Things to Do in Sweden in December 2020

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The Christmas tree at Stockholm’s Old Town is the world’s largest real Christmas tree. In fact, it is 30 meters high! And 5,000 lights and a four-meter star adorn the tree. Photo Credit: Henrik Trygg/imagebank.sweden.se.

Travel Sweden

Is December a good time to visit Sweden? As the country’s snowiest month, December is a veritable winter wonderland as Swedes prepare for the biggest celebration of the year – Christmas. However, because of the pandemic, celebrations will be scaled back this year.

December in Sweden – a Winter Wonderland?

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Swedish white Christmas. Photo Credit: Hans Strand/Folio/imagebank.sweden.se.

December is the snowiest month of the year in Sweden. And the country can seem like a winter wonderland.

In Northern Sweden, the Northern Lights light the sky. And winter sports add excitement to the mix.

However, December days are also the year’s shortest.  And the darkness can be a bit overbearing.

Therefore, Swedes rely on candles, lights, festive decorations, cheerful music, and yummy food and beverage to lift their spirits.

Swedish Advent

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Advent candlesticks. Photo Credit: Simon Paulin/imagebank.sweden.se.

In fact, Swedes start celebrating Christmas on the first Sunday of Advent, which is four weeks before Christmas.

While Advent can begin as early as 27 November, it can begin as late as 3 December. For example, it fell on  29 November in 2020.

On this day, Swedes light the first candle of the Advent candle holder. And they add an additional candle on each of the following three Sundays in the run-up to Christmas.

Preparations start gearing up. And children start finding it difficult to fall asleep in anticipation of Christmas.

Glogg – a.k.a. Mulled Wine

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Glogg, saffron buns (left), and gingerbread. Photo Credit: Emelie Asplund/imagebank.sweden.se

In the cold weeks running up to Christmas, Swedes like to warm their spirits with Glögg, or mulled wine.

Glogg consists of red wine, sugar, spices such as cinnamon, cardamom, ginger, and cloves. And some Swedes like to add vodka or brandy to the mix.

Needless to say, children and teetotalers can opt for non-alcoholic versions. But everyone likes to enjoy it with gingerbread snaps.

Swedish Christmas Fairs

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Christmas market in Stockholm’s Old Town. Photo Credit: Ola Ericson/imagebank.sweden.se.

Normally, Christmas fairs selling Christmas decorations and handicrafts start to appear as early as November.

And they grow in number as Christmas approaches. In fact, a few fairs actually continue until early January.

However, owing to the pandemic, there were will be far fewer Christmas fairs than usual in 2020.

Holidays in Sweden in December

Swedes will enjoy a rare four-day weekend in December this year. In addition, there will be two important events.

Nobel Day  – 10 December 2020

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The Nobel Prize Ceremony in Stockholm. Photo Credit: Nobel Media-AB 2015/Alexander-Mahmoud.

While winners of Nobel laureates are announced in Stockholm, Sweden, and Oslo, Norway, in October, the award ceremonies take place in both cities on 10 December.

And a Nobel Baquet follows the awards ceremony at Stockholm’s City Hall.

Lucia Processions  – 13 December 2020

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Preparations for Lucia. Photo Credit: Cecilia Larsson Lantz/Imagebank.sweden.se.

Lucia symbolizes light in the midst of winter. Processions of Lucia, the Queen of Light, take place in cities and towns across Sweden on 13 December.

A girl is chosen to act as Lucia. She dresses in white clothes and wears a crown of candles on her head.

And elves, star children, gingerbread men, and other symbols of Christmas follow  after her while everyone sings Christmas carols

Christmas – 24 to 26 December 2020

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Christmas smorgabord. Photo Credit: Carolina Romare/imagebank.sweden.se.

Christmas Eve is the most important day of the Christmas season in Sweden.

And it is also the most important family gathering of the year.

This is when families gather to enjoy a  mouth-watering Christmas smorgasbord of pickled herring, meatballs, Christmas ham, and other yummy dishes. And it is often served at lunch.

In fact, Christmas Eve, Christmas Day, and the Day After Christmas are all official holidays. Since 27 December falls on a Sunday, Swedes will enjoy a  four-day weekend in 2020!

New Year’s Eve – 31 December 2020

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New Year’s Eve in Stockholm. Photo Credit: Jann Lipka/Imagebank.sweden.se.

Swedes celebrate New Year’s Eve pretty much the same way people throughout the world do. For example, there is a spectacular pyrotechnics display at midnight in Stockholm.

However, because of the pandemic, celebrations will be seriously cut back this year.

While the official New Year celebrations at Skansen in Stockholm will take place, there will be no audience.

To clarify, they will be a broadcast. And celebrants will have to watch them at home on their televisions or computers.

COVID Restrictions in 2020

Because of the COVID-19 pandemic, bars and restaurants in Sweden cannot sell alcohol after 10 pm.

The ordinance went into effect on 20 November. And it will continue until at least 28 February 2021.

As a result, some restaurants and bars may close early. And others may not open at all.

Weather in Sweden in December

December is Sweden’s snowiest month. While it is usually cold, the weather in December has been relatively mild in recent years. Keep in mind that it is usually colder the further north you go.

Stockholm Weather in December

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Winter in Stockholm’s Old Town. Photo Credit: Ulf Grünbaum/Imagebank.sweden.se.

Stockholm is Sweden’s largest city and the nation’s capital.

Built on a series of islands, Stockholm is a stunningly beautiful city with countless lakes, bays, canals, and wetlands.

The average high temperature in Stockholm in December is -1.1 degrees Celsius, or 30 degrees Fahrenheit. At night, the temperature drops to an average low of -3.3 degrees Celsius, or 26 degrees Fahrenheit.

There is an average of 0.8  hours of daily sunshine in Stockholm in December. In fact, it is one of the two least sunny months of the year. And the average humidity is 93%.

Gothenburg Weather in December

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Winter in Gothenburg. Photo Credit: Per Pixel Petersson/imagebank.sweden.se.

Gothenburg is Sweden’s second-largest city. It is located on the country’s west coast.

The average high in Gothenburg in December is 0.5 degrees Celsius, or 33 Fahrenheit. And the average low is -2.2 degrees Celsius, or 28 degrees Fahrenheit.

There is an average of one hour of sunshine in Gothenburg in December.  In fact, it is one of the two least sunny months of the year. And the average humidity is 96%.

Malmo Weather in December

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Christmas in Malmo. Photo Credit: Miriam Preis/imagebanksweden.se

Malmo is Sweden’s third-largest city. It sits at the southwestern tip of Sweden. It is across the Oresund River from Copenhagen, Denmark. 

The average high temperature in Malmo in December is 1.7 degrees Celsius, or 35 degrees Fahrenheit. At night, the temperature drops to an average low of -0.56 degrees Celsius, or 31 degrees Fahrenheit.

There is an average of 1.2 hours of sunshine in Malmo in December. It is the second least sunny month of the year. The average humidity is 91%. In fact, it is the second most humid month of the year.

Uppsala Weather in December

Uppsala is Sweden’s fourth-largest city. It is 71 kilometers, or 44 miles, north of Stockholm. 

The average high temperature in Uppsala in December is -2.8 degrees Celsius, or 27 degrees Fahrenheit. At night, the temperature drops to an average low of -5.6 degrees Celsius, or 22 degrees Fahrenheit.

There is an average of 0.9 hours of sunshine in Uppsala in December. It is one of the two least sunny months of the year.  The average humidity is 97%.

Umea Weather in December

Umea is Sweden’s 13th largest city. It is the gateway to Swedish Lapland.

The average high temperature in Umea in December is -5.6 degrees Celsius, or 22 degrees Fahrenheit. At night, the temperature drops to an average low of -8.3 degrees Celsius, or 17 degrees Fahrenheit.

There is an average of 0.5 hours of sunshine in Umea in December. It is the least sunny month of the year. The average humility is 95%.

What to Take to Sweden in December

While the weather in December has become milder in recent years, you never know.

Since it can get really cold, you should make sure to bring warm clothes.

If you plan to visit the coast, you should also bring windproof apparel.

Free Entry to Gothenburg Attractions!

Weather Data: VisitSweden.com and weather2visit.com

Things to Do in Sweden in December is the 12th  in a series of monthly travel guides to Sweden.

4 Replies to “Things to Do in Sweden in December 2020”

  1. So glad I was able to spend time in
    Sweden years ago with an international group called something like The Child’s Right to Play. We visited many playgrounds in Sweden and learned what made a good, safe playground. Sweden’s natural beauty was vast, and the variety of playgrounds was exciting even to adults. Made me wonder if playgrounds these days have become more like little overdone Disneylands which I wouldn’t enjoy at all.

  2. Looks like a beautiful time of year to be there. I enjoyed your photos when you were there a couple of years ago.

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