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THE LOCAL'S COUNTDOWN TO CHRISTMAS

Top ten Swedish Christmas presents

Christmas shopping is a challenge every year. If you're looking for something particularly Swedish with a special touch, it can be even harder. Here is The Local's own guide to top Christmas gifts of the year.

Top ten Swedish Christmas presents
Presents photo: Shutterstock

It's that time of year again. The sun, when it comes out at all, sets at 2:30pm, and most of the light in town comes from Christmas decorations in every window.

Many expats like to add a touch of their new home for Christmas, infusing gifts to those 'back home' with a little international flair. But drunk elk won't fit into a box, Abba broke up, and meatballs don't package very well.

So what do you give the friends and family to stuff those Swedish stockings? 

We rounded up the top ten gifts that we identify with Sweden – all of which can be ordered (and gift-wrapped) from the safety of your home. 

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1. Dala Horse

We'll start off with the obvious one. There will never be a Swedish present as classic, as tried-and-true, as the Dala horse.

Made painstakingly by hand and with nothing going to waste, the beautiful wooden figures are a classic symbol of Sweden. 

2. Johanna N Jewellery

An elegant piece of jewellery is always an appreciated gift. Johanna N's unique designs are inspired by her roots in northern Sweden, and are overflowing with nature themes such as reindeer antlers, birch branches, and butterflies.

The beautiful brass pieces are all the rage in Sweden – and each piece comes with a one-year guarantee to make sure they are both fashionable and functional. 

Prefer silver, simple pieces? Try out Anna Viktoria, with charming Dala horse necklaces and more. 

3. Fika mug

Coffee, coffee, coffee. Sweet pastries. Cosiness. FIKA. How much more Swedish can you get? This is the perfect option for the Sweden lover anywhere in the world – or who simply needs a bit more caffeine to make it through winter.

Shout your love for fika to the world with a mug imprinted with Sweden's most important word – because why not? There's even a tray to match to carry all those cinnamon buns!

4. Classic Swedish kids toys

Whether you go for the classic teddy bear or a Swedish storybook character like Alfons, these are sure to please. 

Teddykompaniet is a favourite among little ones in Sweden, with little Princess Estelle herself opting for the fluffy teddy. The family-owned company also guarantees good working conditions in their factories, totally safe and EU-approved products, and works with a children's hospital to improve hospital environment. This is a present where everyone wins.

5. Swedish ski hat

Baby, it's cold outside – especially if you're in Sweden. But even if you're not, you can remind a friend or loved one of good ol' Sverige with a cosy knit hat in blue and gold. Or the Swedish flag, or rainbow, or chainmail-reminiscent silver, or pink.

Sätila of Sweden has been keeping Swedish ears (and hands) warm since 1896. If there's anything they know how to do better than anyone, it's surviving the winter – in style. 

6. Snowball candle

Looking for a simple gift for a colleague? Instead of buying for that cookie-cutter jarred candle smelling like factory vanilla again, why not opt for a present which truly suits the mood and season?

Snow may be wet and cold, but you don't have to be to enjoy the warmth of this novelty Swedish candle

7. Skultuna cufflinks

The Swedish three-crown symbol is one of the nation's oldest, dating back to at least the 14th century. Of course, Swedes are also known for their effortless style and clean, classy details. 

Skultuna has been designing fine accessories for Swedish royalty since 1607. In short, Skultuna cuff-links featuring the three crowns are an impeccable choice for the stylish lad who already owns too many socks. They also come in festive red. You can even buy the pair Prince Daniel wore on his wedding day.

8. Hip flask

Right, so Sweden is cold, we've covered that. And there are certain ways of staying warm and cheerful in the dreary winter. Like knitted hats. And other things.

If you want to give a little piece of Sweden which is both humorous and useful, these steel hip flasks engraved with reindeer or moose might be right up your alley. Something for the hunter in your life?

9. Wooden wine corks and kitchen gadgets galore

Popping open the champagne this Christmas? Glugging down the glögg? How very Swedish of you. When you need a break just cork the bottle with a hand-carved, all natural birch cork from Fjällprodukter.

Or if you're planning on spending a lot of time in the kitchen, or need the perfect present for that wild-natured foodie in your life, why not try this reindeer apron?

We can hear them talking now: “What’s cooking good looking in a tanned reindeer apron?” Whether cooking on the grill or in the kitchen, this tanned apron is a fantastic gift for those who love cooking in their own style.

 

10. A cup of cheer

On a small road in the heart of the Old Town in Stockholm, there is a beautiful little candy store where they create amazing hand-made treats. Including delicious tea like this – you can't beat it!

This merry assorment of tea from Polkagris Kokeri’s picturesque 19th century store and candy factory is the perfect beverage of choice to keep your loved ones warm all season long.

 

This article was presented by The Local Brands. Shop here.

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CHRISTMAS

Sweden’s best Christmas markets for 2021

After many Christmas markets were cancelled last season, you may be wondering where you will be able to get this year's dose of Christmas cheer. Here are our suggestions for some of Sweden's best Christmas markets.

snow on stockholm's gamla stan christmas market
Stockholm Old Town's Christmas market may be one of Europe's oldest. Photo: Ola Ericson/imagebank.sweden.se

SOUTHERN SWEDEN

1. Malmö Mitt Möllan

The trendy and multicultural area of Möllevången in Sweden’s third biggest city has become the spot for a special Christmas market for those looking for a modern and hipster-ish atmosphere. The Mitt Möllan traders’ association organises a market that promises art, culture, food and fashion. Busy that weekend? Malmö’s traditional annual Christmas market in Gustav Adolfs square, focusing on local products, is being held in three sessions, from December 9th-12th, 16th-19th and 20-23rd. 

When: December 2nd-5th

Tickets: Free

2. Kalmar Castle, Kalmar

This spectacular 800-year-old castle has established itself as one of the largest Christmas markets in Sweden. For four days, the whole building will be opened to the public and visitors get the chance to wander around in the historic decorated halls. Listen to Christmas and winter music, and walk around the castle and visit some of the about 120 craftsmen from all over Sweden who set up their stands and sell handmade items. 

When: November 25th-28th

Tickets: 90 kronor (free for under-12s)

Kalmar Castle in Småland provides a scenic location for one of Sweden’s largest Christmas markets. Photo: Emmy Jonsson/Scandinav Bildbyrå/imagebank.sweden.se

Katrinetorps Landeri, also known as Gourmetgården, is Malmö’s Christmas market for foodies. This market, situated in the house and gardens of Katrinetorp, built in the 1800s, will have a focus on Christmassy food such as glögg (mulled wine), as well as a horse and cart, antiques, a Lucia parade and dancing around the Christmas tree. They will also be offering their own handmade products in their deli.

When: December 3-5th

Tickets: 80 kronor for adults, free for children under 15

4. Jul på Bosjökloster, Höör

Christmas at Bosjökloster monastery is also back for 2021! As in previous years, this market will feature Christmas concerts in the church, as well as locally produced gifts and food for perfect Christmas gifts. Visitors will also be able to eat a traditional Swedish julbord, meet Santa, ride a horse and cart and “look for presents in the maze”. This market is taking place on the first weekend of advent, meaning you can start getting into the Christmas spirit as early as November!

When: November 26th-28th

Tickets: 100 kronor for adults, dropping to 50 kronor after 2pm on Sunday and free after 3pm on Sunday. Free for children under 16. Over-65s pay 80 kronor on Friday

CENTRAL SWEDEN

5. Liseberg theme park, Gothenburg

Sweden’s biggest amusement park, Gothenburg attraction Liseberg, lights up every year with millions of Christmas candles. A traditional Christmas Market and an old-fashioned Christmas market in different areas of the park offer everything from carol singing to pony carousel rides. Ice shows, Santa’s grotto, an ice skating rink and the park’s rabbits are sure to keep your little ones entertained. More information here.

When: Thursdays-Sundays between November 19th and December 30th. Check website for more details.

Tickets: Entrance from 95 kronor (free for children up to 110 centimetres) to 245 kronor for unlimited rides. The price varies depending on which day you visit as well as whether you want to go on the rides or not.

 

Gothenburg’s Liseberg theme park is host to a Christmas market complete with festive lights. Photo: Pontus Lundahl/Scanpix/TT

6. Skansen, Stockholm

Take the ferry over to Stockholm’s Djurgården island from Slussen and stroll over to Skansen, Europe’s biggest outdoor museum, which has organized its own Christmas market since 1903. It’s a great place to snap up some presents in the form of traditional Swedish arts and crafts, as well as having a feel of how Christmas was celebrated in the past.

When: Fridays-Sundays between November 26th and December 19th.

Tickets: 70 kronor for children aged 4-15, 160 kronor for adults and 140 kronor for concessions.

7. Old Town, Stockholm

Around 40 stands set up shop right in the middle of Stockholm’s Old Town ahead of the festive season, selling Swedish Christmas sweets, smoked reindeer, elk meat, a range of Swedish handicrafts and decorative arts, and much more. The setting alone is enough to get anyone into a romantic Christmas mood. This market might actually be one of the oldest in Europe, since the first Christmas market in the square was held as early as 1523 (although it started in its current format in 1837).

When: November 20th-December 23rd

Tickets: Free

8. Wadköping Christmas Market, Örebro

The Wadköping outdoor museum, which is an echo of what Örebro looked like centuries ago, organises a Christmas market full of the usual traditions: Christmas decorations, sausages, cheeses and arts and crafts. 2021’s Christmas market will also feature outdoor Christmas songs and pony riding.

When: November 21st and 28th, December 5th and 12th

Tickets: Free

NORTHERN SWEDEN

9. Gammelstads Kyrkstad, Luleå

Brave the cold (and it will be cold) for a Christmas market in the far north of Sweden. The Gammelstad Church Town is the country’s largest and best preserved church town, and a UNESCO World Heritage site. It is over 400 years old, and comprises of 405 cottages, six stables and a privy, sprawling around a large medieval stone church. The Christmas market takes place at the Hägnan open air museum, where around 80 exhibitors sell products from home-baked goods to arts and crafts. Visitors this year will be able to make their own candles, meet Santa and go on a candle-lit walking tour through the museum.

When: December 4th-5th

Tickets: 30 kronor

10. Jokkmokk Christmas Market, Jokkmokk

Jokkmokk is located in the north of Sweden, in the Arctic Circle. It is an important place for the Sami people, the only indigenous population in Scandinavia. It is famous for its winter market in February, which first took place in 1605. At their recently-established Christmas market, held in celebration of the winter solstice, visitors will find traditional Sami handicrafts – called duodji – and learn more about their history and culture.

When: December 11th-12th

Tickets: Free

Traditional Sami handicrafts – called guksi or kåsa – wooden drinking cups available at the Jokkmokk Christmas and winter markets. Photo: Fredrik Sandberg/Scanpix/TT
 

11. Christmas Market at Nordanå, Skellefteå

Are you in Skellefteå this December? Pay a visit to the Christmas market at Nordanå, which started in 1975. It is particularly known for its arts and crafts, and in past years visitors have been able to buy handmade ceramics, knitted baby clothes, and tin thread jewellery.

When: December 5th

Tickets: Free

12. Christmas Market at Västerbotten Museum, Umeå

This Umeå museum dedicated to the region of Västerbotten organises its annual Christmas market again. It promises a candy shop, horse-drawn carriage rides, a bakehouse and more than 80 artisans selling locally produced food and quality wares. Hungry visitors can also learn about what Christmas dinner from this region may have looked like in the 1870s.

When: December 4th-5th

Tickets: Free

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