Ramblings

Christmas Eve Nordic Tradition + Our Norwegian Infatuation

Ah, Norway. Home to Disney’s “Frozen” and the Norse God, Thor. 

Chris and I both have Norwegian and Irish backgrounds. I also have German, and he has Croatian (I think it’s Croatian…). But we’re both really into being Norwegian.

Christmas Eve

We spend Christmas Eve with his side of the family. Sometimes we make it to the church service, and sometimes we just make it to his grandparents’ house for the family gathering. We eat dinner along multiple tables pushed together. There are so many family members now, that the table has made an “L” shape and it’s snaked into the living room. After dinner we have a White Elephant gift exchange (Highs: Hickory Farms and gift cards. Lows: Ankle weights), and then Grandma and Grandpa open up their presents.

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Ollie + Chris in his grandparents’ backyard
Days before we get together, Chris’ grandmother and a couple other family members get together to make a ton of Lefse.

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Lefse!

Lefse is a traditional soft Norwegian flatbread. It is made with potatoes, flour, butter, and milk or cream. It is cooked on a large, flat griddle.

It’s pretty much like a tortilla, but it’s really thin and falls apart. At the dinner, everyone grabs a round, plops a mound of mashed potatoes, your choice of either pulled pork or fish, melted butter, and cranberry sauce. You then roll it up, or if you’ve stuffed it too full and it’s now falling apart like a Chipotle burrito, you use a fork and knife.

My favorite way to eat lefse is what we do with it for dessert…pour melted butter all over it and then sprinkle it with cinnamon sugar!

Nordic Love

We’ve been to Walt Disney World three times now. It’s been a couple of years since we’ve gone, but we LOVE Epcot and visiting the Norway pavilion. All the Cast Members in each of the pavilions are actually from the country the pavilion represents, so you can overhear them speaking to each other in their native languages and listen to their accents. Chris loves the Norway pavilion so much, and their main gift shop, that he wears the Norwegian cologne you can buy there almost every day. Our house smells like the shop in the morning (it gives to a headache tbh…).

I found a good article about the “12 Things You’ll Love About Epcot’s Norway Pavilion” which is pretty spot on. There’s also another page with a ton of photos of the inside of the shops. Chris wears his Helly Hansen sweatshirt ALL THE TIME.

One day, we’ll make the trek over to the actual Norway, and not the Florida version! My Aunt Becky and late Grandma Sally have been there, they went on a ship and my aunt has told me stories about how treacherous the sea was to them! I don’t know if I’m down for that. I got seasick on a Carnival cruise headed to Catalina…

Movies

If you don’t mind subtitles, I would highly recommend watching “Trollhunter” and “The Wave.” Both are Norwegian (obvs, since that’s what this post is about), and the scenery in each is simply stunning. Both are dramas, “Trollhunter” is more on the fantasy side, and “The Wave” is super suspenseful. I love them both and now I’m on the hunt for more movies made in Norway!

Now, I haven’t watched this next one myself, but there is a ‘movie’ you can watch on Netflix and all it is is a several hours long train ride through Norway. I’m honestly surprised that Chris hasn’t binged on it yet! I’m sure it’s stunning, perhaps we’ll use it for background purposes on Christmas Day?

Books

I know Jo NesbΓΈ writes a popular crime series set in Norway that is supposed to be similar to the “Girl With the Dragon Tattoo” series, but I am not well-versed in Norwegian literature (Note to self: Chrissy, get on it!). The only Nordic books I’ve read are:

The cookbook is actually fun to read! There are a lot of anecdotes about the Nordic lifestyle and how/why they prepare certain dishes. I mentioned this on my Instagram (P.S. Are you following me yet?), but my favorite recipe I’ve stumbled upon so far is the one for Icelandic Moss Soup. Yummmmm! πŸ˜›

“The Nordic Theory of Everything” is an awesome read. I love to learn about how lifestyle are different in other countries, how their views of parenting, work/life relations, and social cultures differ from ours. Anu Partanen is from Finland, and she lives in the United States now. She shows how people in the Nordic countries have a happier life. I follow her on Twitter @anupartanen.

Vi elsker Norge! Farvel for nΓ₯!!

xx, Christine

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