Swedish Christmas -- Preschool & Kindergarten

Swedish Christmas

Swedish Christmas

God Jul Och Ett Gott Nytt Ar
Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year

Things to Know

In Sweden the Christmas season begins with St. Lucia Day. St. Lucia is celebrated all over Sweden and in Norway on December 13th. Lucia is a 4th century Italian Saint.

The Tomten (Tomte)

The tomten is generally no taller than three feet, has a long white beard, attired in grey woolen clothes, and wears a conical or knit cap in red or some other bright color.

Tomtes demand a bowl of julegrøt (Christmas porridge) with butter on Christmas Eve.
In the 1800s the tomte became the bearer of Christmas presents and was then called jultomte in Sweden. The Swedish "Jultomte" has features and traditions that are rooted in the local culture: he does not retreat to the North Pole, but lives in a forest, field or stream nearby.

Jenny Nystrom Tomte Tomte illustration
by Jenny Nystrom


Lucia traditional song (English version)
Walk in a procession and sing the song.

Now the light is carried forth,
proud on its crown,
in every house and home,
the song shall ring.
Now the light is carried forth,

proud on its crown,
in every house and home,
the song shall ring.
On this Lucia day,
our circle of friendship is greeted,
Saint Lucia,
Saint Lucia.
On this Lucia day,
our circle of friendship is greeted,
Saint Lucia,
Saint Lucia.


St. Lucia Wreath
Need: green posterboard, construction paper (yellow, white, green, red), yellow tissue paper

Cut a circle from the posterboard about 12" (30cm)long and 12" (25cm) wide. Cut out the center to fit on a child's head (like a hat brim). Make small cuts of about 1" (2.5cm) around the inner circle. Try it on a child's head. It should fit snugly.

Make about 5 candles by rolling and taping white construction paper into tubes. Make several clips at the base of each candle and bend them outward. Tape the candles to the circle and place crumpled yellow tissue paper into each end for a candle flame.

Cut leaves from green construction paper. Cut small red circles from construction paper for the berries. Glue leaves and berries to the wreath covering the wreath and the candle bases.

Salt Dough Tomten Sculpture

Salt dough is great for sculpting. Find a salt dough recipe on the Art Reicpes webpage.

Salt Dough Tomten Salt Dough, a bit of fabric,
paint and a pair
of tiny wooden shoes.



Non-Alcoholic Swedish Glogg

Glogg is the traditional drink in Swedenduring the six weeks leading up to December 25.

2 cups water or orange juice
1 (3-inch) piece orange rind
1 (1-inch) piece fresh ginger, peeled and sliced
2 cinnamon sticks
6 whole cloves
5 whole allspice
2 cardamom pods, (crack the cardamon pods before adding them to the mix or you can use an equal amount of ground cardamon.)
3 cups (236-ml) grape juice

Garnishes: blanched almonds, raisins or craisins

Combine ingredients in a pot over medium heat. Bring mixture to simmer (do not boil). Reduce heat, cover, and simmer about 15 minutes. The longer it simmers the stronger the flavor. Strain mixture or remove all the spices and zest with a slotted spoon.

Place blanched almonds or/and raisins or craisins in bottom of cup, pour warm glogg over and enjoy.

swedish candy crack

Christmas Candy: Swedish Crack Recipe

Sites to See

Straw Goat Picture
About the Straw Goat Julbocken

St. Lucia-PBS Kids

A December Celebration — St. Lucia Day
Background of St. Lucia day and ideas of classrooms.

Feast of St. Lucia color page (pbskids arthur)

The Tomten Page
Learn about the folklore of the Tomten.

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