A message from your editor
Dear readers and friends,
And so it is Christmas, and what have we done? Another year over, a new one’s just begun … So goes the song “Happy Xmas (War is Over)” released by John Lennon and Yoko Ono back in 1971 at the height of the Vietnam War. It comes to mind now as I write my Christmas message to you, with the backdrop of another major global conflict and so much uncertainty in the world.
This year has been a tough one for many of us, as we watch what is unfolding here at home and in the global arena. I hear from many of you that you are facing financial hardships with rising inflation, and here at the paper, we have had to make some difficult decisions. Because of increasing costs, we decided to go to monthly editions, and we have had to look at cost-cutting measures in our operations. It has not been easy.
I recently spoke to a reader who decided to cancel her subscription because of rising gas prices. She said she loved the paper and would be back when things are better. I could relate to what she was saying, yet I had to add that if too many of our subscribers decided to cancel now, there wouldn’t be any paper to come back to.
The truth is that we need to stick together and support each other now more than ever. Here at The Norwegian American, we are so grateful for the support that so many of you offer us. In this issue, we have the annual holiday greetings, and we have received many generous end-of-the-year donations. We get calls and emails on a daily basis from readers telling us how much they enjoy the paper, and recently, I even received a bouquet of flowers. This means a great deal to me and the staff. With each issue, we give our all to provide a bright spot in your life, and it is very rewarding to know that we are making a difference.
For us, the Christmas issue is always very special. It offers us a unique opportunity to connect with you and reconnect you with beloved holiday traditions. One of them is the julehefte, the beautiful Christmas magazines or booklets that are published in Norway each year. You can read about one of them, Juleroser, in a feature article that one our Oslo correspondents, Tove Andersson, has written for us. We also like to see ourselves as part of this wonderful julehefte tradition, with an issue that is full of holiday content, rich in visuals, and ads from our Nordic vendors, all done in the hope to make you season brighter this year.
For this issue, I also went out exploring a bit to create and rediscover some new Christmas traditions. This is not the first time I have done this, having taken up baking cookies again with the big “Christmas Cookie Extravaganza” we ran a few years back. This year, I went on a gingerbread adventure, inspired by colleagues at Norway House in Minneapolis. I urge you to check out what they have to offer there, in person if possible or online. Of course, you can also try your hand at making your gingerbread house, or you can check out what is available in your own area. Through my research, I learned that these wonderful gingerbread towns pop up all over the country during the month of December.
Food is certainly an important part of Christmas in Norway, and here, too, for that matter. Fortunately for us, we have an outstanding Taste of Norway editor, Kristi Bissell. I have to say that all of Kristi’s recipes are exceptionally good, but I especially encourage you to try out her gløgg. You can invite your neighbor in, and while you are at it, why not offer them some of Kristi’s delicious holiday appetizers? They will certainty get everyone in the holiday spirit.
You can also read about the traditional Norwegian Christmas table in Christie Ericson’s “Norsk 101” column. While I read Norwegian without any difficulties, I always enjoy reading what Christie brings to us. Her column is not only for language learning, but it is also an excellent way to learn about Norwegian culture.
Our julehefte issue also offers a number of ideas about holiday decorating. Business & Sports Editor Michel Kleiner branched out to write about holiday porcelain and gifts created by Porsgrund in Norway. It encouraged me to get online and order a few new things. After all, what would our Christmas table be without the nisser? And if you want to learn more about nisser, guest contributor Louise Hanson tells us all about them. You can also read about the tradition of Scandinavian hearts in a feature article by Laila Simon, and if you want to make a heart of your own, there are ideas of knitting in Beth Kollé’s review, or check out my Barneblad—yes, I had the joy of rediscovering that tradition, too.
And then there was my holiday travel adventure with Travel Editor Cynthia Elyce Rubin. Our journey took us to Los Angeles, where we saw an extraordinary exhibit of Scandinavian and American modern design, and we traveled to the Danish settlement of Solvang in the California wine country. Needless to say, we had a blast and made some interesting discoveries along the way. We hope you will enjoy reading about it.
This year, above all, I urge you to de-stress a little during the holiday season. This might mean watching a holiday movie (Geir Mæland and John Smistad have some great suggestions), or you may want to order Sissel’s new Christmas CD. There are so many possibilities to enjoy the holiday season.
Yes, Christmas is “a little oasis, an ideal of kindness” in our sometimes chaotic world, so please sit back and enjoy our Christmas issue. From all of us here at The Norwegian American, I wish you a very Merry Christmas—God jul til dere alle!
Lori Ann Reinhall
The Norwegian American
This article originally appeared in the December 2, 2022, issue of The Norwegian American.