“Ev­ery­thing is very rolig, very calm here in Nor­way”

Deb­o­rah Alexan­der Val­strand lives in Trond­heim with her hus­band and daugh­ter

My Weekly Special - - | Cookery -

The Nor­we­gian way is to cel­e­brate on De­cem­ber 24, Christ­mas Eve. Usu­ally on the 23rd we put up the tree. Trees don’t go up early here, like they do in Bri­tain. We drive out to our fam­ily farm in Vå­gan, where we’re for­tu­nate enough to have our own fields and forests, for the hol­i­day so we can chop down our own tree.

We eat Christ­mas din­ner on the 24th. The typ­i­cal Nor­we­gian din­ner, salted ribs from lamb, is called pin­nekjøtt. The other dish is ribbe – that’s de­li­cious ribs from the pork belly. We eat it with veg­eta­bles and tasty lit­tle sausages. Nor­we­gians eat their din­ner with a tra­di­tional drink, aqua­vit, to wash down all the fat from the rich food!

Ev­ery­thing is very rolig, as they say in Nor­we­gian – all very calm. Ev­ery­one takes their time, eats their dessert and ti­dies ev­ery­thing away. Then we all go and sit by the tree. Some­one will act as Santa, hand­ing out the gifts. Ev­ery­one sits and watches as each per­son opens up their gift.

It’s not like the typ­i­cal British Christ­mas where ev­ery­one dives in at seven o’clock in the morn­ing and there’s pa­per ly­ing ev­ery­where. It’s very quiet here. I’ve lived here for 15 years but I’m Scot­tish so I sup­pose I took badly with that to start with!

I still make a bit of my own Christ­mas on the 25th. I’ll leave a few gifts un­der the tree for Ava and maybe one for each of us, then we’ll come down and open them on Christ­mas morn­ing, the British way. My mother-in-law cooks the Nor­we­gian meal on the 24th and I help her, then I do the turkey for us the next day. Fam­i­lies have time to­gether at home over Christ­mas and most are off for about a week.

We’re guar­an­teed the snow here in Nor­way so that makes it lovely, like a Christ­mas card. You can go out­side af­ter your meal and have a nice walk in the snow and that makes it feel spe­cial. Nor­we­gians have a word called koselig, which means cosy and nice.

My favourite part of Christ­mas is sit­ting around the fire with the snow out­side and the tree twin­kling. It’s very cosy!

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