For this winter, the couple's 72 square metre apartment in Stockholm has been packed with 32 Christmas trees and 50 boxes of other decorations. One tree alone can contain more than 3,000 lamps.
“The main goal is to inspire and spread joy,” Richard tells The Local.
Richard and Pehr Hante have a passion for Christmas decorating. Photo: Metha Engqvist Griffiths.
The tradition was started by his husband Pehr Hante back in 1988. When he met Richard in 1996 he was a little bit worried about how his husband would react to his passion. But Richard, who also loves Christmas decorations, was luckily surprised and excited about their shared love.
The decorating process takes up a lot of time and the couple recently took a five-year break from it. But after deciding to bring back the tradition on a biannual basis, they are once again inspired, and got to work on this year's project back in October.
The apartment from the outside. Photo: Mats Olander.
All the Christmas trees have different themes and despite being a winter tradition, one of Richard's favourites is a tree with a summer theme.
“The summer tree is a success we keep doing with flowers, butterflies and so on,” he explains.
Beside the traditional summer tree a new themed tree has taken centre stage this year. It is called 'Welcome' and is decorated with flags from different countries, dolls and blue and yellow lights.
Richard explains the thought behind the creation: “The lights of blue and yellow symbolize Sweden. The dolls from all over the world are to show that everyone is welcome to Sweden.”
The themed Christmas trees 'Welcome' and 'Summer tree'. Photo: Mats Olander.
The couple's home has been featured by some of Sweden's biggest media over the years, but Richard thinks he will never get used to the attention.
“It is really weird hearing people we don’t know talk about us,” he says.
More of the decorations. Photo: Mats Olander
However Richard does not believe that the pair will give up on their hobby any time soon.
“We buy more [decorations] than we get rid of,” he laughs, adding that the pair remain truly proud of their festive efforts.
Article by The Local's intern Emma Lidman