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THE LOCAL'S COUNTDOWN TO CHRISTMAS

Top ten Swedish Christmas presents

Christmas shopping is a challenge every year. If you're looking for something particularly Swedish with a special touch, it can be even harder. Here is The Local's own guide to top Christmas gifts of the year.

Top ten Swedish Christmas presents
Presents photo: Shutterstock

It's that time of year again. The sun, when it comes out at all, sets at 2:30pm, and most of the light in town comes from Christmas decorations in every window.

Many expats like to add a touch of their new home for Christmas, infusing gifts to those 'back home' with a little international flair. But drunk elk won't fit into a box, Abba broke up, and meatballs don't package very well.

So what do you give the friends and family to stuff those Swedish stockings? 

We rounded up the top ten gifts that we identify with Sweden – all of which can be ordered (and gift-wrapped) from the safety of your home. 

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1. Dala Horse

We'll start off with the obvious one. There will never be a Swedish present as classic, as tried-and-true, as the Dala horse.

Made painstakingly by hand and with nothing going to waste, the beautiful wooden figures are a classic symbol of Sweden. 

2. Johanna N Jewellery

An elegant piece of jewellery is always an appreciated gift. Johanna N's unique designs are inspired by her roots in northern Sweden, and are overflowing with nature themes such as reindeer antlers, birch branches, and butterflies.

The beautiful brass pieces are all the rage in Sweden – and each piece comes with a one-year guarantee to make sure they are both fashionable and functional. 

Prefer silver, simple pieces? Try out Anna Viktoria, with charming Dala horse necklaces and more. 

3. Fika mug

Coffee, coffee, coffee. Sweet pastries. Cosiness. FIKA. How much more Swedish can you get? This is the perfect option for the Sweden lover anywhere in the world – or who simply needs a bit more caffeine to make it through winter.

Shout your love for fika to the world with a mug imprinted with Sweden's most important word – because why not? There's even a tray to match to carry all those cinnamon buns!

4. Classic Swedish kids toys

Whether you go for the classic teddy bear or a Swedish storybook character like Alfons, these are sure to please. 

Teddykompaniet is a favourite among little ones in Sweden, with little Princess Estelle herself opting for the fluffy teddy. The family-owned company also guarantees good working conditions in their factories, totally safe and EU-approved products, and works with a children's hospital to improve hospital environment. This is a present where everyone wins.

5. Swedish ski hat

Baby, it's cold outside – especially if you're in Sweden. But even if you're not, you can remind a friend or loved one of good ol' Sverige with a cosy knit hat in blue and gold. Or the Swedish flag, or rainbow, or chainmail-reminiscent silver, or pink.

Sätila of Sweden has been keeping Swedish ears (and hands) warm since 1896. If there's anything they know how to do better than anyone, it's surviving the winter – in style. 

6. Snowball candle

Looking for a simple gift for a colleague? Instead of buying for that cookie-cutter jarred candle smelling like factory vanilla again, why not opt for a present which truly suits the mood and season?

Snow may be wet and cold, but you don't have to be to enjoy the warmth of this novelty Swedish candle

7. Skultuna cufflinks

The Swedish three-crown symbol is one of the nation's oldest, dating back to at least the 14th century. Of course, Swedes are also known for their effortless style and clean, classy details. 

Skultuna has been designing fine accessories for Swedish royalty since 1607. In short, Skultuna cuff-links featuring the three crowns are an impeccable choice for the stylish lad who already owns too many socks. They also come in festive red. You can even buy the pair Prince Daniel wore on his wedding day.

8. Hip flask

Right, so Sweden is cold, we've covered that. And there are certain ways of staying warm and cheerful in the dreary winter. Like knitted hats. And other things.

If you want to give a little piece of Sweden which is both humorous and useful, these steel hip flasks engraved with reindeer or moose might be right up your alley. Something for the hunter in your life?

9. Wooden wine corks and kitchen gadgets galore

Popping open the champagne this Christmas? Glugging down the glögg? How very Swedish of you. When you need a break just cork the bottle with a hand-carved, all natural birch cork from Fjällprodukter.

Or if you're planning on spending a lot of time in the kitchen, or need the perfect present for that wild-natured foodie in your life, why not try this reindeer apron?

We can hear them talking now: “What’s cooking good looking in a tanned reindeer apron?” Whether cooking on the grill or in the kitchen, this tanned apron is a fantastic gift for those who love cooking in their own style.

 

10. A cup of cheer

On a small road in the heart of the Old Town in Stockholm, there is a beautiful little candy store where they create amazing hand-made treats. Including delicious tea like this – you can't beat it!

This merry assorment of tea from Polkagris Kokeri’s picturesque 19th century store and candy factory is the perfect beverage of choice to keep your loved ones warm all season long.

 

This article was presented by The Local Brands. Shop here.

WEATHER

Will anywhere in France get a white Christmas this year?

A white Christmas might be at the top of many people's festive wish list but will it actually come true for anyone in France this year?

Haut-Koenigsbourg castle in Orschwiller, eastern France.
Haut-Koenigsbourg castle in Orschwiller, eastern France. Non-mountainous parts of the country will not see snow this year. (Photo by PATRICK HERTZOG / AFP)

If you’re in France and have been dreaming of a white Christmas, you are probably out of luck. 

It has been freezing in recent days with temperatures falling to a low of -33.4C in Jura on Wednesday morning, but the cold spell isn’t going to last. 

Temperatures across the country will hover around the 10C level in most of France by the afternoon on December 25th according to Météo France, with parts of the country including Brittany and some parts of eastern France experiencing rainfall. 

By the afternoon on Christmas Day, the chances of snow look extremely limited. Source: www.meteofrance.com

On Saturday, there will be some snowfall, but only if you are high in the mountains at an altitude of 1,800-2,000m. On Sunday, places above 1,500m could also see snow – but this rules out the vast majority of the country. 

Roughly half the country will see sunshine over the weekend. The French weather channel said that this Christmas could be among the top five or six warmest since 1947. 

Last year, Météo France cautioned: “While we often associate snow with Christmas in the popular imagination, the probability of having snow in the plains [ie not in the mountains] during this period is weak in reality.”

One of the last great Christmas snowfalls, outside of France’s mountainous areas, came in 2010 when 3-10 cm of snow fell in Lille, Rouen and Paris. In Strasbourg, 26cm fell. 

On Christmas Day in 1996, 12 cm of snow fell in Angers – ironically, this was also the day that the film, Y’aura t’il de la neige à Noël? (Will there never be snow at Christmas?) was released. It had been ten years since France had seen such snowfall outside of the Alps and Pyrenees. 

Météo France directly attributes declining rates of Christmas snowfall to climate change. Compared to 50 years ago, even the Alps receives the equivalent one less month of snowfall per year. 

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