Gathering around the Yule log is a family tradition that originated in Norway.

Norwegian Christmas Family Activities

by Debra Pachucki

Christmastime has a long and rich history in Norway, going back to pagan times. Many of the customs and traditions that Norwegians observe today remain only slightly changed to reflect Christian beliefs and values. In Norway, the Christmas season begins in November, which gives everyone plenty of time to prepare and celebrate this special time of year.

1. Decorating

In Norway, decorating for the Christmas season is a popular family tradition that begins with a good housecleaning. After that, Norwegian families have Christmas Workshops when they get together to make greeting cards and homemade decorations. Homemade candles are a longstanding Christmas decoration in Norwegian homes. Observe this popular custom with the ease and safety of a children’s candle making kit this Christmas. Use the candles to make Advent wreaths -- another common Norwegian Christmas decoration. Don’t forget to hang an Advent calendar on the wall so kids can count down the days until Christmas.

2. Baking

Baking is a beloved Christmastime activity in Norway. Norwegian families try to have all of the cookies and breads made by December 21, which is St. Thomas’ Day. The favorite Christmas bread is made with raisins and candied fruit. Gingerbread is also another popular Christmas treat in Norway. Simplify this beloved family activity with box mix, and let kids ice the cooled gingerbread. Or, instead of bread, make gingerbread cookies in festive shapes, just like the traditional Norwegian Christmas cookies called "seven sorts."

3. Niesse Parties

During the Christmas season, Norwegian children enjoy a special celebration called a Niesse party. The children dress up like niesse -- Christmas elves -- and paint their faces with freckles and rosy cheeks. Children dance around the Christmas tree as they await a visit from Santa Claus, who has a sack full of treats and snacks for the kids. Make the Christmas season extra special for kid with your own Niesse party in the family room.

4. Julebukk

Julebukk is a Norwegian children’s tradition that takes place just after Christmas. It is similar to Halloween in that children go door-to-door, dressed in costume. Kids sing carols to the residents inside. Dress the kids up and take them to friends’ and family’s homes for a special activity in the week between Christmas and New Year’s Eve. Just let everyone know you’re stopping by ahead of time.

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About the Author

Debra Pachucki has been writing in the journalistic, scholastic and educational sectors since 2003. Pachucki holds a Bachelor's degree in education and currently teaches in New Jersey. She has worked professionally with children of all ages and is pursuing a second Masters degree in education from Monmouth University.

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