Home Destinations 15 (Hilarious) Norwegian Christmas Traditions and How we Celebrate Christmas in Norway

15 (Hilarious) Norwegian Christmas Traditions and How we Celebrate Christmas in Norway

by Lisa Stentvedt

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This is a post that I could have (and should have) written years ago. Christmas is my absolute favourite holiday, and throughout all my travels and stints of living abroad, I have shared Norwegian Christmas traditions and stories about them with my friends.

Some of these traditions are beautiful, and I’ve been told by friends they wish they did something similar in their country. Others are just plain weird, and I always have a great time sharing weird Norwegian Christmas traditions and heritage just to have people say they don’t believe me.

As mentioned, I really love Christmas. I’m that person who will literally ask you to tell me about your Christmas and how you celebrate, so that I, in turn, can go into extreme detail about how my family and I celebrate, and what fun Scandinavian and Norwegian Christmas traditions we uphold (and which ones we don’t – there really are some odd ones).

I am also the family member that starts checking with the rest of my family in August if they are coming home for Christmas, so I can set my expectations for how many of us are celebrating together.

In short, you don’t mess with my Christmas. I grew up with a big family, and celebrating Christmas has become a synonym for love, chaos and memories. I’ve been lucky enough to experience Christmas traditions in the UK, the US, Australia, Spain and even Egypt on my travels, and am incredibly grateful for those experiences.

I have also celebrated in Sweden, which might have been the closest comparison to Christmas in Norway. But nothing beats a proper Norwegian Christmas (in my opinion).

So, since I absolutely love sharing what Christmas is like in Norway, and asking other people about their local and national Christmas traditions, I thought it only appropriate that I finally answer the question, “how is Christmas celebrated in Norway?”

If you are planning a trip to Norway during the holidays, I wrote this guide for you: Things you MUST Know Before Visiting Norway for Christmas!

Decorations from Christmas in Norway, a red bauble with gold stars on a green christmas tree
I’m super excited to tell you how we celebrate Christmas in Norway!

What you need to know about Christmas in Norway

Belo are 3 things you need to know about Christmas in Norway before we get started on the list. If you take just three things away from this post, let it be these.

Celebrating on Christmas Eve (not Christmas Day)

First things first. The first thing that makes Christmas in Norway special is that our main celebration is on Christmas Eve, and not on Christmas Day as in many other countries.

This is primarily a Scandinavian thing as far as I know (do tell me in the comments if you celebrate on Christmas Eve as well, and tell me where you’re from!).

When I have celebrated Christmas abroad it has been quite strange for me to not participate in any Christmas traditions on Christmas Eve, and spend the day waiting for the next day.

In fact, I haven’t felt homesick during the celebrations on Christmas Day, but I did on Christmas Even when nothing has happened (other than a nice family dinner, of course). Being abroad on the 24th of December and knowing that my family were celebrating Christmas without me has been very difficult at times.

Read more: 20 things Norway is famous for

Opening Christmas presents in Norway

Another thing that’s worth mentioning about Christmas in Norway is that we don’t open presents in the morning.

My first Christmas abroad was in Wales, and I couldn’t believe my eyes when we were given presents to open at 7 am. I hadn’t even had my coffee and found it quite hard to share the excitement within 5 minutes of waking up.

My host brothers (who were 10 and 12 at the time) woke me up, and as a 17-year-old, I wasn’t truly able to be as elated as they were.

Can you imagine Christmas in Norway for kids when they are expected to get up early, walk around in an excited state all day, and not be able to open presents until after dinner? It’s absolute torture, but as my dad always told me; it builds character.

Usually, families with small kids would let the children open one (just one) present before dinner. This would often help with the wait, and I know it helped for us. Now, we will often let my nieces and nephew open just one present before dinner – to make Christmas dinner a little less excruciating.

Waiting for Christmas (Advent)

The act of waiting for presents and for Christmas in Norway is very important, and we have even dubbed the 23rd of December ‘Little Christmas Eve’ (“Lille Julaften”).

This is a very special day, and many families will spent the day decorating the Christmas tree and make their final preparations before Christmas ‘officially’ starts.

Additionally, the whole of December is spent counting down the days using Advent Calendars, which have quite a special place in the hearts of Norwegians celebrating Christmas.

Our Advent Calendars have 24 days in them and can be quite different from what you might be used to in any English speaking countries. But more about them below (in the ‘Norwegian Christmas Traditions you should know about’ section).

Christmas Eve in Norway: A breakdown

As mentioned above, I love asking people about their Christmas traditions, so I can tell them all about mine.

So, since I am such an oversharer, I thought I would share a complete breakdown of what Christmas Eve (i.e. they day we celebrate Christmas in Norway) looks like in my home.

Of course, the day isn’t exactly the same in every home across the country, but I’m sure many Norwegian families will recognise this schedule. After all, some of these are traditions practically set in stone everywhere in Norway.

Side note: If you are visiting Norway in December, you might be hoping to see the Northern Lights. Depending on where you are, here’s a guide to the best times to visit in order to experience them. Alternatively, you can head this way to read my guide to the best times to visit Norway.

Step-by-step overview of Christmas in Norway

  1. You wake up to see if Santa has filled up your stocking overnight (we are lucky enough that he visits twice a day). Some families have this tradition on Christmas Day (the next morning).
  2. The Norwegian TV channels show pretty much the same programming every year, and in the morning, it’s all about the cartoons and the Disney classics.
  3. Then, at 11 on the dot, the beautiful Czech reenactment of Cinderella starts, and thousands and thousands of Norwegians are sat in front of the TV for it. (More on this specific tradition below).
  4. At some point you eat breakfast.
  5. Another popular Norwegian Christmas movie starts right after Cinderella, at 1’o’clock. We will usually leave this on the TV, and go have porridge for lunch.
  6. Of course, there is an almond hidden in the rice porridge, and one person will be the happy winner of some kind of sweet snack (this is another weird Norwegian Christmas tradition that I have gone into detail on below).
  7. After lunch, and some more sweets from our stocking, some of us get ready for church. We are not a very religious family, but going to church on Christmas Eve has been a tradition my mum and I have kept since I was little. The Christmas sermon in my village (Aurland) is at 5 in the afternoon, and by then it has gotten dark. It is so beautiful to walk into the church when the village is so quiet in the dark, and at 6, when we finish, the church bells “ring for Christmas”. It makes my heart warm just to think about it.
  8. After church, we head home, and it’s time for Christmas dinner. My dad is the chef of the family, and the whole house usually smells of “pinnekjøtt” when we get home. I’ve covered this in detail below.
  9. After dinner, dessert, coffee and some Akevitt, it’s finally time to open presents. The kids are elated, adults are full and comfortable, and we gather around the tree.
  10. At some point, Santa will knock on the door, and bring presents in a sack. He doesn’t come down the chimney in Norway, but parks his reindeer nearby 😉

There you have it! That’s exactly how we celebrate Christmas in Norway.

brunette girl in dark blue dress decorating christmas tree, Norwegian christmas traditions include decorating the tree, as in most countries.
Norwegian Christmas traditions include decorating the tree, as in most countries.

15 Norwegian Christmas Traditions You Must Know About

I’m really excited to share this list of Norwegian Christmas traditions with you and have found myself chuckling at quite a few of these. So many things that seem so normal to me have become the laughing stock of my group of friends when I have shared them abroad (in a good way).

There are some truly hilarious (and weird) Christmas traditions in Norway, and I have tried to include them all in this list.

However, I have tried to stick to the ones that actually stand out and are quite unique for Christmas in Norway, and so I have excluded traditions such as Christmas Markets and Christmas decorations (except for the unique ones).

Of course, we have our own twists to these as well, but they aren’t anywhere near as entertaining as the below. You’ll find some great Christmas Markets all over Europe, and most countries have their own traditions when it comes to decorating for Christmas, right?

These Christmas traditions are some peculiar customs that only those who have grown up in Norway will completely understand. Read more funny Norwegian customs here.

#1 Advent Calendars – Adventskalender

As mentioned, we care about the time leading up to Christmas. Every Sunday of Advent (you know, the four Sundays leading up to Christmas), we light candles – one for each Sunday.

This is to mark that another week has passed and that we are waiting for Jesus presents. In addition to this, we have the best Advent calendars in the world (in my unbiased opinion).

Of course, we have Advent calendars where you get a piece of chocolate every day (like in many other countries). But we also have Advent calendars where you get a new present every day for 24 days!

This is probably the reason why a whole generation of millennial Norwegians walk the earth telling people that they come from the richest country in the world. We literally grew up getting a new pencil, eraser or piece of clothing for our Barbie dolls every single morning for almost the whole duration of December. Sorry about that.

Many brands and companies also create Advent Calendars with their products. I couple of years ago I had an Essie advent calendar, for example, where I opened a new nail polish every day. Other fun advent calendars include the Body Shop, Harry Potter and Pokemon.

Televised Advent Calendars

Another amazing version of the Norwegian Advent Calendars (and probably the best) is the televised one.

Yep, as in on TV.

Most of our top TV channels will produce their own Advent Calendar, in the form of a Christmas-themed TV show with 24 episodes. Every night you’d sit down in front of the TV to catch the next episode, and regardless of your preference in TV shows, you’ll find the right one for you.

There are children’s calendars where all you get is that warm Christmas spirit, reality-styled ones where a bunch of Santa’s vote each other off the show (it’s hilarious, trust me), and even a thriller show where a family has to spend Christmas in an old hotel, disputing who inherits the right patriarch.

To get a similar vibe as these, I recommend watching the Norwegian show Home for Christmas on Netflix! Whilst it doesn’t have 24 episodes, and isn’t actually considered an advent calendar here in Norway, it gives you that same cozy feeling as the advent calendars on TV do!

#2 Czech Cinderella on TV – ‘Tre Nøtter til Askepott’

Amongst all the great Norwegian holiday traditions, this has to be my favourite. And it may also prove to be the hardest to explain.

Basically, there is a Czech movie from 1973 that has stolen the heart of the people of Norway (seriously, all of us). It was dubbed into Norwegian by a male actor, and his voice is the only (!) voice you hear throughout the movie.

The only exception is that in the background you can hear a bit of the original Czech voices of the actual actors. The movie is based off a Bohemian version of the Cinderella fairy tale.

For some reason, this movie has become incredibly popular in Norway, and it has been shown on our national broadcasting channel every Christmas Eve since 1996. That’s over 25 years of Norwegians watching a poorly dubbed, Czech version of Cinderella, every single Christmas.

Personally, it’s the highlight of my Christmas traditions, and every year on the 24th of December you’ll find me in my pyjamas in front of the TV at 11 am (as mentioned in the Christmas Eve breakdown above).

On a recent trip to the Czech Republic, I was especially excited to visit some Czech castles and drink some Moravian wine, because of this movie in particular!

In 2021, a Norwegian version of the movie was made, to everyone’s excitement, with the famous Norwegian singer Astrid S as Cinderella. It’s only available in Norwegian, but you can see the trailer below, and check it out on IMDB here.

#3 Halloween meets caroling – Julebukk

One of my fondest memories of the Christmas season as a child was heading out to ‘gå Julebukk’. I may have forgotten to mention it, but ‘Jul’ is Norwegian for Christmas. ‘Bukk’ means ‘buck’ (as in the male goat), and I have no idea why we have put these two together to create a verb.

But we have, and so Julebukk is a verb used to describe an important Christmas tradition in Norway. It is also a noun used for the children and people who are out to “go/gå julebukk”.

In short, kids will dress up as Christmas-themed characters in the days between Christmas Day and New Year’s Eve. By Christmas-themed characters, I mean angels, shepherds, Mary and Josef (mainly). Some also dress as Santa.

They will then walk from door to door in their neighbourhood and sing Christmas carols, getting sweets and candy in return. I remember some neighbours would even give us ice cream, which I find rather odd now that I realise how cold it actually is to walk around in a costume in December. The most boring neighbours would give us oranges and apples. We tried to avoid those houses.

Today, I love it when kids come to our house as “Julebukk”. It is such a cute tradition, that I hope never dies.

Fun fact: some *ahem* adults will also do this tradition, by going door to door with empty cups asking for (alcoholic) refills instead of sweets and candy. This is not very common, and is mainly done in small towns and villages where the adults in question know which houses and families will appreciate it and find this amusing (such as mine).

#4 Aquavit – Akevitt

Google translate told me that this strong Norwegian alcohol is a kind of gin, which I strongly disagree with.

Aquavitt is a spirit with strong roots in Scandinavia, and it is distilled from potatoes. It is served throughout the Christmas season, especially during and after dinner.

Aquavitt is incredibly strong, and naturally, an important part of drinking culture in Norway. It is served in a shot glass, yet is sipped slowly, and many believe it helps the food sink after a big meal.

Norway christmas traditions

#5 Christmas “Elfs” living in barns – Nisse på Låven (Norwegian Barn Santa)

So, I have put elf in quotation marks above, as there truly is no proper translation for the Norwegian Nisse.

Nisse is used for these creatures, but also for Santa Claus (Julenisse), garden gnomes (Hagenisse) and for Dobby the House Elf from Harry Potter (Husnisse).

Do you see why the translation is a little tricky?

Basically, this particular Nisse is a small manlike creature living on an active farm, usually in the barn. He will hide in the hay, and you will rarely see him.

In English, you may refer to him as a Norwegian barn Santa – but in my personal opinion, using “santa” is a little wrong. But, without a proper translation, I guess it will do.

According to the legends, it is the Fjøsnisse (fjøs = barn) that takes care of the animals on the farm, ensuring that they do not get ill in the winter. As a token of appreciation for this, it is expected that the farmer leaves a bowl of Julegrøt (Christmas porridge) on the steps of his house for the elf to enjoy for Christmas.

It is very important that there is a blob of butter in the middle of the porridge, otherwise, the Nisse could get angry and the animals could get sick for Christmas. I kid you not.

Fun fact: in kindergarten they would take us to a local farm to meet their Nisse, who hid in the hay and jumped around so we could see him. It was absolutely terrifying and I was the only child who ran out of the barn.

#6 Santa himself – Julenissen

The Norwegian Santa Claus is called Julenissen, and he is pretty much similar to most other Santas around the world.

With the exception that we actually get to meet him. And that he doesn’t come down the chimney.

On Christmas Eve, he knocks on the door and enters the house with a sack full of presents. Since there are only a few countries in the world celebrating Christmas on Christmas Eve, he has plenty of time to sit down to relax (and be offered a shot of Aquavit).

Sometimes, the children of the house will sing him a song before he starts pulling presents out of his bag. When he has emptied his bag, he leaves. Through the door.

Still looking for Christmas presents? Don’t miss my guide to unique gifts for travel lovers.

#7 Sheaves of Wheat for the Birds – Julenek

Some of the most common Norwegian Christmas decorations you’ll see in December are sheaves of wheat (or oats) that are hung out in the trees for birds to feast on. The sight of these around the naked trees is definitely something that brings the Christmas spirit in me, and it keeps the birds fed during the cold days of December.

Side note: When celebrating Christmas in Norway, there’s one thing you need; a proper knitted sweater. Here are some of my favourite Scandinavian sweaters.

#8 Norwegian Christmas Food

When celebrating a traditional Norwegian Christmas, you’ll quickly find that the season is all about family, and food. Christmas dinner in Norway is actually quite the heated topic, with over half the nation swearing to a dish called ‘Ribbe’ on Christmas Eve, and the rest having grown up with ‘Pinnekjøtt’.

In my family, we eat the latter, and it is the highlight of the month for many people.

Norwegian Christmas food is an important part of the celebrations, and one of Norway’s Christmas traditions includes arguing with your friends over whether Ribbe or Pinnekjøtt is the best choice of dinner for a proper Norwegian Christmas.

Ribbe, Pinnekjøtt and Lutefisk

Ribbe, is pretty much what it sounds like; ribs of pork. The ribs are roasted to perfection, and ideally, the top layer of it is so crunchy you can hardly chew it. Ribbe is served with potatoes, sausage, sourkraut, sauce and lingonberries.

Pinnekjøtt is a lot harder to explain, but I can tell you that this Norwegian traditional meat is from sheep or goat. The word ‘pinnekjøtt’ literally translates to ‘Stick Meat’, and it is believed that the name derives from the sticks that are used in the making of the meat.

The meat is cured and salted over time and has quite a strong and salty taste. Pinnekjøtt is served with potatoes, mashed kohlrabi (I had to Google the English word for that), and sauce.

A small part of the Norwegian population eat a dish called Lutefisk on Christmas eve. Those that do not, often get together with friends to eat it at some time during December. My parents have an annual “lutefisk night” with their friends, for example.

Lutefisk is an insane seafood dish consisting of dried cod that has been soaked in a solution of lye for days. It is incredibly salty and tastes really intense, and foreign stomachs are not always able to handle it. It is pictured below, during the rehydration process.

My absolute favourite part about the food for Christmas is the dessert. Many families (mine included) will make a really yummy rice pudding out of the porridge eaten earlier (read about it below), and it is basically cold rice porridge mixed with cream and sugar. We then proceed to pour strawberry sauce over it, and it is absolute heaven.

A pan of fish slices. This is a Norwegian traditional Christmas food called lutefisk.

#9 Hiding an almond in the porridge – Mandel i Grøten

As mentioned, rice porridge is often eaten for lunch on Christmas Eve or on Little Christmas Eve. Some people will also have it on Christmas Day, so it is different for everyone. But one thing stays the same: the almond.

The porridge itself is quite simple, and there is no special recipe for it at all. Except for one thing. When the porridge is all done and ready to be served, an almond is hidden in it.

Whoever gets the almond, wins the game, and this is probably the strangest of all Norwegian Christmas games (not that there are that many).

Usually, the winner gets a pig made out of marzipan, and the question can be heard throughout the village as people meet in the days to come; “who got the marzipan pig in your house?”

#10 Marzipan pigs

As I was writing the section above I realised how odd this actually is, and felt like it needed its own mention on the list. For Christmas in Norway, there are a lot of items made out of marzipan, such as Christmas decorations and pigs. I have no idea why the marzipan pig has become such a favoured part of Norway’s Christmas tradition, but here we are. And now you know.

#11 Baking Seven Types of Cookies – Syv Slag

Every November, the people of Norway (especially the older generations, but even some of my friends) start talking about when they are going to start baking “de syv slag”. Meaning “the seven types”, this term refers to the seven types of traditional Christmas cookies that you have to make before Christmas here in Norway.

Apparently this is a Swedish Christmas tradition as well.

The Seven Types have changed through the years, and even though there is an official list, many people just consider baking any seven types of Christmas cookies sufficient. However, traditionally, the types are as follows:

  • Sandkaker (a really dry, cup-shaped cookie)
  • Krumkaker (these traditional Norwegian cookies are really difficult to make, but my friend Silvia has a great Norwegian Krumkake recipe to help you out!)
  • Pepperkaker (gingerbread cookies)
  • Goro (one of the oldest Christmas cookies in Norway, and one that used to be eaten year-round)
  • Fattigmann (small yummy snacks, with a name that translates directly to “poor man”)
  • Berlinerkranser (basically sugar cookies with sugar on top – so yummy)
  • Serinakaker (some people call these Norwegian butter cookies)

#12 The Christmas party – Julebord

I know this isn’t strictly a Norwegian tradition per se, but as you may have gathered from our love for Aquavit, the Christmas Party tradition is an important one in Norway.

The Norwegian Julebord (literally translated to Christmas Table) is heavily focused on food, in addition to the international tradition of getting drunk with your colleagues. So first, everyone will stuff their faces with Ribbe and Pinnekjøtt, before drinking Aquavit until they forget how full they are.

Many of us will also take it to the next level, by arranging Christmas Parties with our friends, in addition to the mandatory one with work. Twice the fun, and twice the Christmas spirit.

Norwegian Christmas chocolate santa
Santa comes in all shapes and forms during the Norwegian Christmas

#13 Sending Christmas Trees Abroad

This is one of my favourite fun facts about Christmas in Norway, and I love sharing it with people who didn’t know. Every year, there is a huge Christmas tree in Trafalgar Square, London.

This tree is donated as a gift from the city of Oslo, and they have sent a tree over from Norway every year since 1947! This is as a thank you for the support Norway got from Britain during World War II.

The tree is decorated in a traditional, Norwegian style, and you can read more about it (and find out when they light it every year) by heading this way.

#14 Hanging Christmas stars in the window

I know I said I wouldn’t get too deep into the Christmas decorations in Norway, but I wanted to share this one particular one. On the first Sunday of advent, Norwegians will hang a lit Christmas star in their window, as a symbol of the “Christmas star” that the three wise men followed in order to find Mary, Joseph and Jesus after he was born.

The Christmas stars are usually large and electrically lit (we turn them off when we go do bed, of course), and it is so beautiful to see all the stars when you are out walking at night. Considering how early it gets dark in Norway in December (in the afternoon), it is a warming sight.

#15 Cloves and oranges

This is technically an Advent calendar, and could have been included further up on the list. But, when I shared this on my Instagram recently, I got so many questions about it I decided it deserved its own spot. In short, you make your own little calendar with an orange and 24 cloves (like these).

You put the 24 cloves into random places on the orange, and pull one out daily as a countdown to Christmas Eve. You usually hang these in the window with red string, and it is not only a cute decoration, but it also makes the room smell so nice and “Christmassy”.

Your questions about Christmas in Norway – answered! [FAQ]

Since I do get a question or two about what it’s like to celebrate Christmas in Norway, I thought I’d answer most of them here. Starting with the most important one, of course.

How do you say Merry Christmas in Norwegian?

Merry Christmas in Norway is ‘God Jul’. Jul is, as we’ve covered above, Christmas, and ‘God’ isn’t the man upstairs, but ‘Good’. So you’re actually saying Good Christmas.

If you are wondering how to pronounce God Jul, here is my best attempt at spelling it out phonetically (which Intrepid Guide can tell you that I’m not great at, after our Norwegian phrases and how to pronounce them collaboration).

“Gooh yoohl”

When is Christmas Eve?

Christmas Eve is on the 24th of December, same as in every other country. Many Norwegian will actually call Christmas Day “their Christmas Eve” when talking about how they celebrate Christmas on Christmas day in other countries. This is technically incorrect, as we also call the 25th of December Christmas Day. In addition to the 23rd, which we call Little Christmas Eve, the following days are dubbed the 1st, 2nd and 3rd Day of Christmas, and so on. In short, Norwegian uses the same terminology when it comes to Christmas, with the exception of the added Little Christmas Eve.

Why do Norway, Denmark and Sweden celebrate Christmas on the 24th of December?

That’s a great question, and actually, one I had to Google. There are many Norwegian traditions I never would have guessed how got started, and this was no exception.

Basically, it is widely known that Jesus was born on the 25th of December. Or at least this is what was decided around year 300. Traditionally, in Scandinavia, a new day starts at sundown, and not at midnight, which is the general rule today. So, the day of Jesus’ birth has been celebrated since sundown on the 24th, which in Norway in December is quite early, depending on how far north you live.

What is the most popular Norwegian Christmas movie?

It is the Czech movie Three Wishes for Cinderella (Tři oříšky pro Popelku) from 1973.

What are some fun facts about Christmas in Norway?

We celebrate Christmas on Christmas Eve. Norwegian kids actually get to meet Santa. We eat porridge with an almond hidden in it.

Do Norwegians give gifts on Christmas?

Yes, Norwegians give gifts in the evening on Christmas Eve.

Do Norwegians hang stockings at Christmas?

Yes, they do.

What food is eaten on Christmas in Norway?

Pinnekjøtt (lamb), Lutefisk (cod) and Ribbe (pork) are all traditional Norwegian Christmas dishes.

How does Norway celebrate Christmas?

Norway celebrates Christmas on Christmas Eve, as opposed to many other countries. They celebrate with family, by eating a grand meal together and opening presents.

When does Santa come in Norway?

The Norwegian Santa visits in the evening on Christmas Eve, and brings presents that he hands out to the children and families. He does not climb through the chimney.

When do Norwegians celebrate Christmas?

Norwegians celebrate Christmas on Christmas Eve.

What do they call Christmas in Norway?

Christmas in Norwegian is “jul”.

So, how do Norwegians celebrate Christmas?

I thought I would elaborate a little more on my perfect Christmas Eve if I get my way (meaning I convince my sisters to both bring the kids home to the fjords for Christmas and make sure nobody leaves until after New Year). If you have made it this far in the post, thank you!

As mentioned above, I usually wake up early with my nieces on Christmas Eve. We all head to the living room, where Santa has visited over night and left us stockings filled with sweets and a comic.

My go-to comic when I was little was WITCH, whilst now it’s Nemi. We start devouring these while waiting for everyone to wake up, and wait excitedly for Czech Cinderella to start at 11.

At some point we eat breakfast, and by the time Cinderella starts, pretty much the whole family is awake. After Cinderella is finished, it’s lunch time, which means rice porridge with an almond in it! Since I’m allergic to marzipan, the winner in my family doesn’t actually get an almond, but a Santa made out of chocolate. I know, I ruin it for everyone.

After lunch, my mum and I get ready for church, whilst my father starts cooking, which is a long process. My sisters, brother, nieces and nephew relax, read, eat their sweets and simply enjoy the spirit of Christmas. And drink beer. My mum and I are the only ones who go to church on Christmas Eve, which is at 4 pm every year. The church of Norway is Lutheran, in case anyone wondered.

At 5 pm, when church is over, the bells toll and we say that they are ‘ringing Christmas in’. At 5 pm, it is officially Christmas Eve, and when we get home, the whole house smells of Pinnekjøtt.

We enjoy dinner and a few shots of Aquavit, and the kids quickly start nagging about opening their presents. We make them wait a little, before we cave and all gather around the tree. At some point during the opening of the presents, Julenissen arrives, and we sing him a song and open the presents he bought.

The day usually ends at around 1 am, with everyone too exhausted to keep going. It is the absolute best time of year, and I can’t wait for it to come around again soon!

Read next: The perfect itineraries for 10 days in Norway!

Visiting Norway in the winter?

Many people opt to visit Northern Norway in the winter, with amazing destinations such as Tromsø and Alta offering truly bucket-list experiences. Even during Christmas.

From northern lights tours out of Tromsø to dog sledding in Alta – visiting Norway in the winter is a must!

Read next: How to take photos of the Northern Lights with a GoPro!

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