Christmas in Sweden
What is special is that the whole month of December is dedicated to Jul (Christmas in Swedish). And Christmas is celebrated extensively across the country. With the short days and generally snow everywhere, this is the perfect time to be close together with the whole family. Christmas in Sweden is really a family celebration.
As with us in the Netherlands, Sweden will increasingly take on Christmas spirit in the course of December. A Christmas wreath with four candles, of which the last four Sundays before Christmas are lit one more each, counts down the weeks until Christmas.
Everywhere it gets more and more fun with lights, Christmas markets with stalls full of handicrafts and sweets, Christmas drinks with warm glögg and restaurants that already serve a Christmas buffet (julbord) ... And then they also have that extra December holiday in Sweden: Luciadag.
Many Swedes will spend more than average time in the kitchen in December. For example, to bake gingerbread, or even a kit for a pepparkakor house. Crisp (caramel) and ischoklad are also popular. For Luciadag you also make your own saffron buns (loop chatter).
Children have an Advent calendar in December and a Christmas calendar is also broadcast on television, as we know Christmas in the Netherlands with Linus from Norway.
The figure the Christmas goat
A common figure in the Christmas decorations is the Christmas buck. I read all kinds of stories about this: the Nordic god Thor would have ridden a goat, the goat would represent the devil or it would be something like the reindeer of Santa Claus. Regardless, you'll see quite a few bucks around Christmas in Sweden, from little ones up the tree to bigger ones to put out and even giant ones, which are set on fire after the holidays - if they haven't been illegally lit before.
The day before Christmas Eve
Because Christmas is celebrated in Sweden on Christmas Eve, December 24, December 23 is the last day before Christmas. Many people are already free and take the time on this day to get a Christmas tree at home and to decorate it. Also outside is decorated: in many houses you see a sheaf of threshed grain, to give the birds a Christmas meal.
Christmas Eve (Julafton)
Christmas is celebrated in Sweden on Christmas Eve, December 24. Christmas (Jul - pronounced "juul") is really all about one thing: the famous Swedish "smörgåsbord", which is called "Julbord" at Christmas. In addition, you have 101 dishes that are almost crowding each other on the table. There is a correct order to work your way through all the snacks and dishes on the table.
Start with the pickled herring, then continue with the cold dishes, pates and reindeer sausage, then with the warm dishes including the heavenly Janssons Frestelse (potato gratin dish with onion and pickled anchovies), warm meat stews, cheeses and sweet desserts. Of course, "Julbord" is not complete without a well-filled glass of beer or spirits.
Then it's time for Christmas dinner: usually a julbord (smörgäsbord especially for Christmas) with all kinds of dishes (fish, meat, hot and cold), which should be served in a certain order and preferably even in certain crockery if you follow traditions close. And many Swedes are quite attached to traditions ... One advantage: you do not have to worry about what you will put on the table again. Exactly the same as every year.
Rice pudding is a traditional dessert after a julbord. If you want to make a game out of it, put one almond in the porridge before serving. The person who finds the almond will receive a present, may make a wish or will have a happy new year.
In addition to glögg, schnapps or special Christmas beer, you can also drink julmust at Christmas in Sweden. Recently I saw it in the Ikea Hengelo. That is certainly a good place to get a Swedish feeling during Christmas in the Netherlands.
What does Donald Duck have to do with a Swedish Christmas? On December 24, the Swedes traditionally watch a Christmas compilation of Donald Duck (Kalle Anka in Swedish). It is broadcast every year at 3 pm on Swedish television. After December 24, Christmas is over for the Swedes.
The children play with their presents and of course the Swedes go out in nature again. Because that remains the typical Swedish lifestyle; as soon as they can run, cycle, cross country ski, ski, skate or take the canoe.
Christmas in Sweden julmust
After dinner there is time to unwrap gifts. Just like with Sinterklaas, there may also be poems with the packages. With a bit of luck Santa (Jultomten) will hand out the presents himself. The Swedes also dance and sing around the Christmas tree.
Christmas Day (Jul Days)
Where it all just started for us on December 25, Christmas in Sweden is already over for the most part. Christmas Day is a day off and most Swedes attend Julotta (early church service). A good day to go hiking, hiking, cross-country skiing or to enjoy at home.
Boxing Day (Annandag Jul)
They don't have Boxing Day on December 26 in Sweden. Daily life resumes on December 26, but most Swedes take day off. However, all shops are open again. A perfect day for shopping in Sweden, because the sale will start on December 26. Keep in mind that it can be super busy.
This is how Christmas in Sweden looks traditional. Not everyone celebrates it exactly this way, but most do. This period certainly gives a very nice atmosphere in Sweden.