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23rd-Dec-2007 09:18 pm

Hey Wayne you are futured on youtube!
I am sure you already know this!
But still that's cool!

So hey this is me again here reporting from Norwegian Christmas. I've been having a lot of fun seeing people I haven't seen for a while cathicng up and all that jazz. I swear, everyone is getting pregnant and engaged. Almost 5 years since high school already!

Anyways what I wanted to do is share a little about Christmas in this little country where I was born and raised. Boring for some maybe, but hey. You don't have to read this ok.

Norway is mostly protestant and it is even the official religion, but few people are actually religious about it. Still there is always a lot of talk about Jesus and angels and all that jazz this time of year. My grandmother just asked me and my brother tonight if we wanted to come to church tomorrow at Christmas Eve, but well no we really didn't and she said then she won't go either. So there you go. Even the grandmothers aren't maniac about that :)

24th is the big day here. Usually people just watch television for the first part of the day, and it is always the same shows running every year (amongst others this includes the one where donald duck and pluto gets a christmas tree, some Norwegian shows, a strange Czech version of Cinderella called Tri Orisky Pro Popelku and some boys choir singing Christmas songs). Then people start getting ready dressing up all nice. Some people go to church. Many people go and light torches and lanterns on graves (we do that). Then after that I guess many people have different traditions, but it mostly includes a big Christmas dinner and then later on opening presents together.

The Christmas dinner can be a lot of different stuff. My family has always had a big Turkey for Christmas Eve. The most common other traditions are Pork Ribs, Pinnekjøtt (salted, steamed meat) and Lutefisk (ugh). And then all sorts of stuff on the side, but I guess I can say that potatoes are big in Norway :P

The Norwegian version of Santa is called Julenissen and he is sortof a mix between the American Coca Cola santa and this garden gnome like creature from Norwegian mythology (they used to live on farms, taking care of the animals and you had to leave them stuff or they would fuck your farm up real bad). Oh and if there are kids it is normal for the Dad or some neighbour or whoever to dress up as Julenissen and come knocking on the door leaving some presents for the kids. Most kids are terrified :P

Oh and later at night when we open the presents we open them just one or two at the time. I know not everyone do it this way, but I'm pretty sure most do. I like it this way! I've heard of families where everyone just opens all their presents at once and eh....to me it wouldn't feel very respectful to the people who give you a present.

So yeah!

I know noone really reads the few times I write long like this, but some do and like it I think? Eh :)

Anyways, what would be really cool was if you people could reply in the comments about the Christmas traditions in your home country and family. I know it's different in all the countries and even within countries, and I really do want to know! So if you want to, that would be really cool!

Merry Christmas :D
23rd-Dec-2007 08:35 pm (UTC)
well, in my house, we usually get a few presents on christmas eve. 99% of the time they are pajamas. no one is religious in my family, so we don't do church. then on christmas we all wake up really early. my mom has made the same breakfast for my entire life. it's this french toast stuff. i don't know how to describe it. it's awesome. then she usually puts on alvin and the chipmunks christmas music, lol. or some other christmas music.

she has to tape record us coming down the stairs when we see our presents. my mom is really big on stockings, so those are usually overflowing with little gifts. we open those until everyone else wakes up, and then we start opening presents. my little brother and i will open all of ours, and he usually wants to play with whatever he gets before were done. then once we are done at our house, we get ready and head to grandmothers house and eat and open presents there.

then i go to my dads house to see everyone there and eat some more if i can possibly do so. and open some more presents. so yeah, we basically eat a lot and open a lot of presents. i'm sorry if this was too long.
7th-Jan-2008 04:04 pm (UTC)
alvin and the chipmunks?? haha how cozy :p

we dont really do the stocking thing in norway, but like i said all the families with little kids usually have "santa" coming to visit on christmas eve.
23rd-Dec-2007 08:53 pm (UTC)
Well, my Christmas growing up was never religious. My dad is an Athiest and my mom is a Unitarian. So there you have it. No religion for me.

But culturally, my Dad's family was from the part of the Austro-Hungarian empire that later became the Ukraine, and my mom is German, specifically Bavaria. So we had a little bit of a clash of the traditions in my household, not the least of which being that we would celebrate both Catholic Christmas (Dec. 25th) and Eastern Orthodox Christmas (Jan 7th).

Catholic Christmas was celebrated according to German tradition. So much so that I learned all of my carols as a little kid in German, and when I would hear kids in school singing "O Christmas Tree" instead of "O Tannenbaum" I would wonder why they were singing the words wrong. We always made sure we cut a fresh tree so that my mom could put real candles on the tree (although never on the lower branches, because we owned cats). And the cookies I would eat would always be Springerle or Oblaten cookies, which always confused my friends when I brought them into school with me. Presents were opened on Christmas Eve night (rather than Christmas day), usually right after dinner.

On Ukrainian Christmas, my dad would bake the kolach bread and cook the 12 course meal of Eastern Orthodox tradition. Or at least, he would aspire to that. Sometimes, he would count a small plate of garlic as one of the 12 courses. Mom and I would accuse him of being lazy, but he would say, "No, in the Ukraine a lot of people were very poor, so for them, a plate of garlic was a full course!" But the meal was really the only aspect of Ukrainian Christmas that we celebrated. It was more or less an excuse for my dad to take over the kitchen for a day, which he enjoyed.
7th-Jan-2008 04:11 pm (UTC)
Garlic as a meal on its own? Well I see it's not a big meal, but *just* garlic??? I'm guessing Ukrainian Christmas doesn't have the mistletoe :p

That's really cool though, most of what you said I didn't know anything about.
(no subject) - Anonymous
7th-Jan-2008 04:12 pm (UTC)
Sugar cookies? I don't think I know what it is.
23rd-Dec-2007 10:42 pm (UTC)
New Mexican Catholics have a LOT of Christmas traditions, so this might be long. :P

We always had a Christmas tree up by the first week of December (in fact, this year my parents put it up and I helped decorate it on November 21!). On Christmas Eve, we would go to Mass at 6 p.m. where the children in the church would reenact the story of Jesus' birth. When we returned, we would eat posole with red chile and then open our presents. When I was a kid, my parents would always say that Santa came to drop off our gifts while we were at church. (Lots of other people went to Midnight Mass on Christmas Eve, but we only did once; it was way too cold and long.)

On Christmas Day we would go to the house of either my grandparents or one of my aunts that was cooking that year and have turkey, ham, stuffing, more posole and chile, and tamales. Christmas "dinner" was always at 1 p.m., which is the same time we always have Thanksgiving dinner, although no one can really say why we eat so early. And we would open more presents as well.

I'm not going home for Christmas this year so I'm going to have a much more laid back day without all the crazy food.

Edited at 2007-12-23 10:44 pm (UTC)
7th-Jan-2008 04:14 pm (UTC)

Yeah that is a lot earlier than our tradition. We don't put the tree until one or two days before Christmas Eve.

Hope you had a nice Christmas anyway :)
23rd-Dec-2007 11:12 pm (UTC)
Wayne got featured?? I just checked the site and I can't see him =/ Or do you mean him being featured through Ste and Kel?

I liked hearing the Norsk traditions. Lol this entry had an overall drunk feel, were you a bit drunk while writing Markus? :P

7th-Jan-2008 04:15 pm (UTC)
Yeah through some other people :)

I was sober!
23rd-Dec-2007 11:13 pm (UTC)
I live in the middle of Canada, and this is what my family is doing this year...

Christmas eve Grandma is coming over and we're going to have a really nice dinner, homemade mushroom soup and crab and rice. Every year on Christmas eve my brother and I get to open one present, generally pajamas and a book or a game so we'll go to bed early and mom and dad can finish wrapping presents :P

Christmas morning everyone has a stocking full of little presents, in my family generally socks and undies, candy and little toys and random dollar store stuff or whatever. Usually my brother gets up super early and then wakes me up and we go to his room to look at each others stuff :P We generally have a set time when we're allowed to wake my parents up, like 8:00

When that time rolls around, we start the coffee maker, my parents open their stockings from one another and then we all go to the living room to open presents. Mom makes sure we open things in increasing order of awesomeness haha. We usually each have a present in our lap and watch each other open them in "rounds"

Most years my mom and my uncle switch off having Christmas dinner at our house and their house, but this year we're having it here with just my grandma. We have salad, ham, turkey, potatoes, veggies and whatnot, with dainties for hors d'ouevres and some kind of crazy dessert of my mothers'.

Then we sleep off the food!
7th-Jan-2008 04:16 pm (UTC)
Awh it sounds really cozy. ^^ How old is your brother?
24th-Dec-2007 12:13 am (UTC)
All sides of my family are German and our Christmas is very much like yours. My brother, cousins & I didn't have Santa growing up though because my Aunt decided that Santa took too much away from Jesus Birthday. We actually had Jesus birthday cake on Christmas Eve before Church.

NOW - my brother IS raising his daughter with Santa, we don't goto Church on Christmas Eve. We have a huge family dinner, Jesus Birthday Cake, and open presents one at a time while everyone else watches. This takes until midnight...we also drink during this & laugh and tell embarrassing stories about each other...family LOVE bonding stuff.

Christmas day I get a stocking..A HUGE stocking my mom has sewn lots of stuff onto filled with money, tiny gifts, CDS, toiletries like toothbrushes & soaps, colognes, fruit, gum & candy AND my Dad likes to put in TONS of scratch-off lottery tickets. We spend the Day playing until a Dinner. My brother spends it with his Wife's family who does Christmas on Christmas Day.
7th-Jan-2008 04:18 pm (UTC)
Well, cake is nice too! :p
24th-Dec-2007 01:38 am (UTC)
Well since I'm latin, we have Noche Buena which is the 24th, where the family all gets together to have a huge dinner. We usually have pork, and there's potatoes and rice with black beans and all sorts of pies/icecream/pastries for desert. Sometimes some coffee.

On the 25th, we all get together to open gifts. We open our gifts in a pretty organized fashion, for example my mom will give my cousins all their gifts and they'll open them, and thank her, and then other aunts/uncles do the same, it's like by turns. And I like it that way. We usually have a smaller meal on Christmas, more fingerfood than anything, not usually a sit-down dinner.
24th-Dec-2007 01:38 am (UTC)
Oh yeah, and we're supposed Catholic but my family does not go to church for this.
24th-Dec-2007 02:28 am (UTC)
Heyyy. Yeah I was in the steandkel video that I saw went global. Thats prob why ive had loads of subscribers all of a sudden. I've done loads of collaborations this christmas .. never again, theyre a nightmare. I'm not a fan of the haters that come with it.

I love how a lot of people are oblivious to the fact that a good chunk of Europe celebrate on Christmas Eve rather than Christmas day. I far preferred Christmas in Sweden when I was little but Christmas is cool here too, just different. It tends to vary a lot from the countryside to the city here now cause in my village on the Christmas Eve, people gather on the square under the big christmas tree and they have roasted chestnuts and candyfloss and stuff. Its really nice. I know most of the surrounding towns in Fenland do stuff like that too but when you mention it to people from a city, they find it odd O.o

Hope you have a great Christmas :D
27th-Dec-2007 01:37 am (UTC)
Wayne! I saw your british vs american slang video and it's pretty amazing.
24th-Dec-2007 03:13 am (UTC)
Ah, Christmas. Christmas' of the past (as a child) usually ended up in the family getting together, eating, opening a gift or two, having an argument, and everybody leaves angry at one another.

On the other side of the family Christmas is usually a time to eat, give lavish gifts to the wealthiest family-in-law, get drunk, and pretend you don't hate each other.

I celebrate Christmas because its a week of no work and now I just send cards to my insane family. They're barbaric, LOL!
7th-Jan-2008 04:44 pm (UTC)
It sounds terrible! :o
24th-Dec-2007 09:31 am (UTC) - Hybrid Christmas
Interesting to answer this, since I posted in my own journal about the difference between Christmas in the US and Christmas in Sweden.

But at any rate, the Swedish way seems very very steeped in tradition. You wake up early (or I do anyway), and then you get ready for the day. The Swedish world stops at 15.00 CET sharp (SAS planes fall from the sky at an alarming rate) in order to watch old disney cartoons for an our, and the some show about the boy who goes to an elderly home and adopts a grandpa. In some households there is a large Christmas lunch served between 13.00 and 15.00. And then you drink glogg (Markus, help me explain this one ;)...and aquavit (schnapps) and general a good time. You then have more of the christmas smorgåsbord later on in the evening for dinner and then you unwrap presents, one at a time, for as long as you have presents with your name on them. Younger kids get spoiled more than the older kids, but that seems to be the way that is happens around the world.

But I also learn that every Swedish family has also a little variation. Some don't drink alcohol at all during Christmas and for others it is considered just as part of the meal. Others like to open at least a few presents early and others won't even touch the presents until later in the evening. But I think that in general, the Swedish Christmas is a very nice and stress-free experience. But next year if you ask this question again then I will answer from the American perspective since I plan to be the US for the holiday season.
7th-Jan-2008 04:52 pm (UTC) - Re: Hybrid Christmas
Glögg is like spiced and heated wine I guess? I never really thought about it :p
24th-Dec-2007 11:07 am (UTC)
I always read everything you write, no matter how long. I like reading your journal (and have a secret crush on you, like a lot of other people here). Oh, and I know the feeling of meeting old friends who are suddenly pregnant and settling down. It's weird.

Your description sounds just like Christmas here in Denmark, but I guess that kinda makes sense, since we're pretty close to each other in most ways anyway (and Norway used to be Danish back in the day, but that's another story). The lighting lanterns-thing is not something I've ever heard of before though, but it sounds nice.

In my family we open presents one at a time too, so everyone else can see what you get and, yeah, so it's more respectful for the ones giving the present. Food wise we usually have duck. And then all kinds of potatoes, gravy, etc. It's really heavy eating. I've never been a big fan of duck or the sweet potatoes. And this year I turned vegetarian, so I'm having something way different - some salmon-thing one of my American friends made for me this summer, when I was in the US. It's gonna be a lot nicer and less heavy and gross. And for dessert there's 'risalamande' (a porridge made of rice and then whip cream and chopped almonds (and one whole - whoever finds it gets a present) are added. Served cold. Sounds gross, I know, but it's pretty good). In Denmark people walk around the Christmas tree after dinner, but before presents, and sing carrols. It's nice, but my family doesn't really have any good singers, so it doesn't really sound too good. But hey, it's tradition.

Have a very merry Christmas,
7th-Jan-2008 04:54 pm (UTC)
Casper is a nice name! :)

I knew about the Danish Christmas duck before. I have friends with Danish family. The walking around the Christmas tree is something I remember from Christmas events and stuff at school when I was a kid, but it has been a long time since I thought about that at all.
(no subject) - Anonymous Expand
24th-Dec-2007 02:59 pm (UTC) - Merry Christmas
Well over here in the Philippines, I think we have the longest Christmas Season. Spanish influences are evident.

The "spirit" starts with "Misa de Galleo" or early morning Mass. We have this for 9 days, from the 16th of December up to the 24th. Then by Christmas Eve, we go to Church ones more (Philippines is the only Catholic country in Asia)for midnight Mass. Then we go home for "Noche Buena" a Christmas eve feast. If you have turkey we have "lechon baboy" (roasted pig).

Christmas Day is the usual time for reunions and stuff. Then of course there are caroling and gift giving/kris kringle.
24th-Dec-2007 03:02 pm (UTC) - Re: Merry Christmas
oh yeah.. Christmas season ends here with the celebration of the "Epiphany" it's about the 3 kings who visited Christ.. And this is on January 6..
24th-Dec-2007 04:48 pm (UTC)
I don't know about Filipino Christmas (besides sales and more assholes than usual on the roads and early-morning mass to make up for a year's worth of sin) but in my family at least, we ignore each other, pretend we care, get gifts, and go online to post about it on livejournal.
7th-Jan-2008 05:03 pm (UTC)
Bliss :p
24th-Dec-2007 07:11 pm (UTC)
Merry Christmas !
Hope Santa wont remember how naughty you been all year...lol
7th-Jan-2008 05:03 pm (UTC)
Haha how could he forget?
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