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Christmas in Stockholm, Sweden

Hostel in Stockholm

Experience old and genuine Christmas traditions in Snow White Stockholm this December
When it comes to finding the true Christmas spirit, Stockholm is the place to visit. Cold -yes, snow -hopefully, dark -definitely. But cosy up in a candlelit café in the Old Town of Stockholm with hot cocoa and gingerbread biscuits and you are ready to put on the Santa Claus mask and go Ho Ho Ho for the rest of December.

From last week of November the famous and popular Christmas market opens in the big sqare (Stortorget) of Old Town (Gamla Stan). Here you can find, crafts, candy, Christmas delicatessen and most probably also street musicians playing the most beloved Christmas tunes. Here you will have no problem finding gifts for the entire family but leave some for the other Christmas market at Skansen, an open-air museum and Zoo with a Christmas market that will keep you entertained a whole day.

Skansen is not only a zoo with some typical swedish animals but also whole village of about 150 historical buildings that have been moved here from nearly every part of Sweden. Most of them date from the 18th and 19th centuries. Visitors to the houses and farmsteads are met by historical interpreters in period costume. At weekends from the end of November til Christmas a special Christmas market will be held selling traditional sausages, cheeses, handicrafts, spices and essences, Christmas decorations, embroidery, leather goods, Skansen's own handmade mustard, glass, bread and cakes, hand-knitted mittens, sugared almonds, tallows, honey, marzipan, crisp bread, smoked turkey, jams and marmalades. There will be craft demonstrations and live music in the buildings where the tables also are set for Christmas dinner. Young and old can participate in the dancing games around the Christmas tree and make their own Christmas decorations..

If you are fortunate to be in Sweden the Dec 13, you will also have the opportunity to celebrate Saint Lucia day. Lucia Day is an ancient Swedish tradition where young Swedish women wake up very early in the morning dress up in white long-sleeve nightgowns, put candles in their hair, and lead by one specially chosen lady 'Lucia', go and make a tour in schools workplaces, churches, and performs Christmas songs..often serving coffee and gingerbread biscuits as well. You are most likely to encounter these fair women everywhere December 13, in department stores, hotels etc.. Perhaps you have already witnessed this strange event at your local IKEA store somewhere else around the globe? But if you want to see Sweden´s official Lucia, selected in a Beauty pageant like contest, you should be in Skansen at 4 PM Dec 13, she will then continue with her fellow sisters through Stockholm in a procession by horse-drawn carriages celebrated by the habitants of Stockholm at the Kungsträdgården square where they will also perform again. Lucia is as much chosen for her ability to sing as for her beauty.

In Kungsträdgården there is also a very poplular Skating-rink, -take the opportunity and rent a pair of skates and dance around to the loud music played here. Afterwards you are very close to the big departments store NK and Åhlens, for some regular shopping.

Skansen is situated in Djurgården one of Stockholm cities many islands, and is withing a 30 minutes walking distance of the shopping center. It is a good idea to stay at this island if you want to experience another Swedish tradition that is a real highlight this time of year -Julbord. Have you ever heard of Swedish Smorgasbord? This is the same thing -but the winter-version of it. It´s a fantastic bufee where you get the chance to taste all of Sweden´s special dishes. In Sweden you eat Julbord both Christmas evening and Christmas day. And starting from the end of November some finer restaurants also starts serving this Christmas smorgasbord. It ´s traditional that cooperations treat their employees with a Christmas feast at such a restaurant, and also larger family gatherings go out for a so called Julbord the weeks before Christmas. You pay a fixed bufee price and then you can eat all the dishes including desert and coffee. Alcohol is not included. We recommend Sollidens julbord in Skansen, and Ulla Winbladh and Villa Gothem -nearby Skansen in Djurgården. Or take a boat tour with Stromma around Stockholm Archepelogo for few hours where they also serve Julbord the month before Christmas. It is important to book in time though!

For accomodation in Stockholm, Hostelsclub has several low budget alternatives to recommend. At the popular Crawfoord Place, a small and personal hostel, you stay close to the train station but still live in a neighborhood area where you find everyday life of the habitants of Stockholm. Or stay over in an old ship at Rygefjord Hotel and Hostel. This unique accommodation you find in the harbor just 5 minutes walk from the Old town. Situated at the Sodermalm harbor you are also very close to the trendy clubs and bars in the young and popular island Sodermalm. In the middle of Old town “Gamla stan” in the big square where the Christmas market is held we can also offer you a good night sleep at the young and friendly Best hostel Old Town.

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