|The royal palace lit up under a wintery sky.|
Last weekend I wrote about the first Christmassy happenings in Stockholm... but this weekend (Nov 29th to Dec 1st) is the official start of the holiday season in Sweden (and many other parts of the world). It is the beginning of Advent, which always starts on the fourth Sunday before Christmas. It is this weekend when Swedes traditionally consider it permissible (in the name of good taste) to put up holiday decorations at home
So, what kicks off this Advent Season? Well, to start off with, two more Christmas markets open for the season. The traditional & historic market at Skansen opens on Saturday and will be open each Advent weekend (Sat & Sun). The market in Kungsträdgården opened today (Friday) for business and will be open daily until December 22nd. Two specialty markets are open this weekend and only this weekend. The Royal Mews/Stables have their traditional Christmas fair this weekend (Fri-Sun) and the students at Konstfack (College of Art, Crafts & Design) have their market on Sat & Sun. Click for more information on various Christmas markets this season.
The Swedish Center for Architecture & Design's popular gingerbread house contest has started and the "houses" competing are now on display. You have until December 14th to stop by and cast your vote (they will, however, be on display until January 5th). The theme of the competition is "future forms" and the competitors are split into three groups...1. architects, designers and professional bakers. 2. children under the age of 12. 3. everyone else! The Center is located on the island of Skeppsholmen.
|A contestant at last year's competition.|
|Last minute preparations of the official tree.|
Finally... the official Christmas tree is going to be lit at 3pm on Sunday! This giant tree is a bit of a symbol for Stockholm during the holiday season and is located in Gamla Stan on the Skeppsbron waterfront. Right next to the tree is the restaurant Mr French which I visited a few weeks ago. Not only will they be serving julbord, the traditional Christmas smörgåsbord, but they will be putting on their own Christmas market in their lounge where you can buy traditional market items as well as sandwiches and hot chocolate while sitting around an open fire.