Norwegian Language Blog

Christmassy Christmas in Norway Posted by on Dec 24, 2018 in Traditions

Is there julesnø (Christmas snow) where you live? (Freem image from Pixabay; no copyright.)

Nå er det jul igjen, og nå er det jul igjen, og jula varer helt til påske! (Now it’s Xmas again, and now it’s Xmas again, and the Xmas lasts until Easter.) This verse from a popular julesang (Christmas song) shows just how much Norwegians love jula [yoola] – Easter doesn’t even come close! This ”frenzy” is reflected by the language – you can prefix jule- to almost any noun to ”Christmas it up”:

In juletida (the Xmas time) people have been busy buying julegaver (Xmas presents). In Norway it’s common to give a lot of presents on julaften (Xmas eve), so many people get julestress from all the juleshopping. Preparing julematen (the Xmas food) also takes it’s toll – traditionally, a good hostess is supposed to have syv sorter (seven kinds of) julekaker (Xmas cookies/cakes) ready for all julegjestene (the Xmas guests). Because of all the juletradisjoner, some Norwegians also call this time of year julestria – the Christmas struggle…

Hopefully, by now, all your julehandel (Xmas shopping) is done. The last lid of the julekalender (Xmas calendar) has been opened and you can enjoy a bit of julekos (Xmas ”atmosphere”) next to juletreet (the Xmas tree), which has been decorated with julepynt (Xmas decorations): julehjerter, julekuler, [electrical] julelys (Xmas hearts, baubles, candles) and, in the top of the tree, a julestjerne (Xmas star).

While you’re waiting for julenissen (Santa Claus), it might be time to eat some julegodteri (Xmas candy), or drink some julebrus (Xmas soft drink) with juleribba (the Xmas ribs) or juleskinka (the Xmas ham). Put on a nice julegenser (Xmas sweater) and watch a tv juleshow together with familien din (your family). Of course, julekvelden (the Xmas evening) wouldn’t be complete without some julehefter (Xmas booklets) – special Christmas editions of popular Norwegian cartoons.

God jul og godt nyttår! 🙂

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About the Author: Bjørn A. Bojesen

I was born in Denmark, but spent large parts of my childhood and study years in Norway. I later returned to Denmark, where I finished my MA in Scandinavian Studies. Having relatives in Sweden as well, I feel very Scandinavian! I enjoy reading and travelling, and sharing stories with you! You’re always welcome to share your thoughts with me and the other readers.


  1. Kjersti:

    Godt nyttår!
    Another important tradition that most of us grew up with is “Julebukk” where kids go around from house to house dressed up in kostymer (costumes) and sing in exchange for candy. Originally this was to scare the evil spirits away and welcome the new year.

    • Bjørn A. Bojesen:

      @Kjersti @Kjersti Godt nyttår! 🙂 And thanks for the feedback. Julebukk is really interesting; maybe I’ll write about it next Xmas. (If I’m still blogging by then.) I’ve never tried ”julebukking” during my childhood in Sauda, but I guess some friends have, so I can ask them.