In Sweden, Christmas Day is observed on 25th December.
Here, the Christmas celebrations begin with the first of Advent. The Swedish Christmas jubilations are similar to the Norwegian Christmas festivities in that it starts with "Luciadagen", the Saint Lucia ceremony. As in Norway, on the morning of 13th December, the boys dress up as star boys in long white shirts and pointed hats and carry star wands. The youngest daughter from each Swedish family puts on a white robe with a red sash and wears a crown of evergreens on the head with long, illuminated candles attached to it. With other children, she wakes her parents and serves them with coffee and Lucia buns.
In Sweden, the windows of almost every shop are seen to be lit up with electric candles and glowing stars by mid-December. In Swedish homes, Christmas trees are usually brought in one or two days before Christmas. Everyone in the family actively participate in decorating the tree with candles, apples, Swedish flags, straw ornaments and even small figures representing gnomes wearing red tasseled caps. The indoors of houses are adorned with flowers such as red tulips.
The festival, however, is observed most grandly on December 24, or Christmas Eve. In Swedish families, it is the mother who always lights the candles on the dawn of Christmas Eve. As in other nations, Christmas here is a holiday celebrated in the company of friends and family members. Delicious dishes serve to make the occassion more enjoyable. "Risgryngrot", a rice porridge specially prepared during Christmas here, is partaken by many people. Hidden in it is an almond; the person who finds it in his or her bowl is believed to marry in the coming year. The custom is similar to the tradition of having "lillejulaften" in Norway. The Christmas Eve dinner may be a morgasbord(julbord), or buffet with a display of several Christmas food items. The "julbord" traditionally consists of such delicacies as small meatballs, pickled herring, spareribs, small hot dogs, lutfisk, pork sausage, salmon, Janssons frestelse (potatocasserole with anchovy), and rice pudding. Drinks usually served with these dishes are julmust, Christmas beer or snaps. A Scandinavian speciality is the glogg (mulled and spiced wine with almonds and raisins), which is served hot in small cups during the dinner. It is to be remembered however, that the dishes and drinks vary from region to region throughout Sweden.
After Christmas Eve dinner, a family member or a friend dresses up as "tomte" or Christmas gnome sticking a white beard, wearing red robes and giving away from his sack wonderful gifts, many of which have a funny rhyme attached on them that hints at their contents.
Christmas Day in Sweden is a quite day, compared to Christmas Eve. Some people attend the "Julottan", a church service held on the early morning of December 25. Churches are lit up entirely by candles for this service. Many people indulge in an extended Christmas Eve celebration on this day, going to restaurants and amusement parks with their friends, lovers or loved ones.
On January 13, known here as "Knutdagen", the Christmas celebrations come to an end and all Christmas decorations are removed.