Well … every year around this time, I start posting a lot of articles about all the wonderful Christmas things to see and do in Stockholm. As we all know, the holiday season will be very different around the world this year due to the ongoing (and growing) pandemic. This means that many traditional activities – such as concerts, Lucia parades, gingerbread contests, Christmas markets, and New Year’s Eve parties in nightclubs – will be complicated, if not impossible. But there are some glimmers of hope. You’ll notice below that sometimes I have to make educated guesses … as you can imagine, a lot of things are uncertain these days. I will edit the information below as I get more information.
- Christmas lights / decorations. We’ll start with the best news first … the one thing that will definitely not change this year! Stockholm has an annual Christmas light display, which uses hundreds of thousands of LED lights throughout the downtown business district. They include, in several squares, forest animals made of lights. Wandering moose are especially popular! Hopefully these lights will bring much needed joy. Also, looking at the lights is a safe activity for the crown as long as it remains socially distant. In the Hotel Rival, we have special maps for the lights display with suggested viewing paths. Starts November 14.
- Christmas market. The news is not so good here. The main market in Gamla Stan (old town) has been canceled this year unfortunately. Considering that the royal palaces are closed until further notice … I assume there will be no markets at Royal Mews or Drottningholm (I am currently unable to find any information on their websites). EDIT: I removed information here about the Skansen variation on a Christmas market. Unfortunately, they have decided to close the park / museum as of November 27th. Click here for more information. hopefully they will open again in the spring.
Christmas at the NK department store.
- Lucia and other Christmas concerts. The traditional celebration of Lucia It generally takes place on December 13 in churches, shopping malls, and other public spaces. The current restriction in Sweden for public gatherings is 8. I suppose there will be many, but with (obviously) smaller audiences … which makes advance purchase of tickets necessary. Contact me directly if you will be staying at Hotel Rival on December 13th. Other Christmas concerts may be more difficult due to restrictions. However, there is a legal vacuum in the sense that shows / concerts can be held if it is with an audience that is dining (that is, seated and with separate tables).
- Julbord (Christmas smorgasbord). This traditional Swedish holiday food has also gotten a bit fiddly with restrictions. Every time I receive more notices of cancellations. For example, the popular restaurant Fjäderholmarnas Krog has canceled its julbord season. The tourism company Flow They have also announced that they will not be doing their Julbord boat cruises this season. Some restaurants still plan to have a julbord, but this may change.
- New Year. Obviously this is not canceled … however the Swedish government recently added a restriction requiring all restaurants, bars, pubs and nightclubs to stop selling alcohol after 10pm This includes December 31st. Therefore, there is no countdown to the last seconds of the year in a nightclub or bar. Of course, you can have a wonderful dinner at a good restaurant … but you will have two hours to kill between dinner and the midnight fireworks over the harbor. That shouldn’t be too difficult. We have a great New year pack in the Hotel Rival and we are only ten minutes walk from the port.
- Gingerbread house contest. ArkDes (Center for Architecture and Design) has a gingerbread house competition with entries from architects, bakers and children. The theme of this year’s competition is something we all know very well this year: “distance.” Although ArkDes is temporarily closed (like many other museums), it appears that they are still planning to hold the competition. Fingers crossed. It is scheduled to show between December 4 and January 10. (EDIT– They just announced that they won’t open until December 14, a slight delay).
- Ice skating rink in Kungsträdgården. We also finished on a good note. It looks like the popular outdoor ice skating rink. in Kungsträdgården will be open this winter. Although the website says there will be certain restrictions due to the pandemic. I guess this means that they will only allow a certain number of people on the track at a time to avoid overcrowding.