Christmas in Sweden
All of Sweden seems to light up for the holidays, in large part due to the electric candleholders that sit in almost every window. I will always remember driving through Stockholm in December, admiring the sight of these festive candleholders which are lit up night and day in windows of homes and offices throughout the city.
The electric candle holder became popular in Sweden in the early 1930's. It's also very popular to have a lit up Christmas star in the window. The stars are mainly made of paper or metal with a light bulb inside.
Most families also have a traditional advent candleholder with four candles, for each advent Sunday. It's important to only burn the candles a little bit so that they will form a perfect downward angle, and on Christmas Eve all the candles can be lit at the same time.
The traditional Christmas tree ornaments are made out of straw. In the past, real candles used to adorn the tree, but as of late electric candles are more common.
The main day for celebrations is Christmas Eve. This is when families gather to share a big, lavish meal consisting of a wide variety of items such as ham, meatballs, miniature wieners, herring, lox, rice pudding, ribs, potatoes etc.
The most popular non alcoholic drink for Christmas is called Julmust, which is Swedish soda that is available to buy for Christmas and Easter. Julmust has been produced in Sweden since the early 1900's and is consistently the highest selling non alcoholic drink in December every year. Glogg (mulled wine) is also a dear December favourite, often served with gingerbread.
Just like in the Swedish part of Finland, the 1 hour Disney special is viewed by pretty much every Swede on the afternoon of Christmas Eve. Some people go to church on Christmas Eve, or very early on Christmas Day.
The Christmas gifts are opened on Christmas Eve, and if there are small children in the house, someone in the family will dress up in a Santa costume and hand out the gifts.
Christmas Day is a day for relaxing and visiting relatives, and influence by North America in recent years, there are now big Boxing Day sales in Sweden on the 26th of December as well. Traditionally, Christmas ornamnets are taken down on January 13 which is called "Tjugondag Knut" (Twentyday Knut), twenty days from Christmas Eve. Or on January 6, which is the "Trettondag" (Thirteenth day).