Christmas in Scandinavia is clearly associated with a romantic and traditional Christmas for many people. We have once looked for you, what in Norway are maintained traditions and customs around Christmas.

Where does Santa Claus live? According to the Finns, he lives in Lapland on the mountain Korvatunturi or in the village Rovaniemi. Definitely in Finland ... For the Danes, he certainly lives in their northernmost province, Greenland. "No," say the Swedes. He lives and works in the Swedish province of Dalarna, not far from the village of Mora.

And the Norwegians? They agree only on the point that the Nisser - the Norwegian Santa Claus - certainly lives in Norway. But where exactly - this is also the case of the ghosts: It is not clear whether he lives in the Telemark in the Nissedal, in Drøbak, Røros, Spitsbergen or Egersund.

But at least it is agreed across national borders that Santa Claus lives with his assistants in the north, somewhere in Scandinavia. And this festival has a correspondingly high significance in the north of Europe ...

Christmas in Norway - a Christmas fairytale

An idyll like not of this world ...

Fresh powder snow in the endless forests, reindeer roam through nature, through the windows of the old wooden houses shine countless candles, the heat and light give as the lakes freeze and the sun hardly rises over the horizon. In the long, cold and clear nights, thousands of stars twinkle in the night and in the dim light of the day a very special peace settles over the land at the end of the year .... Kitsch out of a Hollywood duds? No, that's how we experienced the Christmas season in Norway and we can not imagine anything better.

The Christmas time is not limited to just a few days. Obviously it is a special season for the Norwegians with their customs and traditions. As the whole country comes to rest under the winter snowy weather, the sparkling stars, the many candles and the dancing northern lights give the land a magical glow.

Christmas in Scandinavia: farm with the typical jewelry

The "Julefest" ("Christmas" in Norwegian) begins in Norway on December 13 with the Lucia Festival. Everyone celebrates this day in kindergartens and schools. In the morning of this day a choir with candles through the dark rooms, distributed Lucia pastry and sings songs to the feast.

On the 23rd of December it really starts: one celebrates the "little" Christmas Eve. In most Norwegian families, the Christmas tree is cleaned and gingerbread is baked this evening. For a proper pre-Christmas dinner, it's also a good idea to eat the traditional cream ("Risengrynsgrøt") with sugar, cinnamon and some butter. An almond is hidden in the porridge and whoever finds it first wins a marzipan pig!

Many village communities, clubs, companies and families organize a special feast in the days before Christmas, the "Julebord" ("Christmas table") - a particularly appealing buffet. You make yourself smart and meet either in the parish hall, a restaurant or even at home to eat the best and finest delicacies, which brought the year to the people.

We were lucky enough to witness the evening in December in the small village of Elgå, when the locals met for the "Julebord". It was quite uncomplicated for us two chairs placed at a table and we were quickly and warmly received. It was an unforgettable evening and we like to think back to this dreamlike atmosphere.

It is tabulated what the cellar gives (and sometimes we do not even know)

However, the most important day in Norway is also the "July Day" ("Christmas Eve" on 24th December). But how is this celebrated?

On December 24th, Christmas will be ringing at 17.00 hrs from all the church towers in the country. Many Norwegians go to the many small churches in the country to attend the Christmas service and sing traditional Norwegian Christmas carols.

The Christmas Eve ("Julaften") is then often and gladly spent in the closest family circle. In most families there is a traditional Norwegian Christmas dinner. This feast differs in the different regions of the country. Meanwhile, the children barely keep it in their chair, because after the banquet comes the "Julenissen" - the Norwegian Santa Claus ...

Conny with the Norwegian Santa Claus ...

The "Julenissen" is not our Santa Claus, but rather a kind of troll or goblin. He brings gifts for the children on Christmas Eve, accompanied by his helpers. Legend has it that the Norwegian "Julenissen" lives in the stable and at the same time is the protector of the yard over the year. You can find it as a picture on the Norwegian Christmas cards and as a figure in the Christmas decoration.

To soften it up, the children are putting Julenissen bowls with a sour cream porridge, the Rømmegrøt, at the door. They are afraid he will play pranks on them and tease them. In the countryside, the animals on the farm and in the area are considered. The birds of the forest get the "Julenek", a bundle of oats, which is tied to the fence. The cattle in the yard in turn gets a special Christmas food.

After the presentation, one follows an old custom, the "Tour of the Christmas tree". Everyone takes hold of their hands, forming a circle around the tree, walking around it, singing Christmas carols. A very emotional moment that often closes the evening.

Not only at the "Julaften" is served up what basement and chamber give. Throughout Christmas, many regional delicacies are feasted on. To meet you often and like to socialize. But which specialties make the perfect meal during the Christmas season and on the holy evening in Norway?

Typical Norwegian Christmas dishes are in most regions of Norway Svineribbe (ribs), Pinnekjøtt (cured lamb rib) or occasionally also fish dishes (cod, cod). From November, there is also the "Lutefisk" to buy in the country, especially in the north of Norway. This is dried fish that has been put into a special lye for a long time. It is often served with mashed potatoes and aquavit, which you also urgently need ...

From reindeer tongue to Lutefisk, there are only delicacies during the Christmas season

For dessert, there is a special Christmas cake ("julekake") with raisins, nuts and cardamom. Adults like to drink Norwegian Christmas beer ("Juleøl") and, of course, a rich aperitif after meals ("Akevitt"). For the children there is a sweet red lemonade ("Julebrus") during the Christmas season.

In the pre-Christmas period, the houses are decorated with gnomes, angels, hearts, cones, stars, a nativity scene or a gingerbread house. In the gardens and on the farms trees and bushes are plastered with fairy lights.

Mostly natural materials are used for the Christmas decoration. Very popular among many Norwegians is a poinsettia in a rustic wooden box. This is decorated with twigs, dried moss and pieces of bark.

Meanwhile, in Norway, the Christmas tree has prevailed. For this trees are often used, which you like to beat in the countryside. The tree decoration is often made by the children and adults themselves. One decorates the Christmas tree in Norway with many lights, tinsel and long chains with small Norwegian paper flags.

The Christmas season in Norway lasts until the 6th of January, the day of the "Three Magi". In some regions, even until the 13th of January, the day of the "Holy Knut" is celebrated.

In any case, we can recommend you to spend the pre-Christmas period or even Christmas in the winter wonderland. Many impressive Christmas markets, especially in the east of the country (for example in Lillehammer), invite the visitors. An overview of the most beautiful Norwegian Christmas markets can be found here on the German->

And if you want to send your personal wish list to Santa Claus, please use the official address in Norway: Julenissens Postkontor, Torget 4, 1440 Drøbak, Norway

Now that's clear and obvious, where Santa Claus lives in Scandinavia ... Or? In any case we say: "MERRY CHRISTMAS" or completely true to style:


If you want to make yourself comfortable with a really heartwarming Christmas story from Norway, then why not read in our Christmas fairy tale how three Nisser have saved Christmas for Wigand ...

Conny and Sirko

"Yes, we love this country ..." - that's the beginning of the Norwegian national anthem, and yes, we too - Conny Sirko - love this country, its inhabitants, the magnificent scenery, the peace and tranquility that we enjoy there and throughout Scandinavia Find. We've been touring the North more than 20 times - at different times, in many regions and in all variations. The idea for this homepage came to us last year, because then we have the opportunity to write the permanent wanderlust to the north of the soul and hopefully inspire you for it. So: heading north!


  • Hi,
    I have read with pleasure your beautiful article. I've been to Norge 6 times so far and call it my second home. However, the last time I drove there about 20 years ago. Christmas 🎄 there is now on my wish list, right at the top, thanks to your article. Please keep writing 😊.

    Many greetings

    • Hello Ingo, thank you for your nice feedback. We were very happy about it - but much more, that we could give you some inspiration and the motivation to travel in winter. We are now in such a way that we especially in winter and before Christmas, the quiet and snowy Norway with the many lights in the windows miss the most - especially here in the hustle and bustle in Germany and the often gray weather ... We wish you a Merry Christmas and send greetings, Conny and Sirko

  • Hello you two! A good friend today sent me a link to this post and I read it with enthusiasm. I live for almost 15 years in Norway and can only confirm that the Christmas season is something special. What I think is great: it takes time to get into the shops the Christmas items. There are no santa clauses here in September ... 😉 You will not be artificially added, too early. In contrast, the Advent season is actually lived out excessively.
    Already at the end of November we start with 'Julebord'. The companies, clubs, etc ... organize a lot. Here, as well as at (or before) other festivities, the 'foreplay' has become established. In fact, the German word was literally 'eingenorwegischt'. What do you think I looked like when I invited colleagues to audition for my first July in Norway .... 😀
    During foreplay, friends / colleagues meet up at someone's home to pre-heat (since in Norway the alcohol is so expensive, one approves just before the actual ceremony already one or the other drink). If possible, some also meet afterwards for 'aftermath'.
    Unfortunately, I have never met any families and children who are making the Christmas decorations themselves. 😉 But really much is decorated - very much. If you drive through the streets here at Christmas time, even in the most remote corners, it shines and glitters and shines.
    Incidentally, there is also an official julie address in Tynset. 😉
    A nice tradition at Christmas time are also the 'Pepperkakebyer' = gingerbread towns. These have traditionally been around for some time, eg in Bergen. But even in our small village in the 'Pampa' in Nordland, this has become established. A club provides a locality for this purpose and if you want, you can, for a small fee, have your own Pepperkakehus exhibited there. The proceeds go to a charitable cause, and so do these gingerbread house towns. 🙂

    So, I'll continue reading through your great blog.
    And if you find yourself on your travels to the Nordland, you are welcome to a coffee or a glass of Gløgg! 🙂

    • Dear Jeannette, thank you very much for your kind feedback and, above all, your detailed descriptions of the pre-Christmas experiences in Norway. It is always very exciting and entertaining to experience these experiences first-hand. You describe that sooooo wonderful, that we would very much like to publish a contribution from you .... 😉 What we would like to add to your descriptions - as (conditionally) objective and neutral observers: One or another Norwegian specialty during the Christmas season seems to exist in this form only to provide an apt explanation for the enjoyment of abundant Aquavit ... When we did not really sprinkle with the Lutefisk on our first Juelbord, Aquavit was ready to "rinse" immediately and the locals had a reason to toast again .... 🙂 🙂 It was lovely !!
      Thank you also for the very nice invitation, which we certainly like to use sometime when we are traveling nearby. We love to get to know the "real" people behind the virtual profiles and names here on the net. But now we wish you a Merry Christmas and send warm regards to the North, Conny and Sirko

  • Hello you two,

    I stumbled upon your blog article in my research "What am I doing this Christmas?" and am thrilled. Norway is great. But I have not come to the idea of ​​celebrating Christmas there yet. It's really like in a Hollywood fairy tale. Snow seems guaranteed and you can relax. The report was really nice to read.

    • Hello Inge,

      Thanks for the nice feedback. We were very happy about it. Indeed, spending Christmas in the north has a very special charm. It feels very close to Santa Claus and often has the impression of being in another world and time. And then when the reindeer in front of the log cabin through the forest, then you are in the winter wonderland .... 🙂 If you are actually planning a tour to Scandinavia and have any questions, feel free to contact us at any time. We wish you a Merry Christmas and send best regards, Conny and Sirko

  • We, my friend and I, were in Norway for the first time from October 21 until November 9.
    First a few days in Oslo, then 3 days in Bergen then with the Trollfjord the Hurtigrute and spent at least 3 days in Trondheim spent!
    I think Norway is so gorgeous!
    We will definitely come to Norway again at other seasons!
    And to experience Christmas in Norway is a dream!

    • Hello, we can diagnose that the Norway virus has evidently hit you as well ... Believe us - this is getting worse and worse from visit to visit and the wanderlust to the north is hardly curable at some point. Your first tour was / is also a great compilation. But there are countless other wonderful places in Norway that want to be discovered. And in winter Norway is no less enchanting than in the midnight sun. We hope that you can get lots of suggestions / inspirations here. We are happy to help you with the individual planning - Mail is enough ... A nice pre-Christmas time and best regards, Conny and Sirko

  • I like the north. Spending Christmas in Scandinavia is definitely on my wish list. After reading the post, I have now only more desire for it! Thanks a lot for this! LG, Carina

    • Dear Carina, thank you for your dear lines. We can only recommend that you realize your dream. You will not regret it, because it is an incredible experience. We wish you a Merry Christmas and greet you dearly, Conny and Sirko

    • Thank you, also a wonderful Christmas time! Best regards, Carina 🙂


Our newsletter informs you monthly about new contributions:

We currently read:

"The Circle of All Sins" Thrilling thriller by the Norwegian Torkil Damhaug

(* Affiliate Link / more about this in the imprint )

We are currently listening:

"Heartbreak Century (Deluxe Gold Edition)" Sunrise Avenue - Sound from Finland ...

(* Affiliate Link / more about this in the imprint )

Our specialist for photographic equipment:

(* Affiliate Link / more about this in the imprint )

We are a member of the Norwegian hiking and tourist association DNT

We are signatories of the Outdoor Blogger Code

We are PRO AUTHOR of the Northern Europe magazine NORDIS

Don`t copy text!