Mountain of Christmas gifts
Even though Christmas shopping 2013 in Sweden is likely to be less than last year, for the second year in a row the mountain of Christmas gifts will still reach some 48 million. ”Swedes buy an average of six Christmas gifts and spend an average of 300 SEK ($45) per gift, for a total of 14 billion SEK (around $2 million),” says director of press, Karin Hellgren at SBAB, the company that conducted the survey. Last year for the first year in a long time, Christmas shopping went down, and the number of Swedes who finance their shopping with credit cards is also on the wane in comparison to prior years. ”It shows that people cut their coats according to their cloths,” says Hellgren.

42 Swedes became Klaus-Heidi
In a contest organized by the German airline Lufthansa, 42 Swedes changed their names to Klaus-Heidi. To formally change your name was a requirement in order to win first prize, which was a trip to Berlin, and a paid apartment in the German capital for a year as well as an intensive language course in German. The winner has now been selected and he is 24-year-old Michael Klaus-Heidi Andersson from Fjugesta, who won with a tribute poem to Germany. Michael Klaus-Heidi Andersson plans to keep his new name. ”It’s a fun thing that I will have many memories from. I will call myself Klaus-Heidi in Germany, it’s like being called Peter-Marie in Sweden,” he says, and adds that he will move to Berlin in January of next year. The other 41 Klaus-Heidis were not left empty handed, either: They each got a return trip to New York with Lufthansa, and they also got to keep their brand new German name, of course!

Premature deaths
While the risk of dying prematurely has decreased in Sweden, there’s a group in which this development is less positive: Women with little or no higher education in the age group 35-64 is a vulnerable group, according to statistics from Socialstyrelsen. This statistics show that the risk of dying prematurely has dropped 42 percent for men and 33 percent for women (ages 35-64) during the years 1991 and 2012. The exception is women with no education, and according to the survey from Socialstyrelsen (the National Board of Health and Welfare), the risk of a premature death for this group has dropped only 6 percent, and the main reason is that many of these women continue to smoke. ”An important reason for social differences is smoking, which is not decreasing among women with little education,” says Maria Danielsson at Socialstyrelsen in a press release. Since 2005, lung cancer has replaced breast cancer as the number one cause of cancer death in women. For men, the number of lung cancer deaths has gradually gone down since the end of the 1980s. The higher mortality rate for the uneducated shows in the number of heart attacks, tumors, lung diseases and diseases related to alcohol. In total, the number of people dying from cardiovascular diseases in Sweden has gone down. The statistics from Socialstyrelsen also shows that suicides are more common among people with little or no higher education than those with a higher education, the greatest difference can be seen in men. Suicide among men in the 65-79 age group, regardless of education, is going up while the number for women in the same age group is going down. Last year a total of 91,990 Swedes died, 47,672 of them were women, and 44,318 were men—an increase or 2.3 percent over 2011.