From the end of November, the cities are marked by Christmas and New Year shopping and preparation. In the advent period, you have great opportunities to enjoy the festival.
In the weeks before Christmas it is common that companies, associations and groups of friends have Christmas parties; one before-Christmas party with Christmas dishes. It is crowded in the city on weekends, when restaurants and night spots are replenished by Christmas party guests.
Little Christmas Eve, 23. December
Many families have their own traditions this evening, like decorating the Christmas tree and making gingerbread houses, and many eat rice pudding porridge with sugar, cinnamon and butter. In the porridge they hide an almond, and whoever finds the almond in its portion, wins a Marzipan pig!
Christmas Eve, 24. December
Christmas Eve is the highlight of the Norwegian Christmas celebration. The first part of the day will be used to panic actions of the last Christmas presents or at a quiet moment in the church. At five, the holidays are dialed in, and most people eat Christmas dinner at home or at relatives. The Christmas presents are presented in advance under the Christmas tree and are unpacked in the evening.
It is of course not all of Norway that celebrates Christmas, but the vast majority follow these traditions to a greater or lesser extent. Also many immigrants celebrate Christmas in their own way, with elements of the Norwegian Christmas celebrations. As this is a typical night to stay in, most restaurants and night spots are closed on Christmas Eve, and it is quiet in the streets.
The December days between Christmas Eve and New Year's Eve are often used for being with family. In the days after Christmas Eve, many people go out on the town and there is more life in the cities. From 27 December, shops are open and lots of urgency around to switch Christmas gifts that didn’t suit you.
Food, Drinks and Christmas Sweets
The most widespread Christmas dinner is pork ribs, but also lutefisk, stick meat, boiled cod, ham roast, and Turkey are common dishes. Most fish restaurants and restaurants with Norwegian cuisine serve Christmas specialties in November and December. Many people gladly take a Christmas beer to the food – a darker beer that comes in the shops in November.
The rice pudding porridge is a dish with long traditions; That's what the Santa Claus eats! If it gets mushy, you can make ricecream of the leftovers – served with red sauce, this is a regular dessert after Christmas dinner. In the country, many people put out a bowl of porridge.
The advent time is often served astute, a warm, spicy beverage related to German Glühwein. It usually contains red wine, but is also available in a non-alcoholic variant. Mulled wine, you can taste most of the Christmas markets in Oslo. And if you want something to nibble into, we recommend a gingerbread! Gingerbread is sold and eaten in massive amounts at Christmas. Many parents bake gingerbread with the children, and the most patient makes gingerbread house. Gingerbread house is used first as Christmas decorations, and is eaten when the Christmas season is over.
Christmas is peak season for snacks and sweets. It sold huge amounts of marzipan before Christmas: according to the manufacturer Nidar it is eaten over 40 million marzipan-figures for Christmas – of some 5 million Norwegians. Also, chocolate and nuts are to be found in most living rooms.
Traditional Christmas sweets like roasted almonds and candied apples have become less common at home, but you will find them on some Christmas market in Oslo if you want to try.
Before Christmas we decorate the house with garlands, goblins, angels, hearts, stars, and maybe a nativity scene or a gingerbread house. An increasing number of the houses also embellished with lights and wreaths. It's normal with the Christmas tree in the living room. The tree has a star in the top and is decorated with glitter and other decorations. Head to one of the city's Christmas markets if you want to buy traditional Norwegian Christmas decorations.