The first Advent heralds the Christmas season in Sweden. If one were to go out during this time in Sweden in vacation house vacation makes one can adapt gladly to the Swedish traditions here. Advent stars shine in the windows. Many of the bushes, trees and houses were decorated with fairy lights. In contrast to other countries, the Swedes here do not save on electricity consumption. Here everyone gets pre-Christmas feelings during walks.
Skyltsondag (Shop window Sunday)
In many of the Swedish cities and towns you can find on the first Advent also the Skyltsondag, the shop window Sunday held. Here the store windows of various stores are presented in a Christmassy way and also awarded prizes. Glogg and Pepparkaka (a sweet mulled wine and gingerbread) are served in many places on this day. You can also dance with children around the public Christmas tree to Swedish Christmas music. This custom dates back to the 19th century. Century off, for the first time mentioned by name in the year 1895.
Duration of the Christmas season
Christmas season in Sweden lasts from the first Advent to the 13. January, almost two months. During this time in Sweden there is a lot of handicrafts and baking. One brings one’s house or apartment up to scratch. Houses smell of peppakakor and glogg during this time. Also the yeast pastry Saffransbrod which is available in all variations may not be missing here.
As in Germany, the first of four Advent candles is lit on the first Advent. Each of the following three Sundays of Advent, another candle is lit, the anticipation of Christmas increases.
St. Lucia on 13. December
On 13. December one celebrates in Sweden the St. Lucia day. Early in the morning, preparations begin for the Lucia parades in all Swedish towns and cities. Lucia choirs sing brightly illuminating Lucia songs. Lucia always stands in front of the choir, she is dressed in white with a crown of lights on her head. Following the Luciafest one finds oneself in the family or the circle of friends again and is the saffron pastry Lussekatter and drinks the Swedish Glogg or the Christmas drink Julmust. Also in kindergartens and schools you are welcome to celebrate Lucia together with your family.
The Christmas tree
In Sweden you will find one in almost every house with candles, baubles, tinsel and homemade figurines. The Christmas tree is bought in the period between the first Advent and the Lilla Julafton, 23. December. Most of the time you will find a well grown spruce tree. In some houses you can also find an imported fir tree, but this is a rarity because they are very expensive. If you have a vacation in a cottage during this time and you also want to have a tree, you can find trees at bigger stores and in the bigger cities at market places.
Lilla Julafton, the little Christmas evening
On 23. December, the small Christmas Eve the big preparations for the Christmas Eve begin. The Christmas ham is cooked with all the herbs, the rhymes to the wrapped gifts are written, the house is once again spruced up, the festive table is set.
Christmas – Christmas Eve
The biggest wedding in Sweden, Christmas Eve, is celebrated in the company of friends and family. Here now the sequence of my own Christmas in Harnosand, Sweden.
The festivities begin in the early afternoon of the 24. Decembers. With Glogg and Pepparkakor we toast the Christmas Eve together with the whole family and relatives from Sweden and Austria at 2 pm. (Note: Our family always celebrates Christmas without alcohol, we agree that this is the wedding for children.)
At 3 p.m. the annual Christmas spectacle for adults and children begins on television. One hour we are entertained by the cartoons of Donald Duck, Goffey and many more.
At 4 p.m. while the children are playing we adults lay out our big Christmas buffet.
My own Swedish Christmas buffet
Fish course: Grandma’s pickled herring, herring with mustard sauce and dill sauce, pickled salmon, smoked salmon, served with lemons, the sauce Hovmastarsauce.
More appetizers: Julskinka, the Swedish Christmas ham with mustard, liver pate and the sausage cold cuts Kallskuret, pressed aspic and veal aspic, Russian eggs
Hot dishes: Kottbullar, Prinskorv, smoked sausages, Janssons Frestelse, an anchovy potato gratin, ribs, red and green cabbage, and potatoes
Afterwards there is a cheese buffet
The Christmas drink Julmust will be served with it.
Santa Claus comes
After the Christmas buffet, the children are eagerly waiting for Santa Claus. Most of the time we swap with neighbors or friends and we play Santa Claus to each other.
He comes with a small selection of presents in a sack, the children run to the door and open it for Santa Claus. The latter sits down on a chair next to the Christmas tree and cheerfully lets ring out: God Jul, finns det några snalla barn har? Translation: Merry Christmas, are there nice children in this house? After affirming the children, he unpacks the gifts from the bag and hands them over. For me, this is the most beautiful moment of the whole Christmas celebration. Seeing the shining big eyes of the children when they receive the gifts and can meet Santa Claus in Sweden.
After the children have unwrapped their presents and, of course, played with them a bit, we end the Christmas celebration at approx. 21:30.
Many of the Swedes go 25. December in the morning to mass in the church, the last part of the celebrations.
Well, do you feel like spending your Advent and Christmas in Sweden yourself?? Here you come to our vacation homes.