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CHRISTMAS

Norwegians to decrease Christmas spending

Norwegians will spend 17 percent less on Christmas this year than last, according to a survery conducted for Sparebank 1.

Norwegians to decrease Christmas spending
Christmas shopping in Oslo. Photo: NTB Scanpix
“The decline surprises me and stands in sharp contrast to the estimates of growth in Christmas shopping this year. Many are experiencing uncertainty over their jobs and incomes and will therefore hold back a bit on spending,” Sparebank 1 economist Magne Gundersen said. 
 
According to the survey, conducted by Respons Analyse, people will on average spend an extra 6,360 kroner on Christmas this year, compared to 7,685 kroner last year. 
 
When asked what will affect this year’s Christmas spending, 19 percent of respondents said that they think Christmas consumption will be affected negatively by the economic situation in Norway. 
 
Industry organization Finance Norway’s fourth quarter expectation barometer shows that faith in the Norwegian economy next year is at the lowest level ever registered.
 
“We have seen it before and see signs of the same now: When uncertainty for future economic development increases, many choose to drop their spending and would rather save money,” Nordea consumer economist Elin Reitan said. 
 
According to Christmas surveys that TNS Gallup has done for the bank, it is the lowest income groups who plan to cut their Christmas spending the most this year. 
 
Although faith in the Norwegian economy is low, most people are more optimistic when it comes to their personal finances, the surveys from Sparebank 1 and Finance Norway show. 
 
And consumer economist Silje Sandmæl from DNB predicts that many people will go over their set budgets when Christmas shopping truly begins. 
 
“I think the temptations will win out over reason when it comes to the year’s Christmas spending. There are many indications that we will end up spending more than we say we will,” said Sandmæl. 

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CHRISTMAS

Could Christmas in Norway be affected by new Covid-19 measures?

Norway’s government has in the last two days announced tightened rules relating to Covid-19 isolation and face masks. Prime Minister Jonas Gahr Støre sought to reassure the public over plans for the Christmas holidays.

Norway's PM Jonas Gahr Støre expects the country's residents to be able to celebrate Christmas normally but cannot rule out new Covid-19 measures before December 24th.
Norway's PM Jonas Gahr Støre expects the country's residents to be able to celebrate Christmas normally but cannot rule out new Covid-19 measures before December 24th. Photo by Chad Madden on Unsplash

The government on Tuesday announced new measures relating to quarantine rules for confirmed Covid-19 cases and face mask guidelines.

The measures, which are being introduced in response to increasing infection numbers, include more stringent isolation rules, face mask recommendations and a push to vaccinate over 65s with booster jabs as soon as possible.

“On one side, we must avoid full hospitals and strain on the health system. On the other side we must live as normally as possible. We must keep finding the right balance in the measures,” Prime Minister Jonas Gahr Støre said in a statement.

Tighter quarantine rules for suspected cases with the new Omicron variant were meanwhile launched on Monday. People who test positive for or are believed to be infected with the Omicron variant will need to isolate for longer than others with the virus.

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In comments during a briefing to press on Tuesday, Støre sought to reassure the public over plans to spend Christmas with loved ones.

“The measures we have introduced are settings that make it possible to celebrate a good Christmas while keeping in mind what you can do with your loved ones,” the PM said in comments reported by newspaper VG.

“We can plan to be with our families at Christmas,” he added.

Last year saw Christmas in Norway significantly impacted by restrictions on the number of people who could meet and mixing between households.

Such far-reaching restrictions are not expected in 2021. Støre did not however rule out additional measures being introduced before December 24th.

“What we have presented today is based on the knowledge we already have,” he said.

“It is the total restrictions that count. If we are in the same situation (as now) when we get to December 24th, you can celebrate Christmas normally,” Støre said, but noted the virus would be present throughout the winter.

The aim of any measures is to keep the pandemic under control throughout the winter, he added.

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