Christmas in Norway

How do I wish someone there a Happy Christmas?

  • God jul!

When do they give presents?

  • Christmas Eve

Who brings the presents?

  • Julenissen (Santa Claus) or gnome-like creatures called nisse.

What’s on the menu?

  • Common dishes include pork ribs, steamed cured lamb or lutefisk – a type of baked fish.

Any other traditions I should know about?

  • Christmas crafts are a big deal in Norway. In the weeks before the big day, many people will go to workshops to create their own decorations and gifts.
  • Norwegians do a lot of festive baking – including seven sorts of sweet treats. These include gingerbread, waffles, cakes and doughnut-style rings.
  • December 23 is known as ‘Lille Julaften’ or Little Christmas Eve. This is when families decorate the tree, make a gingerbread house and eat a hot rice pudding. A bowl is often left out for the fjøsnisse, a mischievous being who could bring bad luck.
  • Between Christmas and New Year, costumed singers go from door to door singing carols in exchange for sweets.