Swedish Language Blog

Julkalendern – a much loved TV tradition Posted by on Nov 29, 2010 in Culture

The windows are pimped, the first candle is lit and the countdown to Christmas can begin! But the real countdown officially kicks off on the first of December, when all the kids can open the first window in the Advent calendar and –  if your living in Scandinavia – watch the first episode of a much beloved Swedish tradition, Julkalendern (The Christmas Calendar).

Julkalendern is a Advent calendar in the form of a television show starting on the first of December, and ending on Christmas Eve. Every episode is 15 minutes long and is shown either early in the morning, around 7 am, or in the evening, at 6 pm. All kids watch this, and to be fair, lot’s of adults do too. It’s a much loved and old tradition; the first Julkalender was first on Swedish TV in 1960 and has been going every year since and the tradition has spread to the other Scandinavian countries as well. There’s a new show every year, but the show is normally set somewhere in a wintery Sweden and contains lots of Christmas spirit and cosiness. The show comes with an Advent calendar and after every show, you open a new window. Ah, just writing about this brings back so many childhood memories and I can promise you, every Swede has their favourite/worst ever julkalender. I remember crying my eyes out on Christmas Eve 1986 when the last episode of “Julpussar och Stjärnsmällar” was broadcasted, and how terrified I was back in 1987, when Swedish television decided to educate instead of entertain, and gave us the story about Jesus’ life and death in a quite traumatic way for a seven year old…

Swedish television made a big Julkalender poll a few years ago to crown the nations favourite. The winner was “Mysteriet på Greveholm” (The Greveholm Mystery) from 1996, a classic ghost/Christmas story, loved by both kids and adults.  Watch a snippet here!


This year, the Julkalender is called “Hotel Gyllene Knorren” and takes place in a hotell, which of course hosts one or two ghost… For more info about this and 50 years of julkalendrar, please click here.

Have you seen ever seen a Swedish Julkalender? Any favourites? Any thumbs down? Just to get us all into the proper Christmas spirit, let’s watch an episode of my – and most of Swedes in my age  – all time favourite, “Sunes Jul”. It was broadcasted back in 1991 and has become a true classic since then. It’s about 10 year old Sune and his annoying little brother Håkan, their bored teen sister Anna, their stressed out mother Karin and stupidly clumsy father Rudolf. Let’s put it this way; nothing goes according to plan in that family. And the Christmas spirit and peace are nowhere to be seen…


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  1. Debbie:

    Last year i watched “Kerst met Linus” for the first time. I loved it! It is a Dutch-dubbed version of the Norwegian julkalender “Jul i Svingen”. Going to watch it again this year, but i’m definitely also going to have a look at the Swedish julkalender. Hope it will be available on SVT Play?

  2. jennie:

    Ah, interesting! Never heard of that one, must have a look! Didn’t know they got dubbed…

    Yes! It will be available on SVT Play everyday! I will watch it for sure… 🙂

  3. Daniel:

    The best one ever is “tomtar på loftet”. A norwegian faked reality show where 24 tomtar competes of being the last one. Every day they only eat porridge, nuts and candy and must wear red clothes and fake beard every day. The one who gets the almond in the porridge get thrown out. The website link above is a link to the first episode.

  4. Emma:

    My favorite of all time is Greveholm, but Sunes jul come as a close second.