The first time I spent my Christmas here in Norway, I was mesmerized.
The season begins with baking some cookies or they call it “pepperkake” or ginger bread in English on a snowy December.
Then, I can hear the banging of the bottles on “Vinmonopolet” or The Wine Monopoly that sounds like jingle bells during Christmas season. The store is full of a bunch of people busy buying and packing their Christmas gifts. I remember when I was a kid in the Philippines: we never asked what we wanted for Christmas presents. We just hung our plastic bags on the window waiting for Santa Claus to come. Then the next morning we would receive apples, oranges and a chocolate Cloud 9.
In Norway there are kids, receiving gadgets as young as two years old. According to NRK’s (Norwegian Broadcasting Station) last year’s survey, on the top list that people’s wish list for Christmas are: clothes, tablet, laptop, mobile phone and travel. They are spending a lot, buying Christmas presents to their families.
Here in Norway, they are starting hanging Christmas decorations in December of course. In the Philippines we used to have it from September up to January and even until the Three Kings celebration.
In Norway, they have the “lille julaften” on the 23rd of December, in which its part of their tradition to watch this very short movie called “Grevinnen og hovmesteren” or Dinner for one. Has been sent every Christmas in Norway since 1980.
The Christmas Eve is on the 24th of December and they call it “julaften”. You have to dress well during Christmas. For dinner, they have ribs as the most common main dish, christmas sausage and meatballs. On the western part of Norway, they have “pinnekjøtt” or stick meat. It’s a sheep lamb which is salted and hung, and eventually smoked before hanging. I remember I tasted smoked salmon on Christmas too, and took a shot of aquavit. A rice porridge with almond for dessert. After dinner then it’s the opening of the gifts waiting under the big Christmas tree, and sometimes “julenisse” or Santa Claus is coming to deliver the gifts. They have this term called “romjul”. It’s a period between Christmas and New Year. At this time, they are still enjoying the spirit of Christmas just like visiting family and friends and having dinner together.
When I was still living in the Philippines listening to the lyrics of a song “Let it snow, Let it snow” I dreamed of a snowy white Christmas. In Norway, my dream of a White Christmas came true.