Christmas in Sweden
Just before Christmas, Swedish homes are decked out with all manner of ornaments -
candlesticks, runners and wall hangings, Father Christmas figures, angels – and,
after the gingersnaps are done, perhaps a gingerbread house as well. Winter
greenery such as lingonberry and pine sprigs are all part of the scene. Christmas
flowers are mostly red – poinsetta, tulips, begonias – but also pink, white and pale
blue, as in the case of that pungently fragrant Swedish favorite, the hyacinth.
Children use advent calendars to count down the days to Christmas Eve because
Christmas is celebrated on the 24th, not the 25th as in other countries. Indeed, in the
Nordic countries, christmas dinner and gift giving usually takes place in the
afternoon and includes the entire family.
Most people buy Christmas trees well before Christmas Eve, but it´s not uncommon
to take it inside and decorate it until just a few days before. In some families, the
Christmas tree (and the house) is decorated at this time as well. Decorations for
Advent are an exception. Candles (traditional and electric) and Advent stars are
popular Advent decorations. Special “advent candle holders” with four candles in
it, one for every Sunday in Advent are also seen. One candle is lit on each of the four
Sundays before Christmas.
Evergreen trees are decorated with stars, sunbursts, and snowflakes made from
straw. Other decorations include colorful wooden animals and straw centerpieces.
Holiday foods range from rice pudding to ginger cookies. Girls dress up like St.
Lucia and wear candle wreaths in her hair serving cake. Wheat Trees are made and
placed out in the snow for the birds.