Christmas time in Sweden is a time for families – and central to the celebrations is the traditional smörgåsbord with its ham and pickled herring. But in recent times an afternoon watching a compilation of Disney cartoons has also become an integral part of the Christmas festivities!
Swedes make a real effort for Christmas, and they are perhaps better placed than most to celebrate a traditional Christmas. Candles and lights are everywhere and make a cosy contrast to the darkness of winter, the traditional wood houses look lovely decked with freshly-fallen snow, and the fir trees stand majestically in the forest.
The day before Christmas Eve (which is the most important day for the Swedes), an expedition is mounted to find the perfect Christmas tree. City dwellers of course will need to buy theirs, but those who live in the country will fell their own with axes or saws.
Christmas presents may be placed under the tree or delivered on Christmas Eve by “Jultomten”, Santa Claus, who pays a visit to each neighbourhood sometime in the afternoon (timed carefully so as not to clash with the Disney show!). Houses are filled with red hyacinth plants and smell of pepparkakor, Swedish ginger biscuits. Small “tomtegubbar” (Christmas gnomes) may be dotted around the house, peeking from behind flowerpots and picture frames.
Christmas in Sweden is a wonderful time – a time to bask in the warmth of family life and make the most of the winter – after all, it will be spring before you know it!
A Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year!
…or, as they say in Sweden, “God Jul och Gott Nytt År”! (god-yool-ok-gott-neet-or)
The Nature Travels Team