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An Inside Glimpse Of Christmas In Sweden

How do people in Sweden celebrate Christmas, you wonder? Well, let me tell you!


Christmas In Sweden starts on December 1 (the start of Advent). Late fall/early winter tends to be a very dark and dreary season when the sun rises at 8 or 9 am and sets again at 3 or 4 pm. To combat the darkness, people put up their electrified stars and candles in the windows. It is also common to light a lot of candles all around the house at this time of year. Swedish people also like to sip “Glögg” (heated up, sweetened red wine laced with cinnamon and other spices) and eat gingerbread cookies to get into the Christmas spirit.

A few days before Christmas, Swedes decorate their houses with Santa caricatures, angels and colourful ornaments. The Christmas tree is also purchased around this time and decorated beautifully with lights (usually white lights, but colored lights are becoming increasingly more common), ornaments and garlands.

The main events of Christmas take place on December 24 (Christmas Eve). Around lunchtime the traditional “julbord” is served. It is a smorgasbord of various dishes, such as sausages, meats, pickled herring, candies, cookies and Christmas porridge. The Christmas ham and lutfisk (fish prepared in a traditional way) are also “must-haves” on the Swedish “julbord”. It is all very delicious, but extremely filling!


At 3 pm on Christmas Eve, another Swedish Christmas tradition takes place. Children and adults alike gather around the TV to watch Donald Duck, Mickey Mouse, Goofy, Cinderella, etc. wish everybody a very merry Christmas.  Yes, all the American classics!


When the “julbord” has been eaten and the TV-show is over, it is usually time for the arrival of Santa Claus! He comes walking in the dark, carrying a lantern to guide his way. The Swedish Santa Claus wears a red coat and a red Santa hat. There is also the obligatory white beard, and sometimes also glasses to hide the real identity of Santa.

When Santa Claus arrives to the door he knocks. He is let in, and he then asks “Finns det några snälla barn här?” (“Are there any nice children here?”). As the people in the house yell “Yes!”, Santa walks in and is shown to a chair. He sits down and opens his big bag filled with presents. After all the gifts have been delivered, Santa leaves again.

The presents are then opened, and the evening begins to wind down. The children are playing with their new toys, and the grown-ups might sit around and talk, have some drinks and snacks or coffee. It is early to bed for some people who like to get up really early the next morning and go to the traditional Christmas Day church service. For other people, Christmas Day might be a day when you sleep in late and have a hearty breakfast based on the leftovers from the “julbord”. The rest of the day is usually spent reading, watching TV, eating and just plain relaxing.




For more information on how Christmas is celebrated around the world, visit This article was written by Anna Persson. Anna is the head elf of this site and helps run "Santa Letters", a service that sends letters on behalf of Santa Claus. You may place this article anywhere so long as you do not change the content in any fashion and keep this resource information (with the author's name, web site address, etc.) attached to the article. Thank you for reading.


Merry Christmas from Sweden!



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