Sometime between mid-November and mid-December (most commonly the last week of November and the first week of December), most Norwegians will start to decorate their homes for Christmas. Decorating homes for Christmas is a big tradition for Norwegian families. I am sure you have started seeing all sorts of Christmas decorations out in the various stores from late October. Besides store-bought decorations, many Norwegian families also like to make their own Christmas decorations.
Common changes in the Norwegian homes include:
Lightings and Lamps
If you take a look around the Norwegian homes around you, you are bound to see lighted stars, candles in a candelabra (usually 7 of them) or other lamps in the windows of the homes.
Outside the homes, it isn’t a common tradition here in Norway to have coloured lights on the houses and if they do, white lights are usually preferred (of course there are exceptions). Instead of draping lights around the houses, lights are more commonly placed around fir or spruce trees (or any appropriate bush in the garden).
Door and Entrance Decorations
Santa Clauses, elves, trolls, candles in festive holders and wreaths may decorate the entrances and/or doors of Norwegian homes. This is especially so if that particular family is expecting guests that day. In places where there is plenty of snow, you might even see a snowball pyramid with a tealight candle inside or a snowman to welcome guests!
Dining Rooms and Kitchens
Cheery and Christmasy rugs, tablecloths and runners will make an appearance, as will festive plates, bowls, cups, glasses and serviettes.
Some families will change the towels, rugs and even toilet paper in the bathrooms with those with Christmas motives.
Some families have curtains for different occasions and events and Christmas is no exception.
Table and Wall Decorations
Candy bowls, Christmas cookie jars and gingerbread houses will appear, much to the children’s delight.
Candles are extremely popular in Norwegian homes and you will see all sorts of candles in use. You will find them on coffee tables, window sills, dining tables, kitchens, bathrooms, living rooms and on the walls.
Different flowers and plants will be used to decorate Norwegian homes during the Christmas season. Florists and nurseries will have a large stockpile of poinsettias, amaryllis, asalea and other popular flowers and plants.
Bedspreads and Cushion Covers
Even the bedrooms are not spared the festive mood – many families will also change the bedspreads and cushion covers in the bedrooms.
Stockings and Christmas cards
Christmas photo cards are extremely popular here in Norway. Called julekort, these cards consists of Christmas motives, photos of the family (usually the children) and a Christmas greeting. Families who receive these cards will usually display these on a stocking line, the front of a refrigerator or other places.
Some families might even display Norwegian flags outside their homes.
Traditionally speaking, the 23rd of December is when Norwegians decorate the Christmas tree. Real Christmas trees are generally preferred – they also keep the home smelling fresh.
However, one can already start buying Christmas trees from November around town, on farms and even on boats! Some families also make a tradition out of choosing and chopping down their own tree from the farm.
Decorating the Christmas tree is a family affair where both the old and young are involved. Hot chocolate, Christmas cookies and Christmas drinks are served while the tree gets decorated.
Besides store-bought decorations, hand-made decorations (by adults and children), pepperkaker(gingerbread) and usually also a string of little Norwegian flags will be hung on the tree. As mentioned, white lights are usually preferred for draping around the tree.
All of the above changes in Norwegian homes make for a very warm and cosy feeling when one enters the home. If you are new to Norway and are spending Christmas here, you might want to decorate your homes as Norwegians do and bring some of that Christmas spirit and cheer into your home!