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Six ideas for a frugal New Year in Sweden

Chiara Milford
Chiara Milford - [email protected]
Six ideas for a frugal New Year in Sweden
People take a New Year's Day swim in Ystad, southern Sweden, back in 2020. Photo: Johan Nilsson/TT

With the cost of living crisis biting, and Christmas expenses leaving bank accounts drained, it looks like it’ll be a frugal New Year’s in Sweden. But that doesn’t mean cutting back on the 'mysig' times. There’s no wrong way to celebrate the end of an awful year, even if everything is more expensive. Here’s our guide to having fun without spending any kronor.


1. See the fireworks

After several years of cancelled events, most cities will be putting on fireworks displays for this year, albeit pared back affairs. Malmö will have fireworks going off from Nyhamnen. Göteborgs-Posten will be putting on their traditional display which you can see from both banks of the river and high points around Gothenburg, while Bohus fästning will put on a show at the fortress, best seen from Kungälv. In Stockholm, the sky will light up with fireworks best seen from Fjällgatan, Skinnarviksberget, or Monteliusvägen in Södermalm. All for free! 

Fireworks in Nyhamnen in Malmö on New Year's Eve 2021. Photo: Johan Nilsson/TT


2. Play a game

Dust off the board games and gather your friends around the kitchen table for some good old-fashioned wholesome fun. You can test your knowledge of the last 300 years of Swedish history with a game of Svea Rike or try your hand at hnefatafl “Viking chess” by candlelight. Fill your glasses with tap water and elderflower cordial from summer and toast like its Systembolaget’s fanciest champagne. 

3. Gather around the fire

Nothing says ‘out with the old’ like burning stuff. Although fuel prices have gone up astronomically, wood is still easy to come by in hardware stores or your local forest floor (you’re allowed to take fallen branches and pinecones, but not harvest wood from living trees). Many national parks have designated fire pits with their own stock of firewood that visitors can use for free.

4. Go for a swim

Nothing says ‘in with the new’ like a cold dip in Sweden’s frozen waters. There are over 97,500 lakes in Sweden and the country is blessed with unrestricted access to the long coastline all year round. In Stockholm, Tantolunden has several jetties from which you can step gingerly into Mälaren. In Gothenburg, you can dive into the Kattegat strait from Saltholmen. There are plenty of spots to bathe in Malmö, we like Ribban (Ribersborg beach). Bring a hat and a warm drink and get high from the rush of endorphins. 


5. Watch ‘Dinner for One’

Swedish TV first broadcast “Dinner for One” (Grevinnan och betjänten in Swedish, literally “The Countess and the Butler”) in 1969 and it has been shown nearly every year on New Year’s Eve since 1976. No Netflix subscription needed, you can watch for free on SVT. 

6. Sleep

Bears hibernate, so why shouldn’t we? Heating is too expensive, and you can’t afford to turn the lights on anyway, so wrap yourself up in a blanket and sleep through the end of another terrible year with dreams of a better one starting in the morning.


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