10 Interesting Facts and Customs About Christmas in Norway

Christmas is a time for traditions and celebrations all around the world. While some traditions such as snowy landscapes, Santa’s sleigh, and gift-giving are common across countries, others are unique to certain regions, such as Norway. This Scandinavian country has its own set of customs and traditions that make its Christmas celebrations truly special. Here are ten interesting facts about Christmas in Norway:

1. In 2011, the country ran out of butter due to a shortage of milk production during the summer, causing an infamous “Norwegian Butter Crisis” that made international news.

2. Every Christmas Eve at 11 AM, the state channel airs a classic East German/Czechoslovakian film called “Three Wishes for Cinderella” from 1973. Norway even contributed 80,000 Euros to digitally restore the film.

3. As a token of gratitude after British support during WWII, Oslo gifts a Christmas tree to London each year.

4. Various brands of Julebrus, a Christmas soda, are sold by different breweries. Over 20 brands are available, and people have strong opinions on which one is the best.

5. Julebukking is an old Christmas tradition where people dress up as elves or Santas, sing carols, and receive candy in return, similar to modern-day Halloween trick-or-treating.

6. Norwegians have a televised advent calendar, with one of the most popular shows being a spoof of a reality TV show called “Santa’s in the Barn.”

7. The most-watched Norwegian movie of all time is a stop-motion classic called “Pinchcliffe Grand Prix,” which is often shown during the holidays.

8. Bergen is home to the world’s largest gingerbread cake town display, a beloved Christmas tradition.

9. According to a 2011 study, the most sold frozen pizza in the country is also the most popular food on Christmas Eve, often eaten during lunch while families prepare for the main Christmas dinner.

10. Norway has a mix of both typical Western Christmas traditions and its own unique customs, making it a fascinating and special place to celebrate the holiday season.

It can take up to seven hours in the oven to achieve the perfect results when cooking lamb ribs. In 2016, a camera was placed in the oven to live broadcast the cooking process, which was a tremendous success. Over 600,000 Norwegians watched the broadcast, which is a significant number considering the country’s small population. For comparison, the most popular TV programs in Norway usually have around 1.1 million viewers. Norwegians hold their traditions dearly, and we hope this article has provided some intriguing insights into this unique and charming northern European country. Finally, we wish you a Merry Christmas, or as it is said in Norway, “God Jul!”


1. What are some traditional Norwegian Christmas foods?

One of the most popular Christmas foods in Norway is “ribbe,” which is roasted pork belly served with crackling. Other traditional dishes include “pinnekjøtt,” which is salted and dried lamb ribs, and “lutefisk,” which is dried cod that has been soaked in lye. Christmas cookies such as “pepperkaker” and “kransekake” are also a must-have during the holiday season.

2. What is the significance of the Christmas tree in Norway?

The Christmas tree is a beloved holiday tradition in Norway, with many families choosing to decorate their homes with a tree in the weeks leading up to Christmas. The tradition is said to have originated in Germany, but it quickly spread to other parts of Europe. In Norway, the tree is often decorated with candles, lights, and ornaments, and it serves as a symbol of hope and light during the darkest time of the year.

3. What are some popular Norwegian Christmas traditions?

One popular Christmas tradition in Norway is the lighting of the Advent candles. Norwegians typically light one candle each Sunday in the weeks leading up to Christmas, with the last candle being lit on Christmas Eve. Other traditions include the baking of Christmas cookies, the making of Christmas crafts such as paper chain decorations, and the singing of Christmas carols.

4. How do Norwegians celebrate Christmas Eve?

Christmas Eve is the main day of celebration in Norway, with families gathering together for a festive meal and gift exchange. Many people attend church services on Christmas Eve, and it is a time for reflection and gratitude. In some parts of Norway, it is traditional to leave a bowl of porridge out for the “nisse,” a mischievous elf-like creature who is said to bring good luck and protect the household.

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