Across North America and Europe, Christmastime celebrations look similar. From country to country, you’ll see many of the same themes and motifs, but Norwegians have slightly different holiday traditions than other countries. This year, incorporate some of Norway’s Christmas traditions into your holiday season!
Traditionally, Norwegians decorate their homes later than you might expect. In Europe and North America, it’s not unusual to see decorated Christmas trees in early December, but in Norway, it’s traditional to wait until December 23 — or Lille Julaften (“Little Christmas Eve”) — to bring in your Christmas tree and decorate it.
To take something from this Norwegian yuletide tradition, you don’t have to wait until Little Christmas Eve to trim your tree, though! Just choose a day to put up decorations and make it an event that you’ll look forward to every year. Talk with your family, friends and, perhaps, even neighbors about picking a specific day to hang ornaments from the tree and put the wreath on the door. Decorating together can become a tradition that brings you closer to one another.
If you’re interested in adding some Norwegian flair to your Christmas table, try preparing some of the country’s more traditional dishes, including roasted pork ribs or dried mutton. Even though these dishes will take a few days of preparation to serve for the holidays, they make a stunning arrangement on your table and fill your home with an unmistakable and delightful aroma.
When it comes to dessert, Norwegians enjoy some of the same things we do: pepperkakehus (gingerbread houses) and hot chocolate. Gingerbread houses can double as creative decorations for your kitchen or dining room!
Extending Christmas Festivities
In America, Christmastime ends the day after Christmas, and many people go back to work. In Norway, however, the celebration continues from Boxing Day to New Year’s Eve. This period is called Romjul (Christmas Space). Romjul gives Norwegians time to slow down, reflect on the past year and look forward to the coming one.
It’s not uncommon for businesses to close during this week, so the world seems to move a little slower. If you can take this week off, you’ll have more time to spend with family and friends and recharge before going back to work after New Year’s Day. You can leave the decorations up a little longer and consciously indulge in Christmastime’s splendor.
Whether it’s hanging a small Norwegian flag on your tree or taking a little extra hygge-infused vacation time between Christmas and New Year’s Day, find an opportunity to add some Norwegian flair to this year’s yuletide festivities! God Jul!