At 3pm in the afternoon on Christmas Eve every year, Swedes young and old gather around the television to watch ‘Kalle Anka’ (Donald Duck) a Swedish version of a Disney’s “From All of Us to All of You”, in a strange ritual in which everyone pretends it isn’t all instantly available on YouTube.
This year, 3.44m Swedes tuned in for the show, making it among the most-watched television programmes of the year.
It was, however, the lowest figure since 2010, raising questions over whether, after nearly 60 years of annual showings, Swedes' devotion to the show may be ebbing slightly.
This year Gina Dirawi, a Palestinian Swedish comedian was chosen as “Julvärd”, the Christmas host who presented SVT's Christmas Eve line up.
After her appointment was announced in November, her Twitter account was deluged with hateful comments, partly because of her Muslim background (her grandfather was an imam), partly because of her Arab ethnicity.
“I’m so happy and I’m grateful that it went so well,” Dirawi said after the show.
“This is such a big day for many in Sweden that it is so important to show that it does not matter where you come from,” she continued. “Anyone can sit on this couch, so long as you work hard, are a good hostess and can convey warmth and a good atmosphere”.
However a web poll carried out by Expressen newspaper showed readers sharply divided over her performance, with 32 percent arguing that she deserved the lowest possible rating out of five, and half giving her top marks.
Sweden’s state broadcaster SVT has changed its Julvärd every year since the presenter Arne Weise, who blamed the show for his three divorces, ended a 30-year tenure in 2002.
The singer Sarah Dawn Finer won the highest audience of any year since 1997 when she presented the show in 2012, drawing in 3.88m viewers.
Disney has long since stopped broadcasting “From All of Us to All of You” in the US or the UK, but the Christmas show retains a stubborn backing in the Nordic countries. As well as in Sweden, it is broadcast annually in Denmark, Finland and Norway.
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