The days are getting darker, temperatures are dropping and knowing that we have exams after the “break” doesn’t really help us get into the Christmas spirit. But don’t despair! Even though you might be going home or away on vacation, there is still time to enjoy the best of the Christmas season in Stockholm. Here are some top tips on how to enjoy this cold and dark winter.
By Mia H. Gonzales
ICE SKATING IN KUNGSTRÄDGÅRDEN
The Kungsträdgården rink is open now until 6 March, so wrap up warm, get your skates on and embrace the ice. With free admission, this is the perfect winter activity for students on a budget. If you don’t own skates, you can rent a pair for just SEK 40 an hour. Open 09:00 – 18:00 most days, but check for late night openings. More information available online (www.kungstradgarden.se).
CHRISTMAS MARKET IN GAMLA STAN AND SKANSEN
These are the two most authentic Christmas markets in Stockholm. Stroll around and enjoy the ambience in these famous and traditional markets. The Christmas market in Skansen is open every Saturday and Sunday from the first day of advent until Christmas. (Admission: SEK 150) The Christmas market has already started in Gamla Stan and will continue on to the 23rd of December, every day from 11:00 to 18:00. Check out more information online (www.stortorgetsjulmarknad.com/en).
SAINT LUCY’S DAY (LUCIA)
Lucia is a traditional Swedish as well as Scandinavian holiday on the 13th of December to commemorate the darkest, longest night of the year. Lucia has been celebrated at Skansen since 1893 and you can see it all take place again this year on the 12th and 13th of December, with Lucia concerts and processions. Whether you celebrate Lucia or not, it is interesting to think about why a supposedly protestant country in Scandinavia would celebrate an Italian Catholic saint. I have no clear answer to that question (neither does Wikipedia). More details on the event can be found on the Skansen website (www.skansen.se/en/artikel/christmas-skansen).
THE CHRISTMAS SPIRIT TOUR
Christmas is here! This walking tour will guide through the history of Stockholm’s Christmas traditions as you weave through the streets of Gamla Stan. Great for getting in the Christmas spirit and even better if you like food. Mulled wine and gingerbread are included in the price. The tour takes one hour and departs 3 – 19 December, Thursday, Friday & Saturday at 15:30. Student price: SEK 140. Take a look at the website for more information (www.stockholmourway.com/tours/christmas-spirit/).
CHRISTMAS AT HOME
Why not invite your friends and family over for a Swedish holiday culinary experience? Making a julbord-buffet, designing ginger bread sculptures or baking funny shaped saffron buns (lussekatter) are great ways to kick off the holiday season. Mulled wine (Glögg) with almonds and raisins is also a Christmas season must-have. One of my favorites is to make your own candles and give them away as Christmas gifts. They will be appreciated, guaranteed.