Advent Calendar

A review of an app for android and Apple devices

An Advent app running on mobile phones

To help celebrate Advent Swedish style, I recommend downloading Swedish Christmas, an app available for android and Apple devices. Just like a traditional Advent calendar it contains 24 windows, but behind each window is some lovely Swedish Christmas music and excellent video.

Don't get stingy! It is not an alternative to a traditional chocolate loaded Advent calendar, but it makes for an interesting and enjoyable second Advent calendar. It is a classy app, well worth the small fee required to download it.

The app has been created by Mia Karlsson, a talented singer and mother of two young boys. Mia has appeared in leading roles in countless musicals. If you open some of the windows you will hear her warm controlled voice and you will readily appreciate why she was so much in demand for musicals.

Celebrating Swedish traditions

Mia, who lives in London, explains, "The app was initially created for Swedish expats and people interested in Swedish traditions. I realised that whilst living in London I really missed some of the Swedish traditions, particularly at Christmas time."

Labour of love

To make the app, Mia assembled a team of talented musicians and photographers. All the recordings were made in Sweden, even though this meant a lot of commuting from London for Mia who was heavily pregnant at the time! This underlines the fact that the production of the app has been a real labour of love which has been lovingly and professionally assembled.

Everything is done to a high standard. For instance, the sound quality is superb, so it is well worth playing it through a good sound system rather than just using the speakers on your phone or tablet computer.

A dinner scene from the Advent ap

Behind each window is some stunning film. For instance, December 1st has some wonderful photography showing Stockholm in the snow which will make you want to see it for yourself.

Visually strong

Mia explains, "Because I am a professional singer and appeared in some spectacular musicals I wanted to create a very high quality product which is good both musically and visually whilst also being informative about Swedish traditions. I wanted to create something I could show people with pride".

Lucia with a crown of candles

Each window is different. Mia's young nephew and niece (along with their Mum!) star in one of the films as they make Lussekatter (saffron buns) accompanied by children singing a traditional Swedish song called En sockerbagare. The children are adorable with Mia's nephew, Teo, grinning engagingly in front of the camera and upstaging his sister who simply gets on with making the Lussekatter! Lovely...

Informative

Advent biscuits from the Advent Calendar app

The app is informative, without being preachy. All of the 24 films are telling a different story about Swedish Christmas traditions such as:
• candle-making,
• dancing games,
• seasonal food and drink,
Lucia. (The procession was recorded in Lund Cathedral, one of Sweden's grandest.)

Downloading

The app is available for all types of smart phone and is extremely good value, being less than the price of a cup of coffee. ($1.99, 1.79€, 15 SEK, £1.49 for Apple users and £1.70 for android users.)

The file is quite large so wait until you are connected to a wireless network before downloading it. However, as none of the video is streamed, once downloaded the app plays happily without an internet connection.

iPad and iPhone downloads

Apple users can download the app by clicking one one of the links below:

Australian flag Canadian flag French flag German flag Swedish flag British flag US flag

If your country is not shown, you can search for it in Apple's app store, although you need to search in the "iPhone Only" section, which seems silly as it seems to run well on both iPhones and iPads.

Unfortunately, because of a mention of alcohol Apple have given it a 12+ rating. Don't let that put you off because the app can be enjoyed by all the family.

Android downloads

Android users can download the app here or by searching in their app store.

Verdict

Mia has achieved her aim: she can show this app off with pride.

John Duxbury

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