Winter in Stockholm
It is three o’clock in the afternoon and it is dark outside. Is it already time to go home? Of course not! December is full of activities to do and events to discover. Here is a list of what not to miss in the Swedish capital, Stockholm, in December, curated by a local.
1. Stockholm Holiday Lighting
As the darkness invades Stockholm, the whole city puts on a new costume of lights and gets illuminated. One million LED-lights have been set up in more than 40 streets and squares of the capital. Take a walk in the center and go off to discover the huge structures enlightened: reindeers, mistletoe, angels, pine cones, moose… It’s an incredible experience!
2. Sankta Lucia
Saint Lucy is celebrated on December 13th. A young girl (or sometimes a boy, in later years) dressed in a white gown with a red ribbon around the waist and a crown of candles on the head brings light during the long dark winter. One of the traditions linked to Saint Lucy is to eat Lussebullar (saffron buns) whose yellow color remembers the light brought by the young Lucia. Today we sing and celebrate Lucia with processions in schools, at elderly homes, at hospitals, and in churches. The most famous procession all over Sweden is most likely the one broadcasted on TV on December 13th in the morning. This year, it will be held in Stockholm at the Kungsholms Church. Even if it’s already sold out, don’t miss it on TV! Below is a short video of a traditional Lucia celebration:
3) A Night at the Opera
In December each year, the Royal Swedish Opera hosts a masterpiece suitable for families. This year, the program includes an opera and a ballet: Cinderella and Alice in Wonderland (which are not exclusively stories written for Disney, by the way). The operatic drama “La Cenerentola” by the Italian composer Rossini is based on Perrault’s fairytale from the 17th century. This co-production of Opera Queensland and New Zealand Opera will be on stage from November 25th until February 3rd. Alice in Wonderland is a modern work choreographed by the English choreographer Christopher Wheeldon on an orchestration by Joby Talbot. This masterpiece had its world premiere in the famous Covent Garden in London in 2011 and was sold out in Stockholm when it was played during spring 2016. Don’t miss it this time; book a seat for a performance between December 6th and January 19th.
When the temperatures begin to drop, it’s time to set up the skating rinks. If you don’t have your own ice skates you can rent a pair right next to Kungsträdgården’s rink. This place is as enjoyable during the day as when night falls when the holiday lights are switched on and the music is turned up. Try it out together with me by booking my Ice Staking in Kungsträdgården here. If you have your own equipment you can also go to the Vasaparken’s rink (close to Odenplan metro station). Or, if you dare and the weather allows it, go ice-skating on the lakes around Stockholm; something that should be experienced at least once in your life!
5) The Live Advent Calendar in Stockholm’s Old Town
Since 2005, volunteers set up a living Advent Calendar in the old town. Every evening at 6.15pm, between December 1st and December 24th, a window is opened and the public gathered in the tiny streets to enjoy a musical and theatrical performance. We know where it will take place, but we never know what type of show it will be. Poetry, opera tunes, pieces played on the guitar, the violin or the flute. There is always a nice surprise is behind the window! Get the map of locations throughout December here. If you want to get something extra out of your visit to Old Town, you can book my Triple activity Winter time in Stockholm here.
6) SVT’s ‘Julkalender’
If you have decided to never to go outside your home in December, it’s your choice, but then you must not miss the Swedish Television’s Julkalender (Advent Calendar). This TV series is divided into 24 15-minute episodes which are released every morning at 7.15am. In 2017, a fascinating science-fiction adventure will invade the small screen. Jakten på tidskristallen is the story of three children from a boarding school called “the academy of the future” will have to stop the forces of evil aiming to stop time the day before Christmas. Will they succeed before it’s too late? The only negative point is that it’s only in Swedish, but it’s a funny way to learn the language! Check out the trailer below.