Swedish Christmas Decorating and Traditions

One of my favorite schoolgirl memories of Christmas was studying how other countries celebrate Christmas. I envisioned being a Danish child putting my wooden shoes by the fireplace instead of hanging stockings. Or dreaming of one day having a collection of colorful German nutcrackers. Participating in a Mexican Posada to mimic Mary and Joseph’s journey was something I thought would be so fun and memorable. All those dreams in my young mind added a magical element to the holidays. Today I’m focusing on Swedish Christmas decorating and traditions.

Swedish Christmas Tree with Presents

I grew up in a Swedish town which is perhaps why I remember that country the most from my childhood learning. On Christmas Eve, Swedes typically attend a church service and then return home for a smorgasbord dinner. At some point during the holiday season, our family would enjoy a buffet style dinner at Karen’s Tea Room and Smorgasbord. The restaurant was located in an older home in Geneva and I always loved going there.

Four Sundays before Christmas, Swedes light the first of four Advent candles while enjoying a mug of glogg (mulled wine).

Swedish Christmas candles and decorations


Swedish Christmas decorating is natural and rustic. You typically won’t see a lot of bling on their trees. A simple wreath on the front door decorates the outside while greens, pine cones, and fruit decorate indoor spaces.

Swedish Christmas Tree in the Kitchen


Naked Swedish Christmas Tree


One of my favorite Swedish traditions is handing out presents after dark. I know children always want to unwrap their gifts as soon as they wake up, but I enjoy the anticipation of waiting until the end of the day to exchange presents. Swedes open their gifts on Christmas Eve. Night falls around 2 p.m. so the kiddos don’t have to wait too long.

Christmas presents with kraft paper, string, and dried orange slices


Swedish Christmas Presents with Brown Paper and String


Swedes like to include paper stars or flowers in their Christmas decorations. A neutral color scheme is quite common, along with a lot of candles due to much shorter days.

Scandinavian room decorated for Christmas


Nordic paper Christmas flowers and stars


Swedish dining nook decorated for the holiday


And finally, most Swedish decorations and traditions include the presence of a gingerbread house in the home.

Swedish Christmas Gingerbread House


I hope you enjoyed this look into Sweden’s celebration of Christmas. It leaves me wanting to visit the country during the holiday season.


More Christmas Décor for You:

Red and White Scandinavian Christmas

Christmas Decorations: 15 Ideas

Celebrating a Scandinavian Style Christmas



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  1. I always think we’ll get a gingerbread house made for the holidays and every year passes with no gingerbread house. There is still hope this year:0)
    I think Sweden would be a wonderful place to visit during the holidays.

  2. I like the simplicity of how they decorate, it is so beautiful, thanks for these beautiful ideas. Have a great week.

  3. I love everything about this post. I am Swedish and have always wanted to visit Sweden. I love the simplicity and warmth of Swedish decor. When one of my sons was young, I dressed up as St. Lucia and read a Swedish Christmas book to his class for their grades celebration of the Festival of Lights, teaching them different holiday cultures. My husband made my crown of candles with wood (and real candles lol). It was so heavy on my head and hard to keep on. Decided best not to light the candles lol. A great memory though.

  4. My all time favorite blog is Vibeke Design…I have pinned many Christmas photos from her site. This was a very pretty post. Next year I plan to go Swedish! I will need a gingerbread baker….😆

  5. My all time favorite blog is Vibeke Design…I have pinned many Christmas photos from her site. This was a very pretty post. Next year I plan to go Swedish! I will need a gingerbread baker….😆 That blue/gray paint over the fireplace in the last photo is the color of our house and I also use it inside for accent colors.

  6. The tree is stunning – the mix of textures really makes it look complete and interesting. Thanks for the inspiration!