A Swedish Christmas | Part 1

Christmas, a celebration of the birth of Christ. Many countries celebrate it, but I didn’t quite realize how different the celebrations were around the world before I started traveling. After a new years in Scotland, travelling around and a Christmas celebration in Tasmania, I’ve had numerous conversations about the different ways of celebration. I also know a few people that’s dying to know more about the Swedish Christmas traditions so I thought i’d write a post, more like several posts, to simply reminiscence on my own celebrations and traditions back home and shine some light on what, and why we do as we do back home! I hope you’ll like it. 

Let’s start off with something simple. Like the date.

Celebrating Christmas | On the 24th

Yes. It’s true, Swedes celebrate Christmas on the 24th of December, different from a lot of countries who celebrate on the 25th. Back in the days, according to Jewish tradition, based on the story of Creation in the book of Genesis, the day started at sunset and ended at sunrise. Which meant the celebration of Jesus started on the evening on the 24th. Since then time has passed and in modern time we start our days at midnight. Somewhere along the way we started celebrating the whole day, not just the evening.

Advent Celebration

4 Sundays before Christmas Eve marks the date for this years first Advent, which translates to Arrival. The arrival of Christmas and the birth of Christ. Since the 1890’s it has been the custom in Sweden to light a candle every Sunday during the countdown to Christmas. The candles used to be placed in tiny Christmas trees but since the 1930’s that tradition has changed slightly and now it’s usually 4 candlesticks in a tray decorated with white moss & Christmas decorations. Today marks the day for 2nd Advent this year.

[Picture borrowed from Google]


 Advent calendar

So many of you might have heard (and even had one yourself growing up) of a chocolate advents Calendar. It’s a big calendar with 24 (or 25) small chocolate pieces hiding behind 24 individual tiny doors. It used to be the best thing in December as a kid, you’d rush down to have breakfast only so you could open the next door . Usually you get one, but since I had 2 families I was fortunate enough to have 2! And some years even Grandma bought us one to have at her place, which was great!? Some people get a Calendar with trinkets as well/or instead of the chocolate Calendar. A few years my mom even did her own variety of an advent calendar and bought us 24 tiny presents and then we had 1 to open each day, which was greatly appreciated then and now. I can only imagine how long it would’ve taken her to get 72 tiny gifts individually chosen for me and my siblings. Damn woman! 

But in Sweden we don’t only have the chocolate Calendar, We also have the SVT Christmas TV Calendar & Radio Calendar! The show starts every year on December 1st and ends on the 24th. The show usually have something to do with Christmas & there is often a mystery that won’t get solved (if it gets solved) until Christmas Eve. The first time it aired was 1960 and it’s grown into a tradition. I can honestly say that I’ve only missed it a few times.. hehe #Grownuppoints


After watching the episode or listening to the radio the host will open up the Calendar and open the number of today. Behind the number is usually something involving the episode or a clue to help you solve the mystery. You can either buy  your own hard copy or watch as they open it on your TV.

With this i’ll end part 1. I hope you liked it and feel free to leave a comment below and let me know what you think! I’d also love to hear how you celebrate Christmas where you’re from!