The Scandinavians love Christmas as much as the Brits, but they do things a little bit differently. We’ve outlined a few things that differentiate a Scandinavian Christmas from a traditional British Christmas.
Christmas Eve is the day in which Scandinavians have their Christmas meal and open their presents. This is the day when the festive celebrations really take place instead of the 25th. The day tends to be more of a family affair than a religious one (depending on the family’s belief system too, of course!).
In the UK it is said that ‘Santa Claus’ comes down the chimney, whereas in Scandinavia, ‘Father Christmas’ appears at the door in full costume with a large sack of presents over his shoulder. He usually arrives sometime in the evening instead of overnight, giving the children an opportunity to actually meet Santa.
It is an annual tradition on December 24 at 3 p.m. for half of Sweden to sit down in front of the television for a family viewing of the 1958 Walt Disney Presents Christmas special ‘Kalle Anka och hans vänner önskar God Jul’ (trans: ‘Donald Duck and his friends wish you a Merry Christmas’). Kalle Anka has been airing at the same time on TV1 on Christmas Eve since 1959.
For the past 70 years, the Aladdin chocolate box has been a Christmas classic in Swedish homes, and 4 million boxes are sold each year. Some of the flavours are questionable and any changes to the flavours can cause a bit of a stir!
Instead of turkey, the Scandinavians typically feast on pork (which is why a lot of the Christmas decorations often incorporate pigs). The julbord is a large spread of food which includes a number of traditional Scandinavian foods including cold and warm dishes. One of the primary drinks at the table during this occasion is Schnapps.