Five reasons to prefer a ‘green’ Swedish Christmas

Five reasons to prefer a 'green' Swedish Christmas
Photo: Marko Säävälä/TT
Many people dream of a white Christmas in Sweden, but parts of the country will probably not see snow this year.

The last white Christmas in all of Sweden occurred in 2010, according to meteorological agency SMHI's statistics.

This year's Christmas forecast is so far uncertain, but suggests colder weather mainly in the north.

Although the lack of a white Christmas in Sweden could be felt as a reflection of global warning, 'green' Christmases have not been entirely unfamiliar in years past, with 2006 and 1970 cited by SMHI as particular examples.

And there are some benefits to having a milder mid-winter.

Fewer injuries

Milder weather means that senior citizens do not have to deal with slippery streets and icy patches.

According to National Board of Health and Welfare (Socialstyrelsen) figures, 70,000 people in Sweden annually fall so badly that they need hospital care. Of these, 50,000 are over 65 years old.

On-time trains

Anyone who has travelled on Sweden’s railways during Christmas and New Year knows that cold and snow are not only bad conditions for carrying bags, but can also be problematic for timetables.

The Swedish Transport Administration (Trafikverket) notes, however, that long-distance and high-speed trains arrived on time 82.9 percent and 77.4 percent of the time last December and January respectively. The average figure so far this year (up to October) is 78.3 percent.

Better road safety

Christmas time is travel time for many and the heavy traffic on roads increases the risk of accidents. Cold and icy surfaces can be challenging for motorists, but milder weather brings hope for quieter traffic.

The Swedish Transport Agency’s road traffic accident statistics for the last 5 years show an average of 13 losses of life during the Christmas period (December 20th-Jan 12th). During the same period, an average of 812 accidents occurred across the country.

READ ALSO: How to navigate Swedish holiday traffic this weekend

Cheaper heating

The cost of electricity for your home varies greatly depending on how and where you live, and what type of electricity contract you have. But the cost is also affected by the weather.

Mild weather during Christmas and New Year should mean a lighter electricity bill for the festive season.

According to the Swedish Consumer Energy Markets Bureau (Konsumenternas energimarknadsbyrå), the ‘normal’ electricity cost in December for a villa which uses 20,000 kWh per year is around 3,750 kronor. By comparison, the month of April is generally expected to cost around 2,900 kronor.

Less strain on municipalities

On a more societal level, milder winter weather also means lower snow ploughing and road maintenance costs for the country's municipalities.

In Stockholm Municipality, the cost of winter road maintenance has averaged 146 million kronor over the last five years. In Malmö, snow removal during the past five years has cost an average of just under 28 million kronor per winter season.

READ ALSO: QUIZ: How well do you know Swedish Christmas traditions?


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