How to Celebrate a Swedish Christmas

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Christmas in Sweden is a special time of year. Although the weather is cold and gloomy, people enjoy the holiday season and remain in good cheer.

Things You'll Need

  • Christmas Gifts
  • Advent Calendar
  • Televisions
  • Christmas Trees
  • Candles
  • Hams
  • Remember Lucia on December 13. She was an Italian saint who was killed for her religious beliefs.

  • Attend a procession called "Lussetåg," which is led by someone dressed as Lucia. Known as the Queen of Light, she wears a white dress with a red sash and a crown of candles on her head.

  • Begin your celebrations with the start of Advent, four Sundays before Christmas. Light one candle every week to mark the coming of the holiday.

  • Watch television and listen to the radio to find out the theme of this year's Advent calendar. Have your children use the calendar to count down to Christmas.

  • Cut or buy a Christmas tree. Some families wait until just a few days before Christmas to decorate it.

  • Decorate your home with evergreens and with Christmas flowers such as poinsettia, tulips and hyacinth.

  • Plan your big celebration for the day of Christmas Eve.

  • Prepare a smorgasbord for your family that includes "Jul skinka" (Christmas ham), sweet-and-sour red cabbage, meatballs, "prinskorv" (small sausages) and "gravad lax" (salmon with dill).

  • Serve "Jul gröt," a Christmas porridge with one almond in the recipe. According to tradition, the person who gets the almond in his or her portion receives good luck for the coming year.

  • Make "glögg" - or "gluhwein" - a favorite Christmas treat of mulled wine. Serve it with pepper cookies (gingerbread biscuits).

  • Expect Tomten (Father Christmas) to arrive later in the afternoon with gifts for the kids. Each package will have a riddle attached, offering clues about the gift hidden inside.

  • Gather your children on January 6 for the Christmas tree plundering. They will dance around the tree as you take it down and throw it away.

Tips & Warnings

  • Many families make it a tradition to watch the Donald Duck Christmas show or other classic Christmas programs on television on Christmas Eve.
  • Sweden is a country with many cultural influences, so its Christmas traditions are sometimes diverse and cannot be generalized. The above steps represent a few examples of local traditions that may or may not be appropriate for your celebration.

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