Ten Swedish tips for a stress-free Christmas party

Worried about how to make sure your Christmas celebrations go well?'s Ida Lindström has some tips for how to party without any stress.

Ten Swedish tips for a stress-free Christmas party
Follow these tips to ensure a relaxing party this Christmas! Photo: Louise de Miranda

Most people tend to be quite optimistic and excited at the start of the Christmas season: we plan various gatherings and festive evenings, put a lot of thought into what kind of new trendy mulled wine to buy this year, or what style of decorations to go for.

Yet somehow, time passes way quicker than expected, and though it was your turn to invite that group of friends to this year’s party, you never had the time to prepare the way you wanted to. Don't panic: we've pulled together 10 tips on how to make your Christmas celebrations a success.

1. Welcome!

If you missed buying a wreath (or didn't have time to make one), try attaching a bunch of Christmas tree baubles to the door to welcome your guests.

If you live in a house, an outdoor torch can be a nice way to light up the entrance for the visitors, but a large lantern or even a few tea lights in a large glass jar works as well. This also looks very nice in the entry stairway if you live in a flat, but only works if there is a large open area that is fire-safe with no children or animals running around.

Rhinebeck, NY Winter Decor
Photo: Rikki Snyder

2. Emergency presents

Why not prepare a simple but personal gift bag for tonight's guests? You can go a long way with simple means and a little bit of humour.

Include an aspirin (if there's a risk that it will be a late evening), a chocolate bar and some other stuff that you might already have at home or can find at the nearest corner shop. It doesn’t have to cost a lot to go down well.

Christmas Tree
Photo: Holly Marder

3. Mini fir

Do you live in a small flat with limited space? That never stopped anyone from arranging a Christmas party, but it might be a bit too crowded to have a big beautiful silver fir in the same place.

Instead, buy a few small firs junipers to replicate the scent in your home without taking up too much space. If you’re in a hurry (and don’t have time to go on a fir tree branch hunt in the forest), there's usually a lot of waste around the tree sellers. Buy some left overs and place them in vases and bowls around the room.

Christmas tree in a pot
Photo: Jen L'Italien

4. Classics… or hip hop?

A key element when it comes to Christmas celebrations is of course the music! Are you struggling to find your Christmas albums that you put away last year, somewhere “smart” where you would easily find them next time? Luckily, these days there are many flexible music services where you can prepare your own Christmas play list.

One suggestion is to contact your friends on social media a few days before the party to ask for their favourite Christmas songs. Easy peasy, the perfect playlist is done. All you have to do is look them up and add them to the playlist. It doesn’t have to be more complicated than that.

Christmas Tree

5. Create coziness to heat things up

Christmas should be all about snuggling up, so bring out the sheepskin, cozy throws and wool socks in preparation for the gathering. Place them a bit sloppily over the armchair and sofa to invite your friends to snuggle up. The extra chairs and stools that been brought out for the little event can be livened up with an extra blanket or sheepskin.

NC Moments

6. The naked tree

Are you so stressed that you haven’t had the time to decorate the tree? Perfect! Let your guests do the job! An ideal icebreaker and a way for you to settle a little and to let your friends leave their mark on your tree.

(Pssst! When the party is over, you can structure the tree at ease, as you wish).

Christmas Tree

7. Time to play games

Something fun and often appreciated at Christmas gatherings is the classic gift exchange game. All the guests bring three gifts each, and you set a price for the gift before hand. It is equally fun if the presents cost 30 kronor or 300.

Sit down in a circle with all the presents in the middle and bring out the dice. Throw the dice then move on to the next person clockwise. If you get one or six, you get to choose a present before the dice moves on to the person sitting next to you. The game continues like this until all the presents are gone. Then you open the presents, and start to think that you can relax, but no…

Now's when the fun begins. Set the timer on for example three minutes, depending on how many people you are. Throw the dice again, but this time when you get one or six, you get to take a present from someone else!

The presents that you have in your possession when the timer runs out are yours. You’ll either walk home as a big winner of many presents, or leave empty-handed, having to comfort yourself with the last sips of mulled wine.

Christmas at April and the Bear

8. Sharing memories

Arrange a small photo corner for selfies with ready to use photo booth kits, or make your own – you can achieve a lot with a bit of glitter and a cotton Santa beard.

Sista-minuten ideer för att rädda glöggfesten

9. Fill up the bar trolley

Mulled wine is a surprisingly good mixer if you want something else to drink – perhaps try a “glöggmanhattan” (mulled wine Manhattan)?

Decorate the bar trolley with beautiful bowls filled with cinnamon sticks and star anise for the festive scent they give off. Own a big bowl that you normally use to cool the champagne? Fill it with ice, and this time, with small root beer bottles.


10. Create some traditional Swedish Christmas gift rhymes

An old Swedish tradition is to write rhymes on the tags attached to Christmas presents, and in the late hours of the party it can be fun to sit down together and come up with some.

Bring out a bunch of pens and prepare some already cut pieces of paper where you can write your masterpieces. Write down what you have bought to give away to others for Christmas, put the papers in a jar and draw them as the evening progresses. The best or funniest rhyme must then be performed in front of family and relatives on Christmas Eve.

A perfectly pale interior with Nordic influences