Christmas Tree and Food Traditions in Norway

Norwegian’s celebration starts Christmas Eve at 6PM with a feast, a walk around the tree and presents opening. Let me share in a nutshell:

Most everyone has either a spruce or a pine tree in their living room – decorated with white lights, tinsel, Norwegian flags and other ornaments for Christmas. As a child and with my children of course, we made paper baskets of shiny, colored paper. Click the pic to see some from decades back!

Norway Christmas Tree

The baskets can be filled with candy or nuts. Chains made of colored paper are also very popular. Christmas trees became common in Norway from around 1900 and I guess you know it’s originally from Germany. Before presents are opened, we “circle the Christmas tree”; all the family holds hands to form a ring around the tree, and walk around the tree singing carols. It was fun but hard when I was a child, only to see all the presents – however the adults knew we would be far to busy after opening them :-)

I often post about food, so let me share some of what Norwegians eat at Christmas Eve too:

Christmas food traditions vary from district to district. Coastal traditions are different from those found inland and the traditions of Eastern Norway are different from those of Western Norway. Years ago, diets reflected locally available foods and the resources and bounty of nature. I have tried them all (click all pics to enlarge and enjoy!):

Lutefisk Norwegian Yule dish
In the coastal districts and in North Norway, the traditional Christmas dinner naturally consists of Lutefisk, cod or halibut. Read my post about how to make and eat Lutefish here!

Norwegian Christmas Day Smorgasbord #3
In Eastern Norway Pork RibsRibbe – pork patties, Christmas sausage and spiced cabbage.

Norwegian salted lamb's ribs
Western Norway supplies with delicious mutton, so what is more natural than Salted Lamb’s RibsPinnekjøtt – with mashed rutabaga and I like Brusselssprouts and cranberry jam. Read my post about how to make and eat it here!

On Christmas Days (both the 25th and 26th of December are holidays in Norway), the family feast gatherings go on and we all are invited to my parents for home made Christmas food Mom have made. You’re welcome to join us by clicking my post from two years back: Norwegian Christmas Day Smorgasbord.

So from all of me, to all of you: Merry Christmas – or God Jul, as we say it in Norway!