People will also have an opportunity to taste Christmas food from a lovely little Christmas smörgåsbord.
Christmas celebrations will start up this week at the airport and will be aimed primarily at international visitors. They will be able to learn about how we Swedes celebrate Christmas. In Sweden, we have children who dress up as gingerbread figures, and the Swedish Santa comes by with Christmas gifts on December 24 rather than December 25. But he cannot come too early – almost all Swedes watch Donald Duck on TV at 3 p.m. It is only after the show that Santa comes knocking on the door and hands out all the presents. And Swedes also sing – “Björnen sover” or “The bear is sleeping” is one of the popular songs at Christmas.
“Christmas celebrations at our airport are a good way to present Sweden and Swedish culture. We know that many foreign travellers appreciate what is Swedish, and what could be a better example of this than a classic Swedish Christmas? We hope our Christmas celebrations will be appreciated and part of their overall travel experience,” says Kjell Åke Westin, Airport Director Stockholm Arlanda Airport.
The Christmas celebrations will take place in Terminal 5. Santa will arrive in Stockholm from his home far up in northern Sweden, where he also has his workshop. Foreign visitors will have the opportunity to taste traditional Christmas food and get a leaflet in which they can read about why and how we celebrate Christmas in Sweden. There are five subjects in this crash course.
1. Start well in advance. Christmas decorations are already available starting in October, but everything takes place in December. On December 13, we celebrate St Lucia’s Day, and children dress up in white gowns or as gingerbread figures
2. Donald Duck. We learn here why Disney is such an intrinsic part of Christmas celebrations in Sweden. Santa will just have to wait for Donald Duck to make his appearance.
3. Unusual songs. Swedish adults clap their hands and sing songs such as “Björnen sover” (“The bear is sleeping”) or “Räven raskar över isen” (“The fox rushes over the ice”).
4. Food and drink. Swedes invented the smörgåsbord, and at Christmas we find dishes such as Janssons frestelse (“Johnson’s temptation”, a classic potato casserole), rice pudding, herring, meatballs and Christmas ham. And of course Swedish snaps (acquavit).
5. Plundering the Christmas tree. It’s all over on January 13. We finish up the leftovers and throw out the Christmas tree, traditionally through the window.