Norwegian Christmas traditions


Christmas is a time for traditions, and from traditions itself you can draw a connection between the past and present. In Norway, we have several traditions, but the most important one is the gathering of family and friends. Another important aspect is that we all dream of a white Christmas.


Advent time is from December 1st and starts four Sundays before Christmas and lasts until Christmas Eve. It is common for children (and some adults) to have an advent calendar for Christmas countdown. The calendar can contain anything. Only creativity can stop it. Everything from chocolate, different types of candy, socks (fun for kids), experiences, nice words or whatever one might wish. You can make one yourself or buy one.


In advent time, baking is a tradition that can be nice to do with friends and family. Gingerbread cookies are very common to bake, and it is popular to buy gingerbread houses and decorate it. The gingerbread house is often a Christmas accessory to decorate the house with. On Christmas Eve, the children can destroy the gingerbread house and eat it.


Santa is a cozy Christmas tradition, and on the evening before Christmas Eve, there are many families with children who put a plate of porridge outside for Santa. On Christmas morning when the porridge is gone, it means that Santa has been there and eaten the porridge. In the evening Santa come for a visit and hand out presents (if you have been nice of course).


“Ribbe” with potatoes, sauerkraut, red cabbage, brussels sprouts. Photo: BAMA

Food is an important tradition. Christmas dinner in Norway varies according to which part of the country you are from, and of course, which traditions you are used to. The food that is common at Christmas time in Norway is “Pinnekjøtt”, “Ribbe”, “Lutefisk”, “Christmas ham”, “Turkey” and “Medisterkaker”. For dessert there are also variations, but it is common to have “Rice cream”, “Cloudberry cream” or “Chocolate mousse”.

For many, the “Akevitt” (A Scandinavian liquor) plays a central role during big and small dinner parties in Christmas. It is said that a little “Akevitt” will help digest the Christmas meal. The “Akevitt” is from the year 1531, and back then they thought the liquor could cure diseases.


”Romjul” (the time between Christmas Eve and New Years Eve), is enjoyed with family and it is nice to get outside and do some activity. This may be to play with the kids, skiing (if you have snow) or go hiking. Have some quality time with family and friends outside and in activity. What’s important in Christmas is to get together with good friends and family, take care of the good and warm values.

Hope everyone gets a magical Christmas season, merry Christmas!



Written by Marion Skulstad.



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