Life, Oslo

Christmas in Norway – 24 December – Julaften

Never say to me that Christmas in on December 25. In Norway, almost everything happens on the 24th. And even if I only celebrate Christmas in Norway every 2 years, it is and will always be on the 24th for me.

Every 2 years, I spend Christmas in Gjøvik with my Uncle Jens, my aunt Trine, my cousins Inger and Christian and, obviously, my father.

The 24th of December is called Julaften and it’s a very busy day, full of traditions.This year, the weather was nice. I prefer when it snows but this is something that I don’t control! At least, it was a white Christmas anyway.

When we wake up, we take a light breakfast. Better not to eat too much, you will understand why a bit later…

Then, we watch traditional films such as “Tre nøtter til Askepott”, a Czechoslovak/East German variation of the classical Cinderella that has been shown in Norway on Julaften since 1975!

And read a selection of Christmas comics.
For me, it’s also the time to finish wrapping and to iron my dress, which is always wrinkled due to the travel.
At 14:00, it’s time for Julegrøt, my favourite Christmas tradition.
Julegrøt is a rice pudding that is accompanied with butter, sugar and cinnamon.
The tradition is to add an almond in the rice. The person who finds the almond wins a marzipan pig. And the more Julegrøt you eat, the more chances you have to win!
The person who had the almond used to say it as soon as she got it but over the years, we have become trickier and wait until the Julegrøt’s pan is empty before mentioning it!

The prize normally is a marzipan pig from Norway. 

But after a trip to Sweden, my father bought a different pig and since then has been is charge to buy the prize. This year, the marzipan pig came from Nideregger i Lubeck.

I haven’t won for ages. So long in fact that I don’t even remember when was the last time. And I will have to wait 2 more years to try my luck as it’s my cousin Inger who won this year.

Then we have a short time to change our clothes and get ready. For my part, I always wear a black dress, very original!

At 15:00, we go to the Church, Hunn Kirke. We used to drive there but it was always hectic to leave the place so since a few years, we walk. 
It take approximately 15 minutes.

Today, the outside temperature was -12°C. Not super cold, but not super hot either!

At 16:00, the Christmas mass begins. Altought it’s the 2nd mass of the day, it still is pretty packed so we try to arrive early. The mass last about one hour but time goes very fast. The pastor is a very nice guy. Every year, he finds a new angle to tell the story of Jesus and make it even more interesting by painting it! He also makes some jokes that I don’t always get but that seems to be very funny according to the surrounding laughs. There is also a big screen where the lyrics are shown. I like to hear my father pretending singing when actually only me can hear him!

When we come back from the Church, we put the presents under the Christmas tree.

An at 18:00, it’s time to eat again! 
Most of the time, I’m not very hungry but I manage. I learnt to eat early over the years.
We eat a very traditional meal composed of pølser (sausages), kjøtkakker (literally meat cakes) and ribbe (pork ribs) with many different vegetables.
Apparently more and more Norwegian make the choice to eat Pizza Grandiosa, what a shame!!!
For dessert, we normally have multekrem (cloudberry cream) with krumkaker.
At that point, I’m normally about to explode!
It’s then the time to open the presents. Yes, on the 24th and before midnight. I told you that everything happen on that day. 
Before, when my grandfather was still alive, we used to dance and sing around the Christmas tree. I will check my archives to see if I can find a picture.
We don’t anymore.

Nowadays, my uncle distributes the presents and we wait until none is left under the tree. Then, my cousins open their presents first because they have the most.

My aunt keeps a record of who bought what for the future thank you letters and my uncle takes pictures.

I sometimes opened one in between.
This year, among others, I got a pair of cross-country ski boots, the last book of Jo Nesbø signed and a pair of hand-made wool socks.
We also normally receive a visit from Julenisse (Santa Claus). 
This year someone rang at the door. We opened but didn’t see anyone. Julenisse was too busy and unfortunately didn’t have the time to stop but he left a hat and a bag with presents for everybody in the mailbox. My cousin Christian was the courageous one who went to the mailbox and then distributed the presents. 

We all got a scratch card. I won 50 NOK.

After all the presents have been opened, it’s time for cakes again. And my aunt bakes many different types.

It’s also finally the time to relax!

Merry Christmas everyone!

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  • Reply Öyvind December 19, 2016 at 1:23 pm

    Ser at Dere har det bra- trivelig lesning!❤️

    • Reply Cess December 23, 2016 at 2:16 pm

      Tusen takk og God Jul!!!

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