In Sweden, the Christmas preparations are in full swing and the countdown to Christmas Eve is ticking and drawing ever closer. Christmas presents, the traditional tree, decorations and everything that makes Christmas are being purchased. The children are waiting expectantly at home with wonder and excitement at what will be found in the colourful parcels that will be under the Christmas tree.
The first Christmas I spent here made me very thoughtful. Everywhere was decorated with Christmas trees, Santa’s and there were Christmas decorations in every shop window. I saw people rushing around with colourfully wrapped packages that had Christmas themes. Despite the warm sunny weather, I still had the Christmas feeling inside.
I knew that the majority who lived here were Muslims and therefore do not celebrate Christmas so it felt a little strange at the same time to experience the same mood here for Christmas.
I eventually received an explanation and it was that Christmas is not celebrated here. They celebrate the New Year here and that is when Santa comes, he is called Noel Baba and looks like “our” Santa with reindeer and everything that our Father Christmas has. The Christmas tree is called New Years tree and performs the same function. Decorating for Christmas with Christmas trees and Santa’s is completely normal here.
The presents are handed out on New Year’s Eve and then the New Year is celebrated with party and glam.
Everyone receive gifts, both children and adults. This is no religious holiday, and Santa represents more of a fantasy figure, that everyone likes.
A very nice start to the New Year, I think.