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Christmas traditions in Norway

Christmas in Oslo. Photo by Rita de Lange, Fjord Travel Norway

Christmas celebration in Norway

The main Christmas celebration is on Christmas eve; the evening of December 24.

Christmas at Dr Holm's hotel. Photo credit by Dr Holm's hotel

Christmas at Dr Holm’s

Christmas traditions in Norway:
People in Norway normally celebrate Christmas eve with their close family and relatives, gathering for the Christmas dinner. Walk around the Christmas tree after dinner is an old tradition in Norway, still alive, particularly among families with children.

Christmas presents from close family members and close friends are common among the Norwegians; the presents will normally be stored under the Christmas tree and then after dinner and the walk around the Christmas tree, they will be opened.
A visit from Santa Claus (father or family member) on Christmas eve is also quite common among families with children.

Christmas meal at Geilo. Photo by Dr Holm's hotel

Christmas meal at Geilo

Christmas meals in Norway:
The Christmas dinner on Christmas eve is the main Christmas meal, usually served between 5 and 8 pm. The meal traditions vary according to the geography of Norway, although the traditions are spreading throughout the country.
In the eastern parts of Norway and mid Norway they normally eat crisp ribs of pork (called Ribbe in Norwegian) as the main course, while the western parts of Norway prefer dried ribs of mutton (called Pinnekjott), with potatoes and mashed kohlrabi (German turnip). In the northern parts of Norway they eat Pinnekjott as well, while some stick to the old tradition with Arctic cod.

Christmas holidays in Norway:
December 25 & 26 are public holidays. The shops are closed, but some restaurants stay open.

Read more about Christmas in Norway, tours & cruises