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CHRISTMAS

Sweden unveils hottest Christmas gift for 2022

In a year plagued by high cost of living, inflation and high energy prices, it's maybe not a surprise that Sweden's gift of the year for 2022 is distinctly analogue, cheap to make (depending on materials) and can save you money on your heating.

Sweden unveils hottest Christmas gift for 2022
Photo: Annika af Klercker/TT

Every year, market researchers HUI unveil Sweden’s Christmas gift of the year – ‘årets julklapp’ – with previous years boasting the wooly hat (2003), electronic pet (1997) and robot vacuum cleaner (2015).

The company’s highly-anticipated Christmas prediction very often becomes a self-fulfilling prophecy, with the gadget selected selling like crazy in the days running up to Christmas. 

In 2021, the gift was tickets to an event, and for the second year in a row, the gift is not a gadget.

The hottest gift for 2022 is a hand-knitted item of clothing.

One of the criteria for the Christmas gift of the year is that it must represent the times in which we live, and with Swedes across the country dressing up warm to lower their energy bills, the gift of the year this year does just that.

“Cold winds are blowing,” Emma Hernell, CEO of Hui Research, told TT newswire.

War in Ukraine has caused high energy prices and increasing inflation. Rising interest rates and higher food prices is leading us all to look for deals and turn down the heat at home.

“We’re going to need these warm jumpers this winter,” Hernell said.

Apart from being a gift which reflects the time we’re living in, årets julklapp also has to be something new (or something which has received renewed interest), and something which has sold well during the year.

In 2020, the gift of the year was a camping stove, allowing Swedes to meet socially-distanced in nature, and 2021’s event tickets represented the light at the end of the tunnel for those awaiting the relaxation of Covid-19 restrictions.

This year, Hernell says, HUI has seen a new interest in handicrafts.

“And maybe, above all, we’re seeing young people hopping on this trend.”

‘Knitted graffiti’, also known as ‘yarnbombing’, is showing up in larger cities and handicraft-influencers are getting attention on social media, with the hashtag “knittok” receiving almost 400 million views on video platform Tiktok.

For the past four years, two associations, Klimaklubben (Climate Club) and Medveten Konsumtion (Conscious Consumption) have announced their own alternative to HUI’s gift of the year, the ‘conscious gift of the year’.

Look back at previous winners of Sweden’s Christmas gift of the year

However, this year, it doesn’t really matter which gift you choose to buy, as they’re both the same.

“Yes, it was a coincidence, but maybe it’s not that odd that we’re seeing the same trends,” Hernell said.

Before you head out to buy wool for a handmade jumper though, there’s a catch. Wool, like everything else, has also gone up in price due to inflation.

In October, wool prices went up by 11.2 percent compared to September, according to Statistics Sweden.

That said, “a hand-knitted item” comes in many forms. It can be something small and simple or something more advanced with expensive wool for experienced knitters.

“There are different price classes for this Christmas gift,” Hernell said.

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CHRISTMAS

Christmas in Sweden: The 10 best julbord spreads in the Gothenburg area

Whether you're a Swedish Christmas newbie or a seasoned julbord connoisseur, here's The Local's selection of 10 of the best (often slightly fishy) festive meals in the Gothenburg area this winter. Feel free to share other tips in the comments!

Christmas in Sweden: The 10 best julbord spreads in the Gothenburg area

The Swedish julbord is an extensive spread that has evolved from a variety of traditions and today consists of an elaborate buffet of typical Christmas food. It is popular not only to sit down for a julbord on Christmas Eve with family, but also to go out for a special julbord meal at a restaurant in the run-up to Christmas – with family, friends or work colleagues.

See here for the low-down on the Swedish julbord.

Reflecting the city’s fishing industry heritage, many of the julbord spreads on offer in Gothenburg are a bit heavier on the seafood than what you might find in and around other Swedish cities, such as Malmö (see our Malmö Julbord guide here) and Stockholm (see our Stockholm Julbord guide here). 

Here are the top ten julbord spreads we can find in Gothenburg: 

All prices listed are per person, unless otherwise stated.

Source: Fiskekrogen

Fiskekrogan 

This charming and very classy restaurant, based in an old 1920s Grand Café, gets a mention in the Michelin Guide and is an outstanding place for a high-end julbord. 

The restaurant promises to serve up “all the tasty classics which we’ve always made”, with “a wonderful combination of tastes both old and new with inspiration from the delicacies of the sea”. You can book it here

When: November 24th-December 25th

Price: 845 kronor for lunch, 1,095 kronor on evenings and weekends

Hotel Eggers 

This 19th century hotel by Gothenburg’s central station promises a julbord that is “one of the most atmospheric and cosy” in Gothenburg, and it leans heavily on classic and traditional dishes such as Jansson’s Temptation, meatballs, herring, cabbage, and ribs. You can book it here.

When: November 24th-December 22nd 

Price: 675 kronor for lunch, and 850 kronor for adults (300 kronor at all times for children up to 12)

On board a boat in the archipelago

Strömma line

You can have a julbord buffet at sea on one of two vessels operated by Strömma, Gothenburg’s main operator of ferries to the islands in the archipelago. The company has buffets on two of its boats, the early 20th century M/S Göteborg and the more modern M/S Carl Michael Bellman. 

On the former, the chef Lotta Bäckström promises to “mix up classic Christmas favourites with new dishes and exciting flavours”, with dishes on offer including saffron pears, bilberry herring, and green pepper salmon with orange, as well as the classics like Jansson’s temptation. Book here

On the latter, you can eat to the sounds of a singer who will regale you with Christmas favourites. 

When: November 11th to December 21st

Price: 770 kronor with children from 6-15 years old half price.  

Skärgårdslinjen

The rival Skärgårdslinjen ferry service is offering a julbord with a Christmas show on board two of its cruisers. 

“Forget sausage and meatballs, here we serve up the delicacies of the sea,” the company declares, promising langoustine, prawns, mussels, fish and lobster soup.  Book here

When: November 11th to December 21st

Price: 995 kronor for adults on M/S Trubaduren, and 945 for M/S Medvind. Children 295 kronor

The Hamnkrogen restaurant in Liseberg is a popular place for julbord. Photo: Goteborg & Co

At the Liseberg theme park 

The Liseberg theme park might not seem like the most atmospheric place to have a Christmas buffet, but it is home to two restaurants which do offer that experience: Hamnkrogen and 1923. 

Bear in mind with these two julbord offerings that you will also have to pay entrance to the theme park, with prices ranging from 125-355 kronor depending on age, date, and whether you want to go on Liseberg’s rides or not. Children under 110cm in height go free.

Hamnkrogen supplies a julbord along the same seafood-centred lines as at Fiskekrogen, with shellfish and fish dishes, although they also promise traditional julbord favourites and “a large selection of vegan dishes”. Book here

When: November 19th to December 22nd

Price: 715 kronor evenings and 525 kronor for lunch and weekends

The julbord at 1923 is absolutely traditional, with no additional emphasis on seafood and comes slightly cheaper. Book here

When: November 19th to December 22nd

Price: 695 kronor evenings and 510 kronor for lunch and Saturdays (Sundays 590 kronor!)

Gothia Towers 

The Imagine restaurant on the 29th floor of Gothia Towers offers a julbord with a view across Gothenburg and beyond. It’s a reliable rather than flashy spread of all the classic dishes. 

Gothia Towers is currently in the process of being surpassed as Gothenburg’s tallest building by the new Karlatornet, but that doesn’t do anything to detract from the view. 

When: November 18th-19th, November 25th-26th, and then Wednesdays to Sundays from December 1st to December 24th. 

Price: Wednesdays and Sundays 745 kronor, Thursdays 795 kronor, and Saturdays 845 kronor

Långedrag Värdehus 

If you head out of the busy centre to the coast, Långedrag Värdehus offers what they call “a classic julbord inspired by the sea with all the Christmas delicacies”. And you get a sea view. Book a place here

When: November 16th to December 22nd 

Price: Weekends and evenings 995 kronor, weekday lunches 845 kronor

Gunnebo Slott offers an organic Christmas buffet in beautiful surroundings. Photo: Gunnebo Slott

Gunnebo Slott 

Out in the countryside to the southeast of the city, Gunnebo Slott offers perhaps the most organic Christmas spread on offer around Gothenburg, with 99.4 percent of their ingredients classed as organic. The spread is served in their atmospheric wooden café, with guests warmed by a fire. 

When: November 28th to December 22nd 

Price: 695 kronor on Saturday evenings, 395 kronor lunch Monday to Friday. 

Tullhuset 

If you’re willing to go even further afield, the Tullhuset restaurant on the island of Honö out in the archipelago offers “a pure fish and shellfish” julbord, which promises culinary “creativity”, but “neither ham nor meatballs”. There are, however, vegetarian and vegan options. You can book here

When: November 18th to December 21st 

Price: Friday and Saturday evenings 725 kronor, Sunday-Thursday 675 kronor. Children under 13 years old, 350 kronor. 

Blackbird offers all the Christmas favourites in “veganised” form. Photo: Blackbird

Blackbird 

While vegans might feel deprived at some of the other restaurants in Gothenburg, they won’t at Blackbird, which promises to “veganise Christmas dishes such as herring, ham, sausage and Jansson’s Temptation”, while also focusing on all the vegetables which are in season. You can book here

When: November 30th to December 22nd

Price: 475 kronor on weekends, 445 kronor on weekdays

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