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The Fabulous Fleece Company Blog

How to enjoy a Nordic Christmas

Thomas Rasmus Skaug / Visitnorway.com

With our favourite addition to Fab Fleece's collection of sheepskins this year being the Norwegian Grey Pelssau fleece - we thought we’d take our festive inspiration from Norway too and discover how Christmas is celebrated there.

After all, Norway has the snowy winter wonderland weather and are experts in creating a warm and welcoming atmosphere with some Scandinavian hygge.

Jul is a special time in Norway with lots of delicious food and fun activities involved. So here’s our lowdown on the essential elements of a Nordic style Christmas.

Christmas kicks off

The festive season usually starts on the last weekend in November in Norway, with the baking of many Christmas cookies... up to seven different kinds actually! These include sandkaker (sand cakes) - shortcakes baked in little molds and filled with jam, jelly or fruit and cream and krumkaker (curved cakes) - a waffle biscuit rolled into a cone shape and filled with whipped cream. There are various other buttery cookie delights and as well as pepperkaker (gingerbreads).

Visiting Christmas markets is a very popular activity and Maihaugen in Lillehammer is one of best ones to visit. Alongside the market you can enjoy sleigh rides and visit historic houses that recreate Christmas as celebrated in days gone by.

Other December activities include going to at least one cheerful Christmas concert and enjoying Julebord parties. You gather together with friends, colleagues or family to eat all day and night. It seems that the main goal for the evening is to get so drunk that you (almost) can’t find your way home!

Little Christmas Eve

On December 23, Norwegians celebrate Lille Julaften, (or Little Christmas Eve), a time when the family comes together to decorate the house and tree, make a gingerbread house, or eat risengrynsgrøt; a hot rice pudding served with sugar, cinnamon and butter.

An almond is hidden in the pudding, and if the almond turns up in your portion, you win a marzipan pig! A Norwegian alternative to finding the sixpence in the Christmas pudding!

Norway is very big on marzipan - one of the manufacturers Nidar estimates that Norway's population of 5 million can get through more than 40 million marzipan figures during the festive season!

Christmas Eve - the main event

The Silver Boys Choir (Sølvguttene) appear on national television for their annual festive concert and at 5pm, church bells ring throughout the cities to announce the official start of the holiday.

The evening will start with a traditional meal - the most popular Christmas Eve dinner is either ribbe (pork ribs or belly), or lutefisk, cod cured in rye and served with bacon, mashed peas and potatoes. Lutefisk is both loved and loathed by Norwegians who largely agree that eating it once a year is enough!

After dinner, people usually hold hands and dance around the Christmas tree while singing carols. Julenissen, or Santa Claus, then comes into the living room to hand out presents. The family and guests then play games, sing and open gifts the rest of the evening.

Rest for romjulen

Romjulen is the time between Christmas and New Year’s Eve when shops are usually closed or have limited opening hours, with Norwegians typically heading to the slopes for skiing and sledding with their families. As unlike the mild UK, Norway actually has a decent amount of snow in most places at Christmas time, which helps add to the seasonal atmosphere.

More Nordic inspired ideas

If like us, you can’t head to Norway to experience these wonderful sounding festivities first hand this year, then you may still be inspired to add some Norwegian touches to your own Christmas - especially when it comes to home decor and cooking.

Head over to Pinterest to see our latest board - A Nordic Christmas - for more ideas.

Wherever you spend Christmas, we hope you have a God Jul!

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