Christmas in Sweden – Enhancement Of Festive Spirit

Spending Christmas in Sweden, a country known for its exciting wintertime ambiance, exhilarating performances, and genuine vibe, is unquestionably an inspirational adventure.  An overwhelming feeling of amazement and fascination is evoked by the snow-covered landscapes, sparkling lights, and warm atmosphere. 

Therefore, if you attempt to celebrate Christmas in Sweden, you will immediately notice how the atmosphere is infused with a sense of generosity and belonging as friends and family assemble around roaring fireplaces to exchange thoughtful gifts and make lasting impressions.  

Let’s explore the specifics of enjoying Christmas in Sweden and discover how Swedish celebrations enhance the festive spirit that encompasses the chilly environment! 

How Do People Celebrate Christmas In Sweden?

December 24 is the main day for celebrating Christmas. Instead of saying “Merry Christmas,” you wish your loved ones a “God Jul,” as Christmas is known as “Jul” in Sweden. For the majority, the holiday is primarily about family and spending time with those you cherish. 

Christmas in Sweden begins very early, and many Swedes will make Advent calendars for their children to open each day to receive gifts, just like many other families across the world do. By the time the season of Advent begins, most Swedes have their homes completely tidied and ornamented, often with Advent stars.

Sweden also has a surprisingly extended period of vacation time over Christmas and New Year’s. Many companies permit residents to take time off from Christmas Eve through the first week of January. 

Top 5 Swedish Traditions You Would Love To Hear About

Modern Christmas celebrations from other countries frequently mash up with Swedish Christmas traditions. As a result, the holiday season is celebrated according to a variety of customs in practically every Swedish family.

Let’s examine some of the most popular Christmas traditions in Sweden.

1. The Advent

The Advent

To celebrate Christmas in Sweden, people generally use an Advent calendar to keep track of the days until Christmas, just like other countries do. It’s interesting to note that the custom of beginning to count down the days until Christmas on December 1 derives from an ancient Christian practice known as “waiting for Jesus.” 

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Of course, most people in contemporary Sweden don’t think of Christianity when counting down the days until their biggest holiday. The Advent Calendar serves more as a justification to indulge in a chocolate bar every morning before going to work or school.

Sweden’s custom of lighting a calendar on their Advent candle every Sunday as part of their regular celebration is one of the holiday’s distinctive aspects. The event typically involves some delectable Lussebullar as a traditional treat in addition to the four candles that need to be lit. 

2. Lucia

Lucia

It is a distinctive Swedish custom to celebrate Lucia. One of the oldest traditions relating to the celebration of Christmas in Sweden is Lucia, which is celebrated on December 13 and features females dressing up in white robes and skirts with candles in their hair. 

The headpiece used in modern St. Lucia celebrations is composed of battery-operated lights that flicker like actual candles instead of real candles for safety reasons. Based on the legend of St. Lucia of Italy, the St. Lucia feast is a Catholic custom. Considering the fire in her hair, Lucia was once determined guilty of witchcraft.

The life of St. Lucia is commemorated in Sweden by female performers performing in the presence of audiences at schools, nursing homes, and workplaces while dressed as saints. “Lucia” is typically one female who marches in front of the other members of the group and acquires an excessive amount of attention for performing alone.  

3. Broadcasting Disney classics

On Christmas Day, particular shows are broadcast in the majority of countries worldwide. The monarch speaks in the UK, and the US often shows local parades across the nation along with an abundance of festive favorites. 

While enjoying Christmas in Sweden, families have continued the custom of airing hour-long Christmas specials with Disney masterpieces ever since TVs became a common household item. This custom dates back to the 1960s, a time when it was quite challenging to find animated, moving cartoons. 

Due to tradition, the majority of people still watch the show nowadays. The program includes several fantastic snippets from Disney films, including Snow White, Cinderella, Robin Hood, and even small Mickey and Friends films. Most years, the presentation also includes a few trailers for upcoming Disney films. 

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4. Julskyltning

Julskyltning

Julskyltning or the Christmas Window, is a celebration that occurs on the first Sunday of Advent. Along with lighting the Advent candle, this holiday’s arrival frequently signifies the start of the Swedish holiday season. A month before Christmas, businesses set up their holiday windows, which feature stunning decorations and breathtaking holiday images.

If you ever get the chance to travel to Sweden during the Christmas season, it’s worthwhile to take some time to admire all the decorations that are offered. While markets and lotteries seem to generate money for worthwhile causes, many charitable organizations also serve fresh coffee to pedestrians. 

The Julskyltning festival is most prevalent in small towns and villages, although many larger retailers also participate, frequently offering enormous discounts on merchandise for those prepared to begin their Christmas shopping. Even small coffee shops might give you complimentary Christmas snacks.

5. Christmas Eve presents

Christmas Eve presents

As was already noted, in Sweden, gift exchanges typically take place on Christmas Eve. Children and adults alike frequently wait until the sun sets on Christmas Eve before they start opening presents, as opposed to getting up at the crack of dawn.

Gifts for Christmas are never hung in stockings over the fireplace in Sweden; instead, they are always placed under the tree. You don’t have to wait long to begin opening presents over the holiday season because the darkness in Sweden typically sets in at approximately 2 o’clock GMT+2, which is the local timezone in Sweden

Traditional Swedish Christmas Decorations

The distinctive method Sweden takes to decorating is one of the most alluring traditions for people to enjoy Christmas in Sweden. In Sweden, everything is packed with the utmost care, even the traditional Christmas tree. 

As one might expect from a place that loves minimalism, Jul decorations are frequently rather understated. The Swedish like to make their holiday decorations as simple and unobtrusive as possible, rejecting artificial tinsel and flashy lights. Wreaths on doors, hyacinths on tables, and straw ornaments are typical handmade decorations. During Christmas in Sweden, candles are also a common sight throughout the house. 

The majority of Swedish households get their holiday decorations ready by the first of December, but some choose to hold off and put up their decorations around the 13th of December.

The Christmas tree plays a significant role in the process of celebrating Christmas in Sweden. The tree itself is probably an organic affair as well, just like how Swedish Christmas trees are decorated naturally. Finding the proper tree is crucial since, in Sweden, it serves as a symbol for everything related to Christmas. 

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In Sweden, people who live in towns and cities frequently buy their Christmas trees in the neighborhood square, while those who live in rural areas have the option of cutting down their trees. The majority of Swedes believe that the ideal Christmas tree will be robust, evenly branched, and able to stand upright in the house. When you get your tree home, you’ll decorate it following your family’s customs. 

Swedish Christmas Delights

The abundance of fresh food available during Christmas in Sweden makes it a feast for the entire family. Ham, pickled herring, sausage, jelly pig’s feet, rice porridge, and lutefisk are served on the Christmas table. 

Christmas gifts are displayed beneath the illuminated tree, candles are glowing brightly, and the traditional fare has been prepared for the festive table: 

  • Christmas ham
  • Pork sausage 
  • Egg and anchovy mixture
  • Herring salad
  • Pickled herring
  • Homemade liver pâté, 
  • Wort-flavored rye bread
  • A special fish dish called Lutefisk

According to the culinary tradition of celebrating Christmas in Sweden, the ham should be boiled, painted, and coated in an egg, breadcrumb, and mustard mixture. 

You’ll be glad to know that Sweden is a nation that is capable of creating an astounding variety of European Christmas treats, which is only right. For instance, while saffron-infused yellow sweet buns are a Swedish Christmas favorite and come into their own in the winter, rice pudding is composed of whipped cream, vanilla, and almonds, and an individual who discovers a hidden almond in the dessert is anticipated to get married before the following Christmas.

Final Thoughts 

In conclusion, celebrating Christmas in Sweden is a genuinely exciting and inspirational affair.  A magnificent environment that elevates the soul and brings joy to the heart is created by the union of snowy panoramas, brilliant illumination, and the holiday atmosphere. 

Christmas in Sweden and every moment associated with it are filled with excitement and fascination, from thrilling performances to observing captivating exhibitions of brimming decorations. So, if you’re in Sweden during Christmas time, don’t hesitate to immerse yourself in the enchanting traditions and allow the festivities to ignite your spirit of joy and wonder!

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