Friday, December 24, 2010

My Norwegian Christmas - Merry Christmas!

It's not Christmas without Disney and Jiminy Cricket(in English with Norwegian subtitles).

Today (December 24th) is the day we celebrate Christmas here in Norway and I thought I might write a bit about my family's Christmas traditions. 

First of all a short lesson in Norwegian: "Merry Christmas" is "God jul" and "Santa" is "Nisse" in Norwegian. Good to know, right? ;)

I'm like a child I still love Christmas just as much as when I was a little girl. In our home we never start decorating for Christmas until the 22 or 23rd December, usually the latter and we do not take away the decorations until the 13th day of Christmas. That is an old Norwegian tradition, I know lots of people start decorating these days on the 1st of December but that is way to early for me.

When I was living at home I used to get up after midnight on the 24th with my younger sister and brother and we would tiptoe downstairs and watch the beautiful Christmas tree and of course we couldn't resist squeezing a bit on some of the gifts with our names on it. These days I have a family of our own and we do not keep the Christmas lights on at night, due to the danger of fire, I think it is so sad but better safe then sorry. The first thing I do when I wake up in the morning is turning on the Christmas lights.

Three Wishes for Cinderella(not a great trailer but the best one I could find):

We usually start out our day with a family breakfast and then we watch traditional Christmas cartoons on TV. Then we might venture out to deliver the last of the Christmas presents to our closest family members. Only thing is that I HAVE to be home at 11 AM to watch Three Wishes for Cinderella. The one year I didn't get a chance to see it I never got quite into the right kind of Christmas spirit, it is such a romantic and wonderful story. It is actually an old Czechoslovakian movie that somehow has become a part of the Christmas traditions here in Norway and the state channel airs the movie every Christmas Eve. It's been dubbed into Norwegian and one man does all the voices, it is laughable really but it is a tradition. They once tried to send a version with multiple voices but that was never a hit with the audience so the had to go back to the version with one man as all the characters. Has anyone of you seen this movie? 

The barn gnome(we call it Fjøsnisse)

In the middle of the day we usually go to my parents to eat rice porridge. Usually there is hidden an almond in the porridge and the one who get's the almond receives a little gift, usually a marzipan pig covered with chocolate. After we're done we go out to the barn with our son and set out a bowl of porridge there for the barn gnome. This is an old tradition, before some believed that little Santas was living on the farms, helping out and caring for sick animals. This year I'm planning on placing a Santa hat somewhere to make it a little more exiting. 

About 5-6 PM we eat Christmas dinner consisting of  roast pork rib(which we call "ribbe" in Norwegian) with lovely crispy rind, Christmas sausage(made of pork), boiled potatoes, large meatballs, sauerkraut, red cabbage, brown saus, gravy, lingonberry jam and pickled cucumber. You chose what you like and just dig in. For dessert many people use the rest of the rice porridge they ate earlier that day mixes it with sweet cream and serve it with red saus. We always eat that at my parent-in-laws but at home the past years we have eaten fruit salad and ice cream.

What kind of traditional meal one serves on Christmas Eve here in Norway may vary a bit from where one comes from in the country; some eat ribs of lamb and others have a tradition of eating lutefisk.

Christmas dessert: Rice pudding with red saus

After dinner and dessert comes the tradition I love the most. The entire family gathers in a large circle around the Christmas tree and hold hands, we walk around the tree and we sing Christmas carols. After awhile, it happens when we sing a special song about Santa; Santa appears in our living room with his sack filled with gifts. Of course the tradition is for the children, not me really LOL but I still like it, I just love looking at our sons face when Santa comes into the living room and starts giving out gifts. Our son is only five and he still believes in Santa and I for one will not be the one crushing his dream and telling him that Santa isn't real. I guess he'll figure out sooner or later on his own.

When we have opened the gifts we usually just chat and enjoy each others company (the kids playing with their gifts) while we eat some snacks and fruit, perhaps have a coffee or tea. And that my friends is how we celebrate Christmas Eve in our family.

I wish each and every one of you a merry Christmas! 

If you're interested in reading more about different Christmas traditions do check out my book blogging friend Blodeuedd's traditional Christmas post. There you can read about Christmas traditions in Finland.



  1. So you get a gift when you get the almond, cool :) Bf got it this year, haha, poor fellow when we joked with him about marrying ;)

    We have tomtenissar too, let's see, jultomten, tomtenissar och julbocken.

    Do you guys have Kalle Ankas jul too, oh every year at 4 we watch that from Swedish telly. It would nto be xmas witout it.

    Hm what was Donald Duck called in Norwegian? Was it Mårten Gås in

    Great post, I really enjoyed it. There are some small changes, especially with the food, but the rest is fairly the same

    PS. lutfisk is icky ;)

  2. In Danish it is Anders And ;)

    Can´t wait for next christmas :) Then I will be in Norway and think I will do some out of it.. This year I am only working..

    I always used to watch Tree Wishes for Cinderella to.. But here in Denmark I don´t got the norwegian channel anymore :(
    Og reisen til julestjernen :P
    Don´t know what it is called in english..

    This year we are just taking everything slow.. But can´t wait to make my own christmas traditions :) Love christmas, but this year.. I am just working, so it´s not that special for me this year.. But otherwise I am just like you. Still a little girl :P

  3. B: LOL, so we can expect a wedding post next year? ;)

    Yes, I do believe so if that is the one where the squirrels(we call them "Snipp og Snapp" - what are the Swedish names?) is in his Christmas three? It's a wonderful cartoon.

    We simply call Donald for Donald Duck here in Norway.

    I've actually never tasted lutefisk, I could eat the bacon that is served with it but not the fish LOL

  4. Moon Star: Some has to work as well, unfortunately but that's the way it has to be.

    I'm not sure what it is called but I did a google search and I got hit's on Journey to the Christmas Star.

  5. Now who the heck is Mårten Gås, lol..oh that is that friend of Donald Duck!

    Not a big fish fan, but grandma makes it and my brother is the only that eats it.

    we call them Piff and Puff :D We have 1 hour of show so there is a lot of cartoon pieces there.

  6. Wow, I am from Czech republic and I had no idea that people in Norway know this movie! Total surprise, I wonder how that happened.. So cool :) Three Wishes for Cinderella is our best movie fairy tale of all times I think. My personal favourite, utterly magical and lovely :)
    Thanks for sharing this piece of information.. and merry Christmas! :)

  7. What awesome traditions! I loved hearing about them. Very cool! I hope you and your family have a wonderful holiday! :) Merry Christmas!


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