The lead up to Christmas is one of the most exciting times of the festive season. We spend time with loved ones, decorate our houses, buy presents and of course; enjoy festive food and drink! It’s no surprise that Christmas is so internationally celebrated. Many countries have their own traditions, and a Swedish Christmas is no different! The lead up to Christmas in Sweden is just as important as any other country, and there is always an abundance of food and drink, songs, and activities to take part in.
Christmas time in Sweden is set by the short, dark days and cold wintry weather. The celebrations start on the 13th December, St Lucia’s day; which celebrates the patron saint of light. This brightens everyone’s spirits and gets them in the mood for the festive season! After the 13th, houses and trees are decorated by the whole family. Favourites for decorations are the little Swedish Tomte gnomes, straw goats, pigs, and gilded pinecones.
The 24th December is the big day in Sweden. There is a big meal at lunchtime, and families follow the tradition of dopp i grytan or “dipping in the kettle.” They eat bread dipped into a kettle of thin broth. This is a tribute to when food was scarce. Afterwards, it’s time to enjoy the food which makes a Swedish Christmas merry and bright! There is a smorgasbord bursting with delights including pork sausage, spiced breads and boiled potatoes, all surrounding the traditional Christmas ham. Check out this Swedish Winter Smorgasbord from www.saveur.com to give you inspiration for the menu! There are also lots of sweet treats to be enjoyed including a rice pudding or risgrynsgröt. Whoever finds an almond in their pudding is said to have a prosperous year ahead of them!
Later on, a friend or family member dresses up as the Jultomten – the Swedish Santa, and wears a red robe and white beard to bring presents for the younger children. It’s definitely a fun alternative to the British Santa sneaking in and leaving unnoticed! The 25th December for Swedes is known as ‘Second day Christmas’. This is another day celebrating light, with candles illuminating every window. Carols are sung and everyone relaxes and enjoys good company in the comfort of home. We wish we had two Christmas days!
We’d happily throw in a few Swedish traditions to our Christmas; we’ve even put together a Pinterest board with all our festive ideas here. From all of us at Skandiblog and Skandihome, we wish you a very Merry Christmas!