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Celebrating Like a Local: Christmas in Stockholm

December 24, 2016

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Guest Post by Susann Aavanen from The Biveros Effect!

December is here and it is time to get ready for a typically Swedish Christmas. In Sweden Christmas is celebrated on the 24th of December. However, the whole month of December is a time for preparation. These preparations often start on the first weekend of Advent and they include decorations, baking, and get-togethers. However, let’s put aside the crazy shopping sprees and glittering Christmas parties. Here are three things that you should not miss if you are in Stockholm or Sweden in December. These experiences are incredibly popular among both residents and visitors and will give you a feel for what a traditional Swedish Christmas is like.

1. Glöggfika

gloggfika

Fika is a great Swedish tradition. It usually refers to “having a cup of coffee” but it entails so much more that. It’s something of a cultural institution. The fika does not require coffee and usually comes with pastries, sandwiches, or other types of food. Come December, the typical fika becomes more Christmassy with glögg (mulled wine) instead of coffee and sweet treats for those with a sweet tooth. These treats include pepparkaka (gingerbread) and lussebulle (saffron bun). Add some traditional Christmas music and you’re guaranteed a cheerful atmosphere. The great thing about the glöggfika is that it happens everywhere: from at home with friends to in the workplace!

The glöggfika is especially popular on Lucia (Saint Lucy’s Day), the 13th of December.

2. Christmas Markets

There are several Christmas markets in Stockholm, which means that there is something for everyone! The most famous Christmas market is the one in Gamla stan (the Old Town). From the 19th of November until the 23rd of December, Stortorget square near the Royal Palace is filled with little red stalls selling scrumptious traditional Swedish sweets, cheese, glögg, handicrafts, and much more.

Other great places to enjoy a cozy Christmas market and get a taste of Swedish Christmas are Skansen, Rosendal, and Drottningholm Castle.

3. Julbord

snow-in-stockholm

Food is probably an important aspect of Christmas no matter where you are. Sweden is no exception. As it is a country that is very fond of buffets, it should come as no surprise that the julbord or Christmas buffet is a big thing in restaurants around Stockholm. Even IKEA has one! The best food is, of course, the food that is served at home on Christmas Eve, but it’s difficult to escape all the Christmas food before the big day. So, what can you expect when it comes to traditional Swedish Christmas food? You never get away from the meatballs and Jansson’s Temptation (a casserole with pickled sprats among other things). A wide variety of fish, sausages, ham, potatoes, boiled cabbage, beetroot salad, and cheeses will also tickle your taste buds and have you queue for one more serving. After a successful Christmas meal, you might promise yourself not to eat anything ever again!

December is a month when all the streets and people brighten up. It is a cheerful time with lights, food and parties. With some luck, the city and its surroundings turn into a white wonderland where locals and tourists alike get to find their inner child as they play in the snow. Welcome to Stockholm!


What happens when a Swede and a Finn meet in Slovakia, fall in love, and move to Stockholm? The result is a story of travels, mishaps, and adventures around the world. Check out Jesper and Susann’s awesome blog here!

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