• Sweden edition
Swede of the Week
The Sarah Dawn Finer things at Christmas

The Sarah Dawn Finer things at Christmas

Published: 27 Dec 2012 12:26 GMT+01:00
Updated: 27 Dec 2012 12:26 GMT+01:00

"Look mummy! It's Christmas!" the small girl said as Sarah Dawn Finer walked into the post office.

Such is the role of the "Christmas Host" on television each year that the child simply equated the well-known singer with the holiday itself.

It was a somewhat nervous but happy-looking Finer who popped up on television sets across Sweden this year at five minutes to 2pm. That's when hosts after a short preamble light a candle to kick off the Christmas special broadcast on Sveriges Television (SVT).

The broadcast runs throughout the afternoon of Christmas Eve, with the host presenting a series of traditional programmes to viewers around Sweden.

"My nephew was upset that I wasn’t going to be home for Christmas Eve,” the half-English half-American singer told Svenska Dagbladet newspaper in the run-up to Christmas.

"But I’m able to be with and touch people all over Sweden in a way I didn’t think was possible."


She began by telling the viewers the story of her post-office encounter, then it was time for the candle. She had failed to light it during rehearsals and as the producer told her there was three minutes left until going live she felt utter panic.

It might sound ever so simple, but few have ever lit a candle with almost 4 million people watching. And she did it. No dropped matches, scorched finger tips or fiddling with a limp wick.

Finer is no stranger to Swedish television viewers. She was only seven when she got a role in the series Maskrosbarnen (The Dandelion Children) and some years later took part in the iconic stories of Bert.

But singing was always part of her life, and she toured with her sister throughout her adolescence.

She says that for her, Christmas is less about religion and more about family - and of course, listening to music. Her Christmases mix Swedish traditions with those from her father's England and from her mother’s native US.

She credits them for her tenacity.

“Both my parents have shown me that anything is possible by moving here and building a life,” Finer told SvD.

"I’ll always feel a certain degree of alienation here because I’m different, not the norm.”

Yet, if Finer was Swedish Christmas this year, she has for the past few years been strongly associated with the most Swedish of all musical bonanzas – the Eurovision qualifiers Melodifestivalen, which stretches the breadth and width of the country and feeds its fodder to the tabloids on every step of the way.

At first she was a contestant, performing in 2007 with I Remember Love, which came in fourth. With her second try in 2009, with the song Moving On, she again made it into the finals but finished only seventh.

Despite never earning the singer prime position, both songs clung on and were the most played tunes on radio in their respective years.

Her role in this year’s outing was somewhat different. She took centre stage right from the start as one of three co-hostesses alongside actress Helena Bergström and comedienne Gina Darawi.

Despite the glittering list of successes, she has admitted to insecurity in previous interviews. She even calls herself fragile. And when she was interviewed by Elle Magazine following her Eurovision hostess stint, she could not hide a certain self-consciousness.

"In everyday life I wear a lot of black, often a leather jacket some tights and a black dress. I’m not very good with clothes. Clothes take time when you need to work magic,” she told Elle.

Her go-to designer is the legendary Swedish dressmaker Camilla Thulin, who has sewn her made-to-order dresses for almost a decade. If she were to raid any of the Hollywood A-listers’ closets it would have to be “curvy women like Jill Scott, Queen Latifah, Jennifer Hudson and Oprah.”

Oprah also gets a peek in on a list of inspirational women that Elle asked her to share. As does Madonna. And her mum.

The musical inspiration list is a few inches longer: Eva Cassidy, Jay-Z, Anna Ternhem, D’angelo, Ryan Adams… although Stevie Wonder and Tracy Chapman are the ones to snag a joint first place.

Take a look at our past Swedes of the Week.

Ann Törnkvist

Follow Ann on Twitter here

Don't miss...X
Left Right

Your comments about this article

15:20 December 30, 2012 by Greysuede
Very unpleasant cheap flamboyant woman talking much about nonsense and putting us off watching SVT. She was a shame for Sweden representing us in Eurovision 2012 by her inferiority and stupidity in front of over 40 countries superior representatives. No more trash please!
Today's headlines
Race to be scrapped from Swedish legislation
Integration Minister Erik Ullenhag meets children in Husby, Stockholm. Photo: Jonas Ekströmer/TT

Race to be scrapped from Swedish legislation

The Swedish government announced that it plans to remove all mentions of race from Swedish legislation, saying that race is a social construct which should not be encouraged in law. READ  

US aircraft 'violates' Swedish airspace

US aircraft 'violates' Swedish airspace

A mystery airplane that passed over Swedish airspace recently has been revealed as an American aircraft, sources revealed on Thursday. READ  

Elite schools stripped of 'special' privileges

Elite schools stripped of 'special' privileges

Sweden's three elite boarding schools can no longer charge tuition fees, the government announced on Thursday, in a string of changes following a two-year review. READ  

Bildt lays out four steps to Gaza peace
Photos: TT

Bildt lays out four steps to Gaza peace

Swedish Foreign Minister Carl Bildt stated that there are four steps to achieving peace in Gaza, and that it begins with removing the blockade - which has "played into Hamas' hands". READ  

Malmström snags EU commissioner post again

Malmström snags EU commissioner post again

Cecilia Malmström has been nominated to be the European Commissioner for another five years, Sweden's prime minister announced on Thursday. READ  

Stockholm Pride 2014
In Pictures: Stockholm's Historic Pride Party
Conchita Wurst belts out a ballad. Photo: Rebecca Jacobs

In Pictures: Stockholm's Historic Pride Party

With Stockholm's Pride Week in full swing, The Local's Rebecca Jacobs heads on down to the traditional Historic Party to take in the colours, Conchita, and the community. READ  

Two to hospital after Stockholm fire

Two to hospital after Stockholm fire

Two people were taken to hospital in the early hours of Thursday morning after a fire began in their central Stockholm apartment. READ  

Salmonella prompts Coop hamburger recall
Photo: Jim Cole/TT

Salmonella prompts Coop hamburger recall

Swedish supermarket chain Coop has recalled its in-store brand of fresh hamburger meat after a routine check revealed traces of salmonella in the meat. READ  

What's On in Sweden
Photo: Roger Vikström/TT

What's On in Sweden

It's Pride Week in Stockholm. Find out more about the celebrations (including the biggest Pride Parade in Scandinavia) as well as plenty of other activities in Sweden's three biggest cities. READ  

Sweden resumes aid to 'anti-gay Uganda'
Hillevi Engström and protesters against Uganda's anti-gay laws. Photos: Maja Suslin/Ben Curtis/TT

Sweden resumes aid to 'anti-gay Uganda'

Sweden has resumed sending development aid funds to Uganda, after suspending payouts back in March due to "anti-gay legislation". READ  

Stockholm Pride bars Sweden Democrats
Gender neutral pronoun 'hen' enters dictionary
Top ten cafes in Stockholm
People-watching - Stockholm Pride
Photo: Henrik Trygg/Imagebank Sweden
Sweden worst in EU at getting foreigners jobs
Blog updates

31 July

Calling a speedo a speedo (Blogweiser) »

"There are a lot of speedos on Europe’s beaches. Some European males are evidently more comfortable sporting small, stretchy suits on public beaches than I would be. I accept it may be nice to have swimwear that’s not long and cumbersome. A speedo is maybe also good for tanning. But strolling around town in a..." READ »


27 July

Approaching Stockholm (Around Sweden in a kayak) »

"I woke up in the comfort of my own little cabin on Eva and Rolf’s boat, it was 7:30am and I was feeling a bit groggy after a couple of beers with all the lovely locals the night before. The previous day had really taken its toll on my body and I was very stiff and..." READ »

Stockholm Pride kicks off
The top six ways the US and Sweden differ
Swedish youth suicides hit 25-year high
Politician reported for selling 'negro ball'
Police turn blind eye to Swedish 'slave trade'
Stockholm Pride: Allsång på Skansen with Conchita Wurst
Sponsored Article
Introducing... ID cards and permits in Stockholm
People-watching, June 26th - 28th. Get inside Stockholm's hottest nightclubs
Top ten Swedish taboos
Seven-year-old Swede cycles to Berlin
'Gaza conflict needs help, not empty rhetoric'
Swedes voted 'most beautiful' in the Nordics
Business & Money
Sweden demands EU clarity on Bitcoin tax
Swedish organic sales enjoy 'amazing' growth
Photo: Johan Nilsson/TT
What's On in Sweden
People-watching July 23
Swedish cops elect not to shoot 'angry elks'
Business & Money
New alcohol retail rules threaten micro-breweries
People-watching Båstad
Sponsored Article
Introducing... Your finances in Stockholm
Sponsored Article
Introducing... Housing in Stockholm
Latest news from The Local in Austria

More news from Austria at thelocal.at

Latest news from The Local in Switzerland

More news from Switzerland at thelocal.ch

Latest news from The Local in Germany

More news from Germany at thelocal.de

Latest news from The Local in Denmark

More news from Denmark at thelocal.dk

Latest news from The Local in Spain

More news from Spain at thelocal.es

Latest news from The Local in France

More news from France at thelocal.fr

Latest news from The Local in Italy

More news from Italy at thelocal.it

Latest news from The Local in Norway

More news from Norway at thelocal.no

jobs available
Swedish Down Town Consulting & Productions
Swedish Down Town Consulting & Productions is an innovative business company which provides valuable assistance with the Swedish Authorities, Swedish language practice and general communications. Call 073-100 47 81 or visit:
If you want to drink, that’s your business.
If you want to stop, we can help.

Learn more about English-language Alcoholics Anonymous in Sweden. No dues. No fees. Confidentiality assured.
PSD Media
PSD Media is marketing company that offers innovative solutions for online retailers. We provide modern solutions that help increase traffic and raise conversion. Visit our site at: