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Ebenezer Scrooge: ‘Why I hate Swedish Christmas’

Can you feel it? That crisp but comforting chill in the air that signals Christmas is coming! As advent stars twinkle in windows, the glögg flows freely, and the smell of saffron drifts through the streets, everyone in Sweden is full of festive spirit.

Ebenezer Scrooge: 'Why I hate Swedish Christmas'
Mr. Scrooge performing in 'A Christmas Carol'

Well, perhaps not everyone.

The Local caught up with miserly moneylender Ebenezer Scrooge, who’s here in Stockholm performing in Charles Dickens’ A Christmas Carol until 23rd December.

He kindly (but not ungrudgingly) took some time out from rehearsing to give us his two pennies’ worth about Christmas here in Sweden.

Välkommen Ebenezer, good to have you here in Sweden! How do you like it so far?

It’s Mr. Scrooge to you. And I don’t care for it. It’s too clean, the Swedes are too happy, and the air is too fresh. A little London smog would do them all some good. This country does have one thing going for it though — it’s cold and dark. Darkness is cheap, and I like it.

If we’re speaking candidly, I do confess to enjoying a hot chocolate in Stortorget — that is, until they set up that vulgar Christmas market and then the atmosphere is ruined.

We take it you don’t have any favourite Swedish Christmas traditions then?

Christmas is nothing but a poor excuse to pick a man’s pockets.

That being said, I enjoy the St. Lucia celebrations because I make a good profit lending money to those sickeningly proud mothers dressing their draggle-haired children in ridiculous costumes. Frankly, I’m flummoxed by the whole thing.

I do admire the way Swedes celebrate Christmas a day earlier. It means it’s over with faster and we can all get back to work.

There must be something you like, Mr. Scrooge! What about the Swedish Christmas table? Everyone loves a julbord!

Bah, humbug! Far too colourful, the fish tastes too much like fish and not enough like the Thames. And who needs to eat so many dishes? Give me my bowl of lukewarm gruel any day!

Don’t even get me started on those lussebullar. The next person to offer me one of those vile things should be boiled with his own pudding and buried with a stake of holly through his heart.

Surely you can’t help joining in when you hear a Christmas carol?

I despise all Christmas carols. And the people singing them are even worse. There’s nothing more infuriating than having to get up and answer the door to a bunch of rosy-cheeked buffoons with their saccharine smiles.

Swedish carols are even more distasteful than the English ones. Especially ‘Jul Jul Stralande Jul’ — what a load of tommy-rot. They’re nothing but a waste of time, and time is money! Particularly when sung by wretched children, I can’t stand the filthy little urchins.

Well, thanks for your time. It was, erm, uplifting. Guess we shouldn’t ask you why people should come to watch you perform in ‘A Christmas Carol’?

People should absolutely come to see the show. It teaches you about love which is what Christmas is all about. The love of money. You just have to ignore the final ten minutes which is mostly poppycock.

A Christmas Carol is performed in English at Blixten & Co in Stockholm until December 23rd. Find out more and get tickets on the website.

This article was produced by The Local Client Studio and sponsored by Blixton & Co.

 

CHRISTMAS

Could Christmas in Norway be affected by new Covid-19 measures?

Norway’s government has in the last two days announced tightened rules relating to Covid-19 isolation and face masks. Prime Minister Jonas Gahr Støre sought to reassure the public over plans for the Christmas holidays.

Norway's PM Jonas Gahr Støre expects the country's residents to be able to celebrate Christmas normally but cannot rule out new Covid-19 measures before December 24th.
Norway's PM Jonas Gahr Støre expects the country's residents to be able to celebrate Christmas normally but cannot rule out new Covid-19 measures before December 24th. Photo by Chad Madden on Unsplash

The government on Tuesday announced new measures relating to quarantine rules for confirmed Covid-19 cases and face mask guidelines.

The measures, which are being introduced in response to increasing infection numbers, include more stringent isolation rules, face mask recommendations and a push to vaccinate over 65s with booster jabs as soon as possible.

“On one side, we must avoid full hospitals and strain on the health system. On the other side we must live as normally as possible. We must keep finding the right balance in the measures,” Prime Minister Jonas Gahr Støre said in a statement.

Tighter quarantine rules for suspected cases with the new Omicron variant were meanwhile launched on Monday. People who test positive for or are believed to be infected with the Omicron variant will need to isolate for longer than others with the virus.

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In comments during a briefing to press on Tuesday, Støre sought to reassure the public over plans to spend Christmas with loved ones.

“The measures we have introduced are settings that make it possible to celebrate a good Christmas while keeping in mind what you can do with your loved ones,” the PM said in comments reported by newspaper VG.

“We can plan to be with our families at Christmas,” he added.

Last year saw Christmas in Norway significantly impacted by restrictions on the number of people who could meet and mixing between households.

Such far-reaching restrictions are not expected in 2021. Støre did not however rule out additional measures being introduced before December 24th.

“What we have presented today is based on the knowledge we already have,” he said.

“It is the total restrictions that count. If we are in the same situation (as now) when we get to December 24th, you can celebrate Christmas normally,” Støre said, but noted the virus would be present throughout the winter.

The aim of any measures is to keep the pandemic under control throughout the winter, he added.

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