Looking to get away to a modern day wonderland of snowy hilltops surrounding magical Christmas markets in a beautifully lit town filled with tradition yet chic at the same time- visit Oslo at Christmas and let yourself be carried away to an innocent child-like joy over the lingering perfume of holiday spices in the air.
We love the Spikersuppa Christmas Market, located right in the middle of Oslo with delicacies and crafts for sale, a Christmas workshop for children, Christmas-themed entertainment – and a Ferris wheel. – See more at: Spikersuppa Christmas Market
Open daily 10:00-20:00
Christmas market at Youngstorget
Located in the center of Oslo city, an exciting and cozy Christmas market for adults and children – with plenty of food and drinks, presents, Christmas delicacies, Christmas decorations and arts and crafts on offer.
Youngstorget is filled with stands and tents, lit and decorated for Christmas. Bring your family and friends and come find the Christmas spirit! – See more at: Youngstorget Christmas Market
Open daily 11:00-19:00
25 and 26 December and 1 January are public holidays in Norway, and most shops and attractions are closed.
24 December and 31 December are not holidays, but shops and offices close early and many attractions are closed.
The tourist information office Oslo Visitor Center by the Central Station is open every day through the holidays.
See more at: VisitOslo
Norwegian Christmas traditions
“Little Christmas Eve”, 23 December
Many families have their own traditions this evening, such as decorating the Christmas tree or making a gingerbread house, also a tradition is to prepare and eat risengrynsgrøt – a hot rice pudding served with sugar, cinnamon and butter that evening. An almond is hidden in the pudding, and if the almond turns up in your portion, you win a marzipan pig!
Christmas Eve, 24 December
Christmas Eve is the main event in Norwegian Christmas celebration. The first part of the day is often spent rushing around for the last Christmas presents, or in chuch for Christmas service. At five the bells ring out for Christmas, and most people have Christmas dinner at home or with relatives. The Christmas presents have been placed under the tree, and are opened after dinner.
The days between Christmas Eve and New Year’s Eve are typically spent going to brunches and dinners with family and friends. Many people go out in the evening, so there is more life in the city centre.
From 27 December the shops are open, and people rush around exchanging presents that weren’t quite what they wanted.
Christmas food, drinks and snacks
The most popular Christmas Eve dinner is the ribbe (pork ribs or pork belly, bone in), but lutefisk (cod cured in lye), pinnekjøtt (dry-cured ribs of lamb), boiled cod, ham roast and turkey are also common dishes. Most fish restaurants and restaurants with Norwegian food have Christmas specialities on the menu in November and December. Many Norwegians like to have a a Christmas beer with the food – a malty beer that is available from November.
A drink often served during Advent and Christmas is gløgg – a warm, spicy drink similar to German Glühwein. It can be made with red wine, but the non-alcoholic version is often preferred. You can taste it in most Christmas markets in Oslo.
Christmas is high season for snacks and candy. Enourmous amounts of marzipan is sold before Christmas. According to the marzipan manufacturer Nidar, Norway’s less than 5 million people manage to eat more than 40 million marzipan figures during this period.
10 Interesting and Fun Facts about Norway
- King Harald of Norway vowed to remain unmarried for life unless he could marry his true love, who was the daughter of a cloth merchant. They both later married with help from the Government of Norway and she became the Queen of Norway.
- Norway gets 98-99% of its electricity from hydroelectric power, more than any other country.
- The archipelago of Lofoten in Norway is north of the Arctic Circle. Yet because of the largest positive temperature anomaly in the world relative to latitude, it is teeming with life and has the largest deep water coral reef in the word.
- The people of Oslo, Norway donate the Trafalgar Square Christmas tree in London every year in gratitude to the people of London for their assistance during WWII.
- To encourage more men to assume a greater share of care-giving responsibilities, Norwegian law states that 14 weeks of parental leave is reserved for fathers. Norway is the first country to introduce compulsory paternity leave.
- In 2008, Norway knighted a penguin.
- In 1251, Henry III of England was given a polar bear by the King of Norway. He kept it in the Tower of London, on a long chain so that it could swim in the Thames.
- In 2011, Norway went through a nationwide butter shortage, where smugglers would often get caught smuggling butter and online auctions for one packet of butter reached as high as $77.
- IKEA names sofas, coffee tables, bookshelves, media storage and doorknobs after places in Sweden; beds, wardrobes and hall furniture after places in Norway; carpets after places in Denmark and dining tables and chairs after places in Finland.
- Norway has won the largest number of Gold, Silver and Bronze medals of all countries in the Winter Olympics.
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