Christmas For Members

Six ways to tell if you should spend Christmas in Norway

Frazer Norwell
Frazer Norwell - [email protected]
Six ways to tell if you should spend Christmas in Norway
There are a number of ways you can tell whether Christmas in Norway is for you or not. Pictured are Christmas lights in Bergen. Photo by Dana Andreea Gheorghe on Unsplash

Is the prospect of a white Christmas worth stomaching lutefisk? Do you mind celebrating on Christmas Eve rather than Christmas Day? There are a number of questions you must ask yourself before deciding whether Christmas in Norway is for you.


Do you prefer a short and sweet Christmas or a long festive celebration? 

Are you the sort of person who shifts into Christmas mode the moment the last of the Halloween decorations are shifted, or do you only really start getting in the festive mood much closer to the day? 

While Christmas starts earlier and earlier in every country, Norway has celebrated a long festive period for centuries. 

Christmas in Norway begins on the first Sunday of Advent. The first Sunday of Advent is on December 3rd this year. The Christmas season in Norway will last for 42 days, or until January 13th. 

You'll also be able to keep your Christmas decorations up longer than in other countries. Some decorations like advent stars and wreathes may survive into February in some homes. 

You're okay with the food

Out of all the Scandinavian countries, perhaps Denmark can boast the best Christmas meal, as duck is the most typical. 

Unfortunately, in Norway, there are several different options, varying in palatability. Whilst Turkey may have its own problems (incredibly dry), Norway's most infamous Christmas meal is lutefisk. 

Lutefisk can be best described as a dried white fish with a gelatinous texture that has been cured in lye and rehydrated. Fortunately, not many people choose this as their Christmas meal, and the sides are more appetising. 

Ribbe (Pork ribs) and Pinnekjøott (smoked lamb ribs) are more common and appealing. 

If you are hosting Christmas at your house and don't fancy Norwegian food, then the good news is that you will be able to find Turkey in Norway around Christmas time. 


Other popular Christmas foods with plenty of appeal are rice pudding (eaten for breakfast on Christmas morning), Christmas soda, Christmas beer and the endless variety of Christmas cookies and cakes. 

You don't mind the dark… or the cold

Most places in Norway are guaranteed the picturesque white Christmas many dream of elsewhere. This comes with a couple of catches, though. The first is that for there to be snow, it obviously has to be cold. Idyllic mountain settings will see temperatures as low as -25c. 

The cities will fare much better, but temperatures will drop into the minuses in most places. 

Christmas Eve is also two days after the shortest day of the year, meaning that most places will only get a few hours of the afternoon to enjoy seeing a white Christmas in the light. Those further north may not even get those few hours at all. 


You enjoy the preparation as much as the main event 

As things stand, you should already be prepared if you will spend most of the Christmas period in Norway

Firstly is the advent calendars in Norway. Many with small children give them small gifts as part of a large advent calendar rather than the chocolate calendars common in other countries. 

Preparing 24 small gifts before the actual Christmas gifts you'll be buying requires some preparation and planning. Then there are the days you'll need to set aside for arts and crafts and baking Christmas cookies.

Then there will be the nights when you'll be making glögg (mulled wine) for friends and family. Then, there are all the different Christmas arrangements your kids will be participating in or invited to. 

If all this sounds overwhelming, it may be worth fleeing the country until the dust settles. 

You're able to switch off from work 

Many say the true point of Christmas is to be able to switch off and spend time with your family. Thankfully, this is completely possible in Norway. You can expect the country to come grinding to a halt during Christmas, and many look forward to that. 


You can expect emails and phone calls to remain unanswered and the lids of work laptops to remain firmly closed. All urgent matters will need to be dealt with before or after the Christmas holidays rather than during. 

You can manage with different traditions 

Every country has its own unique traditions, and one of the biggest factors that will affect how much you'll get out of Christmas in Norway is how much you enjoy embracing new traditions

For starters, the main day of celebration is December 24th and not December 25th. 

Then, there is the fact that the presents are done in the evening rather than in the morning. 

What people watch on TV differs, too. The most popular viewing during Christmas is a Norwegian dub of a Czech telling of cinderella

Then, there are other games and traditions, such as trying to find an almond in your porridge. 

However, if you prefer to celebrate Christmas "your way", these differences may not be as fun and interesting. 


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