Traditional Christmas Greeting: "Glad Jul"
Location: Scandinavia
Tree Type: Traditional

Decorations:

  • The heart shaped baskets are woven and sometimes made from straw. These baskets are filled with candy for January 13th St Knut's Day.
  • The straw ornaments (Juldocka) are handmade figures. They represent children and animals and date back to a time when the only material available for ornaments was straw.
  • The wooden heart symbolizes the belief that everyone is lovable at Christmas time.
  • The tissue and cardboard ornaments (Julgrans Karamellar) contain small gifts inside. They are made especially for the children.

Traditions: The Swedish people celebrate St. Lucia Day on December 13th. The Christmas season begins after St. Lucia's Day and continues until the fifthteenth day after Christmas. From that day on there is baking of cookies, breads, cakes and preparation of the ham which is served at the Christmas buffet.

The Advent tradition is observed in Sweden. For the four Sundays before Christmas a new candle is lit in a special Advent candleholders.

Though the Christmas tradition of the Christmas tree was introduced to Sweden from Germany in the 1700's, it wasn't until this century that the majority of the country adopted this custom. The tree is usually gotten a few days before Christmas Eve. Two days before Christmas, the tree is decorated and will remain up until January 13th, St. Kunt's Day.

After the Christmas Eve dinner, there is a visit from Santa. In Sweden the Santa figure is represented by an gnome (Tomte) who it is believed lives under the floorboards of the house. The tomte watches over the family and livestock. He arrives at the house on Christmas Eve with a large sack of presents that he gives out to the children personally.