Christmas Celebration in Sweden

How is Celebrate Christmas in Sweden

In Sweden, Christmas Day is observed on 25th December.

Christmas in Sweden is a festive and heartwarming holiday, celebrated with a mix of traditional customs, cultural traditions, and a strong emphasis on family and togetherness. Here's how Christmas is typically celebrated in Sweden:


The Christmas season begins with Advent, and many Swedish households have Advent calendars and Advent candles. The lighting of Advent candles is a common tradition.

Christmas Decorations

Homes, streets, and towns are beautifully decorated with festive lights, ornaments, and Christmas trees. The Christmas tree, often adorned with candles, is a central decoration in both homes and public spaces.

Santa Lucia Day

On December 13th, Sweden celebrates Santa Lucia Day. A young girl, often chosen to portray Santa Lucia, wears a crown of candles and leads a procession of girls and boys, each holding a candle. They sing traditional songs and serve saffron buns and ginger cookies.


The "Julbock," or Yule Goat, is a popular Christmas decoration in Sweden. It is often made of straw and placed in homes or public spaces.

Christmas Eve

Christmas Eve, known as "Julafton," is the most important night of the holiday season. Families come together for a festive meal, which typically includes dishes like herring, gravlax (cured salmon), meatballs, ham, and sausages. The meal is followed by the exchange of gifts.


Exchanging gifts is an integral part of the Christmas celebration in Sweden. Children often receive gifts from "Tomten" (the Christmas Gnome) or "Jultomte" (Father Christmas).


Caroling is a cherished tradition in Sweden, with groups of carolers singing traditional Christmas carols, known as "julsånger," in the community. These carolers are often rewarded with sweets or small gifts.

Acts of Charity

Many Swedes participate in acts of charity during the Christmas season, helping those in need and supporting local charities and community organizations.

Christmas Table

A traditional Swedish Christmas table, or "julbord," is a grand feast that includes a wide variety of dishes. It often features pickled herring, boiled potatoes, cheeses, sausages, and a variety of cold cuts and bread. The meal is finished with rice pudding, often with an almond hidden inside. Finding the almond brings good luck.

Candles and Lights

Sweden embraces the darkness of winter by using candles and lights to create a warm and cozy atmosphere during the holiday season. Lighting candles in windows is a common tradition.

St. Stephen's Day

The day after Christmas, known as "Annandagen" or St. Stephen's Day, is a time for more relaxed gatherings and activities with family and friends.

New Year's Celebrations

The holiday season in Sweden extends into New Year's Eve, with fireworks, parties, and celebrations to welcome the new year.

Christmas in Sweden is a time for tradition, togetherness, and creating a warm and welcoming atmosphere. The combination of festive decorations, traditional customs, and a rich culinary heritage makes it a special time for both Swedes and visitors to the country.

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.

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Christmas in Sweeden

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