Category: Features

Choose your own Christmas goat & gnome

Benevolent spirits Eric Stavney Mukilteo, Wash. In late November, my family unpacks the Christmas chest and sets out those objects that define the season for us. Setting aside all the ornaments, lights, and garlands,...

The magic of the missing nisse

We may never know where this gnome roamed on his four-decade-long journey Barbara K. Rostad Coeur d’Alene, Idaho With Christmas almost here, it is a certainty that julenisser in Norway are everywhere, prancing across...

Christmas book flood

An Icelandic tradition worth importing Elizabeth Bourne Seattle Jólabókafló∂ is Iceland’s most loved Christmas tradition. Compared to some of Iceland’s other Christmas customs—child-eating cats, fermented skate, and the criminal 13 Yule Lads—a Christmas book...

Christmas at (or near) the North Pole

In the dark of polar night, Longyearbyen celebrates the season of light in its own ways Elizabeth Bourne Seattle Everyone knows Santa Claus delivers toys to good children and lumps of coal to bad...

Christmas the European way

Take a Christmas Markets tour to find seasonal spirit Emily C. Skaftun The Norwegian American Nobody does Christmas like Europe. I learned that just a couple weeks ago while taking a badly timed—but magical—tour...

We wish you a trippy Christmas

Could ritual use of psychedelic mushrooms be the source of the Santa Claus legend? Judith Gabriel Vinje Los Angeles The way we think of Santa Claus, with his bag of toys, the reindeer pulling...

O Juletre, O Juletre!

Bring an old tradition to life each year — decorate a Christmas tree Barneblad Brought to you by Lori Ann Reinhall O Christmas Tree, O Christmas Tree”— how welcome these words are each year,...

Christmas in NYC with Scandinavian twists

Victoria Hofmo Brooklyn, N.Y. Christmas in New York is a delight. When paired with Scandinavian twists, it cannot be beat. So many elements associated with jul originated in the Nordic countries, so it seems...

Christmastime in Bergen

It’s Christmastime in Bergen!

From gingerbread to lights to music, Norway’s second city fills yuletide with wonder Lori Ann Reinhall The Norwegian American No one has ever said that I’m not lucky—and what could be more fortunate than...

Get ready for Christmas with Advent

Barneblad Brought to you by Lori Ann Reinhall In Norway and around much of the world, Advent is a time of joy and anticipation. It is the beginning of the Christmas season, and there...