Sweden Gift Giving Customs

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Flag of Sewden

Capital: Stockholm

Languages: Swedish, Finnish, Saami, Meänkieli, Romani, Yiddish

Currency: krona

Religion: Lutheran

National Holiday: National Day of Sweden, June 6 (1983) formally Swedish Flag Day, June 6 (1916)

More Sweden Holidays


Sweden is a Scandinavian country that has plenty to offer from beautiful landscapes, a history influenced by Viking traditions, and a modern culture that offers visitors a variety of cultural and outdoor activities. Those that enjoy historical adventures can explore the country's interesting past, for the outdoorsey-type they can find beautiful places to hike or ski, or for those that love the city-life they will discover that Sweden offers a very innovative culture. If you are planning a trip to Sweden and your trip includes opportunities to exchange gifts then here are a few tips about gift giving etiquette in Sweden:

Personal Gift Giving Etiquette
  • If you are invited to a Swede’s home, the Swedish gift giving custom is to bring a host/hostess gift such as chocolates or flowers, liquor, wine, or a cake.
  • Sweden is a country that is child centred, if your host/hostess has children you should always take a gift just for the child, such as candy or an age-appropriate toys or game.
  • When personally receiving a gift, it should be opened immediately upon receipt.
  • When giving a gift of flowers never give an even number of flowers, there is an old European tradition to give bouquets of flowers in odd numbers.

Gifts to Avoid

  • White lilies or chrysanthemums, as they are associated with funerals.
  • Red Roses or Orchids, as they symbolize romantic intentions.
  • Do not give gifts that can easily be purchased in Sweden.

Business Gift Giving Customs

  • Business gift giving in Sweden is not usually done between business associates, even on holidays.
  • A business gift is appropriate as you are closing your business deal, but it should be a practical gift. Appropriate gifts would be books about your country or desk accessories.
  • Liquor is extremely expensive in Sweden, a fine bottle of liquor or wine from your country makes a good business gift.
  • If you receive a gift from a business associate then reciprocate, but do not try to go one better by purchasing as lavish gift, present them with a gift that is comparable to the one you received.
  • It is appropriate to send Holiday cards to a business associate, especially to thank them for their business in the previous year.

Swedish Holiday and Birthday Traditions



A birthday custom in Sweden is breakfast in bed, children celebrating their birthday are served by their family as they sing them the Happy Birthday Song. The national flag of Sweden is used when decorating for birthdays; the flag will be hung outside the home of the person that is celebrating their birthday. Swedish birthday cakes are similar to pound cakes and are then decorated with marzipan.

Celebrating Swedish Holidays

In Sweden many holiday celebrations are not on the day of the holiday, but on the eve of the holiday. For example the main celebration for Christmas is on Christmas Eve and the main celebration Midsummer's Day will be held on Midsummer's Eve.
Easter in Sweden is celebrated by children dressing up as witches and going door-to-door- in their neighborhood asking for treats. This Easter celebration pre-dates Christianity and stems from a belief that witches travelled to Blåkulla mountain on Maundy Thursday to meet and dance with the devil.

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