How to Celebrate Christmas in Stockholm

How to Celebrate Christmas in Stockholm

Christmas in Stockholm is a treasured gem for those who know about it and a tasty treat for those yet to experience it. Swedes tend to step into Christmas on the 12th November, when the Stockholmsjul Christmas lights are switched on and the around 40 streets and squares around central Stockholm come alive with a festive golden glow. From that moment on, festive markets start springing up across the city, seasonal displays can be spotted gracing the windows of the shopping districts and carols begin to fill the air with Christmas cheer. So whether you want to indulge in traditional seasonal feasts or learn to ice skate on frozen lakes, keep reading to discover how to celebrate Christmas in Stockholm.

  1. Do Your Christmas Shopping at the Beautiful Markets
  2. Drink Plenty of Glögg (Mulled Wine)…
  3. …And Eat Plenty of Julbords (Chirstmas Buffets)
  4. Learn to Ice Skate Like The Nords on Frozen Lakes
  5. Admire the Candle-Lit Processions on St. Lucia’s Day


Do Your Christmas Shopping at the Beautiful Markets

If you’re planning a Stockholm city break in the lead up to Christmas, then please, please, leave your present shopping for the many magical markets sprinkled across the archipelago. That means no copping out on last-minute Amazon orders and no racing down Oxford Street in a flurry of panic on Christmas Eve. Instead you can browse for traditional handicrafts (sometimes made on-site) and tasty Swedish delicacies at the charmingly old-fashioned Gamla Stan Market, the popular open-air Skansen Museum market and the upscale market in the royal residence of Drottningholm Palace. And the best part? The Christmas markets are filled with vendors selling delicious mugs of glögg (mulled wine), so you can do all your gift-getting while enjoying one (or two, or three) tasty beverages.


Drink Plenty of Glögg (Mulled Wine)…

And speaking of glögg, we’d argue that there’s nothing that screams the arrival of Christmas in Sweden more than the first brewing of a good batch of spiced mulled wine, and we’re sure you’ll be happy to hear that drinking copious amounts of this indulgent wintery beverage is something of a national pastime when the festive season kicks off. Vendors can be spotted flogging their finest concoctions in every nook and cranny of the city, but some of our favourite spots can be found in and around the centre. Kaffegillet and the Hairy Pig Deli in the old town of Gamla Stan are renowned to have some of the finest glögg in the area, as is the Christmas market in the open-air museum of Skansen. If you want to dig a little deeper into the glögg-making process then you can head to the lovely Stockholm Branneri, an innovative gin distillery that recently introduced a (now wildly popular) gin and tonic glögg. You can enjoy a tour to see how both the glögg and their gins are distilled (or brewed) to perfection before having a taste for yourself.


…And Eat Plenty of Julbords (Chirstmas Buffets)

Well, if you’re anything like us and you’ve had one too many afternoon glöggs while browsing the Christmas markets, you’ll probably be in need of a nice, hearty restaurant with plenty of good food options. This is where the julbord steps in - a great big buffet-style feast serving every Swedish Christmas delicacy under the sun. We’re talking meatballs and gravy, pickled herring, smoked salmon, cured meats, roasted ham, potato casseroles, beetroot salads and saffron pretzels. The bustling centre of Stockholm is full to the brim of inviting restaurants offering traditional fare, so simply wander around until you find the one that takes your fancy. You can also turn to our detailed Dossier that comes packed with all or top, tried-and-tested eateries.


Learn to Ice Skate Like The Nords on Frozen Lakes

Gliding across the frozen lakes of the idyllic archipelago on a pair of skates is a must for anyone spending Christmas in Stockholm. Nordic ice skating is a treasured tradition that differs quite a lot from what you might be used to, in that the blades are longer and detachable from the walking boots you wear. We can have you whisked away to one of the most beautiful lakes in the region, where you’ll have plenty of time to master the technique with an experienced guide. If you’re not quite ready to put your skates to rest when you get back into the city, you can always head to the beautiful Kungsträdgården Ice Rink in the centre to try and show up the locals with your newly-learned skating skills.


Admire the Candle-Lit Processions on St. Lucia’s Day

Every year, on the 13th December, Swedes across the country dig out their finest white gowns and dust off their candles to honour St. Lucia, a third-century Italian saint who represents light in darkness. No one’s quite sure why they started celebrating the saint, but hey, we can’t complain. The celebrations (which last the whole week) aren’t particularly religious but they are incredibly beautiful and well worth checking out. They are also held at some of Stockholm’s best sites, so you can tick off a bit of sightseeing at the same time. The popular open-air museum of Skansen puts on a series of traditional concerts across the park, Storkyrkan – Stockholm’s Cathedral – hosts a number of splendid processions and the City Hall is a magical setting, aglow with hundreds of candles and charming events.