• Sweden's news in English

The Sarah Dawn Finer things at Christmas

27 Dec 2012, 12:26

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

Facebook Twitter Google+ reddit

"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.

Story continues below…

"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

Related links:

Facebook Twitter Google+ reddit

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
Löfven: 'Sweden will double its number of troops in Iraq'
Stefan Löfven and Haider al-Abadi during the visit on Monday. Photo: Henrik Montgomery/TT

Swedish Prime Minister Stefan Löfven has promised to double his country's number of troops in Iraq following a meeting with Iraqi counterpart Haider al-Abadi on Monday.

Will Swedes soon be looking for fairtrade porn?
Should Swedes think fairtrade with porn? Photo: Karin Malmhav/SvD/TT

A fairtrade attitude to pornography would be beneficial, Sweden's health minister told The Local.

Presented by Stockholm University
Nordic fashion in focus at Stockholm University
Simon Paulin/imagebank.sweden.se

Nordic fashion took centre stage in the Swedish capital last week as Stockholm University hosted the “first-ever” academic conference looking at luxury and sustainability in the fashion industry.

Referee, coach and parents in Swedish youth football fight
File photo of a referee holding a red card not related to the story. Photo: Stefan Jerrevång/TT

A football dad broke his leg in the brawl in front of 11-year-old kids after a Hammarby youth football game.

Illicit abattoir kept more than 100 bulls' penises
A couple of young bulls not related to the story. Photo: Jonas Ekströmer/TT

Dried cattle genitalia, goats' heads and hundreds of litres of lard were just a few of the many strange finds discovered when police raided a property in Sweden.

This is officially Sweden's most beautiful beard
The most beautiful beard in Sweden. Photo: Memo Göcek

According to a jury of barbers and 'well known bearded profiles', that is.

Presented by Invest Stockholm
One expat's strategy for making friends in Stockholm

You might think it’s hard to make friends in a new city. But if at first you don’t succeed – try something else!

Injured Swedish photographer protected by 'guardian angel'
Swedish photographer Paul Hansen on another occasion. Photo: Fredrik Sandberg/TT

Photographer Paul Hansen thanked his lucky stars for surviving sniper fire while covering the battle for the Isis-held city of Mosul in Iraq.

How Sweden is trying to smooth relations with Saudis
Swedish Prime Minister Stefan Löfven meeting Saudi Arabia's Trade Minister Majid bin Abdullah Al Qasabi. Photo: Henrik Montgomery/TT

Sweden's Prime Minister Stefan Löfven has visited Saudi Arabia a year and a half after relations turned frosty in a major diplomatic row.

My Swedish Career
'Swedish people love it, but they find it quite odd'
Scottish entrepreneur William Macdonald. Photo: Michael Campanella

Meet the web developer and entrepreneur using traditional Scottish ceilidh dancing to break the ice with Swedes.

Sponsored Article
Last chance to vote absentee in the US elections
People-watching: October 21st-23rd
Sponsored Article
This is Malmö: Football capital of Sweden
Fury at plans that 'threaten the IB's survival' in Sweden
Analysis & Opinion
Are we just going to let half the country die?
Blog updates

6 October

10 useful hjälpverb (The Swedish Teacher) »

"Hej! I think the so-called “hjalpverb” (auxiliary verbs in English) are a good way to get…" READ »


8 July

Editor’s blog, July 8th (The Local Sweden) »

"Hej readers, It has, as always, been a bizarre, serious and hilarious week in Sweden. You…" READ »

Sponsored Article
Where is the Swedish music industry heading?
Angry elk chases Swede up a lamp post
Sponsored Article
Why you should 'grab a chair' on Stockholm's tech scene
The Local Voices
'Alienation in Sweden feels better: I find myself a stranger among scores of aliens'
People-watching: October 20th
The Local Voices
A layover at Qatar airport brought this Swedish-Kenyan couple together - now they're heading for marriage
Sponsored Article
Stockholm: creating solutions to global challenges
Swede punches clown that scared his grandmother
Sponsored Article
Swedish for programmers: 'It changed my life'
Fans throw flares and enter pitch in Swedish football riot
Could Swedish blood test solve 'Making a Murderer'?
Sponsored Article
Top 7 tips to help you learn Swedish
Property of the week: Linnéstaden, Gothenburg
Sponsored Article
‘Extremism can't be defeated on the battlefield alone’
Swedish school to build gender neutral changing room
People-watching: October 14th-16th
Sponsored Article
Stockholm: creating solutions to global challenges
Man in Sweden assaulted by clowns with broken bottle
Sponsored Article
Why you should 'grab a chair' on Stockholm's tech scene
Nobel Prize 2016: Literature
Sponsored Article
Where is the Swedish music industry heading?
Watch the man who discovered Bob Dylan react to his Nobel Prize win
Sponsored Article
One expat's strategy for making friends in Stockholm
Record numbers emigrating from Sweden
Sponsored Article
Nordic fashion in focus at Stockholm University
People-watching: October 12th
The Local Voices
'Swedish startups should embrace newcomers' talents - there's nothing to fear'
How far right are the Sweden Democrats?
Property of the week: Triangeln, Malmö
Sweden unveils Europe's first elk hut
People-watching: October 7th-9th
The Local Voices
Syria's White Helmets: The Nobel Peace Prize would have meant a lot, but pulling a child from rubble is the greatest reward
Missing rune stone turns up in Sweden
Nobel Prize 2016: Chemistry
jobs available