Monday, December 13, 2010


People in our town are very much like the average Norwegian.
We don't do much new stuff around Christmastime; we are too busy repeating our traditions. This provides a feeling of stability in an unpredictable world of storms. It's also the best way of passing on our common heritage. Like baking gingerbread cookies.

Eating rice porridge with raisins, sugar, cinnamon and a butter eye in the middle also belong to Christmas traditions. Red juice, preferably from red currants to drink.

Families, kindergartens, even the giant Statoil plant took part in making a gingerbread village, competing for the prettiest building.
The exhibition stood for two weeks in a public center for youth and elderly people together.

The center is called The old Slaughterhouse, cause way back it really was a slaughter house. We used to frequent this place a lot in the eighties and nineties.
There were also a huge craft market. I bout this hand knitted cat for less the 2 dollars. Gunnar agreed to pose with it.

Out in our garden looking inside.

Some red, even out on our terrace.

Our Nativity Scene have figurines assembled through years in different materials and styles. Serina's self made, happy, red haired angel is a must.

The old youlenisse is wearing a jumper my mother knitted for me when I was 1 year old. He is the Norwegian pendant to Santa Claus, but only loosely connected. Every farm had nisses living in the stable, like the trolls lived in the mountains and the hulder; partly wonderful young girl, partly cow (hidden under the skirt)lived up on the summer farmland in the woods. The youlenisse was to be fed with the best porridge for Christmas, or he could do a lot of harm both to the people and the animals on the farm. Some hundred and fifty years ago he was slowly transferred to the continental Santa. But he kept his name and his farmer clothes.

From our kitchen, a silk rose.

Our advent calendar, embroidered by my mother about 1956, with the help of my brother and me. The youlenisse is holding a jug of ale in one hand and a Holy Three King's candle in the other. Combination of paganism and Christianity.
In every Norwegian home you can see this advent lights in one or more windows. In the wooden bowl is and advent orange with 24 cloves in it.
The true fragrance of Christmas. The picture was shot last week, therefor only two candles are lit on our advent wreath.

Homemade hearts.

Our TV room is partly decorated in pastel, except for the poinsettia.
Today, Monday 13th, we celebrate Santa Lucia, a Sicilian saint. Children are dressed in white, singing the ancient song about this remote saint, while carrying candles and handing out buns. Nobody really knows why this special saint is so tightly connected to Scandinavia. Not even 500 years of protestantism has managed to delete this beautiful celebration.
Serina in front of her friends on Lucia day 19 years ago.

Originated by MaryT, check hers for today


Trish said...

Dear Felisol...I so enjoy your Posts! I love traditions, they keep us connected to our pasts.
It's sad to say, that here in America with so many different cultures...traditions are sadly disappearing.
I refuse though...Jesus is why we celebrate!

Kim, USA said...

Wow love your post. I love tradition too they have deeper meaning in celebrating Christmas. Happy Monday!
First snow storm

Terry said...

oh i think your norwegian christmas traditions are just spendid felisol.
so homey..and all those gingerbread houses to give happiness to the children and the elderly.
i guess the porridge that gunnar is eating is good but that is ONE tradition i don't think i could savour felisol. mom golden used to make us eat porridge every morning with brown sugar and bran flakes covered with powdered milk!
isn't so amazing though felisol with any of any body's christmas traditions that the baby in the manger is STILL the focal point..that baby who was to grow up and die for all of our sins!

this is a great post my terry said...

I want to come to your house for Christmas!! And I want to bring my hubby, my 3 kids and our 6 grandkids!!! What do you think?? :)

Seriously Felisol... your post makes me so nostalgic for Norway and my mother and dad and our years growing up. My heart is right there with you all, and I LOVE the red haired angel!! Serina is a well loved angel!

The pictures are so beautiful. When I get homesick for Norway, I just come over here and look at your blog! :)

God Jul!


Ralph said...

Traditions are so important around Christmas. We celebrate the birth of Jesus, and who could tire of this? Your town and home have so many inviting rubies, all are beautiful. Who can resist the sharp fragrance of cloves? Hang onto your traditions, they make the season so special!

The rice sounds delicious!

Saija said...

that is sooooo lovely ... and i recognize many similar traditions that Finns keep ... so it was cozy to visit here today ... you are always a most welcoming hostess ...

blessings on ya!

Carletta said...

Such wonderful and beautiful traditions!
Years ago as a preteen my family bought me an electric chord organ that I learned to play. One of the songs in one of my books was Santa Lucia. I remember the tune but I can't remember any of the words except Santa Lucia over and over about three times but I sang it a lot. :)
Have a wonderful Christmas holiday!

Chubskulit Rose said...

Gorgeous photos Felisol. I am now following your blog.

Snowy Rubies

Sue Seibert said...

Elise, I love all your beautiful photos, especially of Serina on St. Lucia Day! Sending Texas Advent love to our Norwegian friends!!!!

Crown of Beauty said...

Beautiful pictures, such lovely traditions you shared with us.

It is amazing how you have kept the traditions through all these years.


Amrita said...

Dear Felisol, I visited you in the morning but just as i was typing a comment the lights went out, so here I am enjoy your post.

The beautiful landscape, decorations, an d oh my th e gingerbread goodies are such a visual treat. Gunar relaxed pose is so peaceful and little Serina - a bevy of angels.

Mother handwork deserves accolades, she is so creative and you have preserved everything so lovingly Felisol, nothing is damaged. I marvel at that.

As i was writing this a group
of carol singer s came to sing for Mama and me an d encourage us from the Scriptures and pray for us. It was such a special moment with them.

Amrita said...

I came back to ask.
Was the slaughterhouse used by butchers?

The silk rose looks so real

Mrs. Mac said...

I hope no one ever unravels the mysteries of the Christmas traditions you share each year! How beautiful and inspiring.



Felisol said...

Dear AMrita,
Yes, the slaughterhouse was used by butchers until about ww2.
Then it was left empty for some decades and was about to collapse, when a group of idealists convinced the local politicians to invest in a heavy makeover. Now all kinds of volunteer groups who don't have a house of their own are allowed to use one of the many rooms there. There also is a workshop where elderly teach young onces old handicraft traditions, carpentering, weaving e.t.c.
In the cellar young rock groups have a place to rehearse and painters, graphics and pottery makers have rooms of their own in other cellar rooms.
In the diner they sell old fashioned homemade food.
Not to mention, there is also a film room, equipped with colors and paper for the children.
You see, the Old Slaughterhouse is for just everybody.

Annie Jeffries said...

Hi Elise,

I just love your Christmas posts. I remember the nisse from last year and googling about them. I need to build a mini-stable and invite one to join us. Perhaps he would like the warmer weather??? Don and enjoy regularly enjoy oatmeal with raisins, and brown sugar and a pat butter in the center. Yummm.

I have to run but I have more to say so will be commenting again later.


jijie said...

Hello! Visiting here

Happy Holidays!
newest follower ,pls. follow me back
:) Thank you.

Silver said...

I enjoy your post.The pictures exudes warmth and peace. The yuletide assortments are lovely too.