Christmas has always been a big deal for me- I love this season and how ‘koselig’ (cozy) it makes everything feel. It might have something to do with the darker days and colder nights- and how we light up the street in beautiful lights. When the first snow falls the dark days turns slightly brighter- and so do we, feeling a sense of relief that the dark days are not so dark any more. I know some of you might be interested in a Nordic Christmas and what we do up here in the north, so I will do my very best to describe it to you.
I’ve been wondering what makes a Nordic Christmas so special- why there is a special interest for it? Is it because we have such a long history with christmas- going all the way back to the vikings and their celebration of yule? Or is it perhaps because the North Pole is basically right above our heads?
Nontheless, I am very excited that this is something I can write about- because it is very close to my heart.
The season starts four sundays away from the 24th of December, which we like to call Advent. This is the time where the countdown to Christmas starts- and we burn four living candles to mark it, one new each sunday. This is the time where we can start re-decorating our appartements for Christmas, but it has to be purple- as its the color of Advent.
This is also the time where the many Christmas markets open up in the streets- the best one being at the Norwegian Folk museum. Being surrounded with old buildings, stave churchs, farm animals gives the most beautiful and welcoming athmosphere.
Natural, delicious drink & food
Each year, I tend to make a big batch of home made mulled wine made of frozen blueberries, raspberries and a bunch of spices. I love mulled wine and if it were up to me I would drink it every day- which is why I make my own, healthy version, so I in fact can drink it every day. This is a recipe I love to make as it’s super easy, delicious and so healthy! It’s not a bad thing that all of my friends love it as well- I’ve given it as a hostess gift many times. You can find the recipe for it here.
As everyone else I love the food that comes with Christmas and with the years I’ve learned to love the natural foods that comes with Christmas. Clementines, nuts and figs are my absolute favorites! Clemetines gives us a decent amount of vitamine C to keep our skin happy and glowing throughout the season and figs is a great source for fibre that will keep our gut healthy and functional. I also love having a bowl of roasted chestnuts in the house- they’re low in calories and absolutely delicious to snack on!
The Nordic countries are big on fish- and pickled herring is one of my all time favorite foods, especially on a good quality rye bread. Loaded with good fats and omega 3 this is one of the best winter foods you can eat- beating the winter depression right off! The same goes for smoked salmon and gravlax as well- they are really a Nordic treat and keeps you full all day long, at least until your next wonderful Christmas meal!
Another thing I simply adore during Christmas is our wonderful breakfast gatherings. This happens during every holiday in Norway and it is simply the best. We set the breakfast table with a bunch of breads, spreads and left over foods from the season.
I’ve gathered some of my own favorite recipes for Christmas;
Darker days, colder nights
As we live so far up north we have pretty short days during this time of year- the sun rises around 09:00/10:00 and settles around 15:00/16:00 depending on where you live. In northern Norway it doesn’t even rise at all during the day- which does sound rather depressing. Even though, we tend to find joy in the small things. If we don’t have light, we create it by lighting up our homes with candles and Christmas lights. We invite friends and family to spend time together indoors, to bake, chat and be merry.
A nordic Christmas is genuinley about traditions, family and friends. Our way of celebrating will never change, even though it might vary slightly in the Nordic regions- we still love to share our traditions.