Hello my sweet babes ! I hope you had a great holiday season, and that you are ready to start the year again! <3 For my part, the end of the year celebrations have been great, with lots of love and family time, which is what matters most. I spent half of the Christmas holidays in Sweden, my new home country, and the other half in Spain, my second origin country (after France) where my dad has been living since his retirement. And… as I love sharing about Sweden, and also I know that many of you love the Scandinavian culture and are fond of learning more about it, I wanted to bring an old article up to date and make you discover Christmas in Sweden. How do we celebrate it, what do we eat, etc.? Ready for a second Christmas in Sweden? Let’s go !
How do we celebrate Christmas in Sweden ?
Well, to start with, in order to say Merry Christmas, we say: God Jul. So again and with all my heart, God Jul my dears !
The food (the delicious Julbord) and the activities
As in France (or in Spain), Christmas is celebrated here the day before on December 24th. The custom is to eat with family / friends around a Julbord (Christmas buffet).
To prepare a Julbord as a real little Swede you will need:
- Julskinka (Christmas ham which is roughly ham surrounded by mustard sauce that is cut into thick slices)
- Kaviar on eggs (Kaviar is a very famous fish paste in Sweden that Swedes eat in the everyday life too, no need to wait for Christmas, actually. It’s delicious in the morning on polar bread with eggs or cheese)
- Herring with mustard (or other taste, more commonly called “sil” here)
- Köttbullar: meatballs, another must-have for Christmas (and everyday life)
- Aladdin chocolates: Here again, a must. You have to buy them every year for Christmas and guess what is the chocolate that has been removed since last year and by which it was replaced? Suspense.
- Cheese platter according to your preferences, my favorite here being the Prästost
- Lingonsylt: cranberry jam to be eaten in combination with meatballs and brown sauce
- Mashed potatoes (potatismos)
- Julmust: a Christmas drink, visually similar to coke but with a taste of spices
- Julol: Christmas beer
- Glögg: mulled wine
- And of course some snaps (brandy)
- As a dessert… Pepparkakor (Swedish gingerbread cookies). To learn how to make them yourself read my Swedish Christmas gingerbread cookies recipe here. The preparation and decoration of pepparkakor is a real tradition in Sweden (creative and delicious while being easy!). Preview below:
Often dinners with friends are organized before or after Christmas, and we play a very nice game: everyone brings a few gifts (ex: 2 gifts each of 10 euros) that we put in the center of the table and then we roll the dice each turn. As soon as someone gets a 6, he or she can pick a gift. Then, we do this until there are no more presents on the table. Then we put a stopwatch (eg 10 minutes) for a set time, and we do the same thing except that we take the gifts from the pile of others (so much stress, you can not even imagine, haha! ). The goal is to gather the most gifts until the alarm rings. Once the alarm has rang, the gifts you have gathered are yours and you can open them ! Guaranteed thrills – because nobody wants to end up without any gift, haha !
Christmas atmosphere during 2 months
What is certain is that the Christmas celebrations in Sweden are so so cozy and magical. I don’t know if it comes from the cold and therefore the need to warm up people’s hearts, but Christmas in Sweden and all that goes with it – the decorations, the markets, the mulled wine, the cinnamon, the good food, the lights – start earlier here. From early November, we bathe in a festive and bright atmosphere for nearly 2 months, I love it. All Swedes really play the game, adventsljustackar on the windows (kind of candles in pyramids announcing the Sundays of Advent – see photo below), beautiful fir trees, decorations, Christmas music …
And with the snow, it’s so beautiful …
In short, I am expatriated here for more than 2 years and I must say that I am really in love with the Christmas atmosphere in Sweden. It’s really cozy, pretty, delicious, magical… Even if you haven’t planned to do as much as me – that is to say, expatriate – I can only advise you to come spend a little weekend here during Christmas periods. You won’t be disappointed !
Or even why not organize your next themed Christmas dinner from home? You now have some basics on how Christmas is celebrated in Sweden! You have enought basics to prepare a good Julbord for your next Swedish Christmas, and even a game idea! And do not forget to start early, hihi, as early as November starts <3
Many kisses my sweet feathers !
* All cultures combined, what is your favorite Christmas tradition ? *