Today’s word of the day – julskyltning – is undoubtedly in full swing across Sweden, with less than two weeks left to Christmas Eve.
But what does it mean, and what is the history behind it?
Julskyltning literally translates to “Christmas-signing”, and it refers to the Christmas decorations in shop windows during the Christmas season.
Julskyltning often occurred on a skyltsöndag or “sign Sunday”, which used to refer to the last two Sundays before Christmas. Later, this became the first Sunday in Advent, and now, julskyltning usually starts during the last weekend in November.
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In many places, julskyltning is more than just displaying Christmas decorations in shops – in some towns and cities, an entire day of Christmas-themed activities are planned to coincide with the cities’ shops unveiling their julskyltning.
Perhaps Sweden’s most famous julskyltning is at the NK (Nordiska Kompagniet) mall in Stockholm, where elaborate displays of toys and figures engaging in Christmassy activities fill six large shop windows. NK’s julskyltning has a different theme every year, which remains a closely-guarded secret until the window displays are unveiled the weekend before Advent.
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