and a MUST to eat during December. The smell when you make them gets everyone feeling the holiday cheer.

Tell us three distinctly Danish things that make your house a home.

Very light and airy, a sense of contrast in materials and form, and furniture pieces that express the timeless, functional and minimalistic Danish modern style.

Good design is…


The Scandinavian palette is very specific. How would you describe the tones and where do you feel this originated?

Scandinavia can be a very dark place during winter, so bringing light into our homes is essential. We do this by using soaped wood flooring, light shades on walls and as many windows as possible. Muted tones of pale blue, cool grey, white and cream are seen everywhere, and this has almost become the trademark for Scandinavian design. Lately I like mixing in materials like brass or copper into my home, like our brass tray table. It gives such a warm yet simple touch to my home.

If you were to recommend five timeless Nordic items to invest in, what would they be?

Any design rules you live by? Any no-nos?

I like to keep my home minimalistic–I believe less is more.

More Recipes from this Swoon

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