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Sweden

How the Swedish royals celebrate Christmas


Photo: Raphael Stecksén / Kungl. Royal Court

December is one of the busiest months for the Swedish Royal Family. Nevertheless, they always make room in their agenda to celebrate Christmas together as a family.

The Swedish Royal Family has a packed schedule during the month of December: the Nobel Prize Celebrations, the formal gathering of the Swedish Academy, St. Lucia, etc! At the end of the month, however, they clear their schedules to celebrate Christmas through various different events.

Each year the Christmas celebrations kick off with the acceptance of the Christmas trees for the Royal Palace. Each year the Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences hands over the Christmas trees to a member of the Swedish Royal Family. This has been a tradition since the 1960s. This year, Crown Princess Victoria and Prince Daniel brought their son Prince Oscar to go and see the Christmas trees that were selected. Prince Oscar proudly received his own mini-tree. Last year, Prince Carl Philip and his oldest son Prince Alexander were given this task.

Another tradition the Swedish Royals never skip is the release of a Christmas video by the Crown Princess family. Baking cookies, sleighing down the hills, making Christmas decorations, putting up the Christmas tree, all these activities related to Christmas have been shown on the video the Crown Princes Family releases each year. This year Crown Princess Victoria, Prince Daniel and their children Princess Estelle and Prince Oscar visited a church in Stockholm where they were told the Bible story about the birth of Jesus Christ in Bethlehem by the Reverend. Are Norrhava. At the end of the video, they traditionally wish everyone: “Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year!”

The Crown Princess’ brother Prince Carl Philip and his wife Princess Sofia have created a Christmas tradition of their own. The pair visits the annual Christmas concert “Jul i Vasastan” at the Gustaf Vasa Church in Stockholm. During the concert, many traditional Swedish Christmas songs are performed. The concert usually takes place a few days before Christmas and this year it will be on the 21st of December.

On Christmas Eve or Christmas Day, the whole family gathers at Drottningholm Slott, the home of King Carl Gustaf and Queen Silvia, for the Christmas dinner. The family keeps their celebrations private but we do know that the King and Queen always have a big Christmas tree and a nativity scene at home. Last year, the couple and all their children and grandchildren celebrated together. This year, Princess Madeleine, her husband Chris O’Neill and their three children will be celebrating at their home in Florida, USA. It is thought that Chris O’Neill’s family will travel to the USA to celebrate with the family.

Next to the celebrations at Drottningholm Slott, the various families also celebrate the holidays with their in-laws. Crown Princess Victoria, Prince Daniel and their children traditionally visit Daniel’s parents Ewa and Olle Westling in Ockelbo during the holidays. The same can be said of Prince Carl Philip, Princess Sofia and their children Prince Alexander and Prince Gabriel who gather at Sofia’s parents’ house in Älvdalen to celebrate with her parents and sisters.

On Christmas day, His Majesty the King will also address the nation in his Christmas speech. In the annual speech, King Carl Gustaf reflects on the previous year for his family and the country and talks about his hopes for the coming year. The Christmas speech is broadcast on Swedish television and radio.

About author

Laura is from Belgium and has a passion for all things royal. She is Europe Correspondent for Royal Central since October 2016 and has contributed to other news websites. In her daily life she is a fulltime student in EU-politics and political communication.