My Norwegian Holiday

Hallmark hygge

Image courtesy of Hallmark Channel
My Norwegian Holiday is a light-hearted rom-com to brighten your holiday and the entire year.

John Smistad
Olympia, Wash.


JJ is grieving the loss of her beloved grandmother. At the same time, she is also seeking doctoral degree dissertation inspiration. And she is about to embark upon an unexpected holiday destiny.

JJ meets Henrik, a Norwegian by way of Bergen. Their connection deepens when he finds that JJ owns a troll figurine from his hometown.

To explore the little rascal’s history together with her grandmother’s ties, JJ agrees to join Henrik on an excursion to Norway. In Bergen, they’re drawn into Henrik’s family Christmas and wedding traditions, as his sister is getting hitched the day before Christmas Eve.

And amid all the frolic and festivity, JJ uncovers the troll’s origins as she discovers her own path to healing, love, and family.

My review:

You’ve seen one Hallmark Channel movie, you’ve seen ’em all. Am I right?

Boy meets girl. Girl is not impressed by boy. Boy gradually charms girl. Together, they team up to triumph over challenges.

And at the end of two hours, of course, comes the always much-anticipated lingering kiss to fortify their future together.

Rest assured that this tried-and-true formula is very much alive and well in the new Hallmark Channel Christmas-themed tale, My Norwegian Holiday.

And yet, as is commonly the case, the predictable plot points manage to entertain and to touch even the biggest “bah humbugs” among us. And, let’s face it, venn, included in such stoic stock are “just a few” of us Norse.

Non-spoiler alert: Sure, the sprightly grad student JJ (Rhiannon Fish, who bears more than a slight resemblance to Renée Zellweger) and the broken downhill ski stud Henrik (Dutch hunk David Elsendoorn, who puts one in the mind of Brad Pitt) are going to meet cute. At first, they resist each other’s beguiling ways. Then, scale a tower of tumult together. And, finally, smooch to beat the band to cue the closing credits.

Still, any movie that pokes eye-winking fun at our proud norsk curmudgeoness and curious customs is worth a go, ja? If anyone can take it, we can, gode brødre og søstre!

Cases in point:

Henrik discussing prevailing attitudes toward social distancing in Norway: “Six feet?  Why so close?”

Henrik’s matriarchal grandmother advising a less than appreciative JJ as regards to goat cheese: “It’s an acquired taste.”

A shot of JJ tossing yet another pair onto an ever-rising Christmas gift stack of socks.

A stunned JJ surveying the mandatory tabletop completely camouflaged by cakes at the wedding reception.

The groom to be, when informed by his future bride that he has told her but once that he loves her: “I’ll let you know if anything changes.”

Henrik to JJ after the woman rises from her seat and walks away in a huff when bid a good morning on a Bergen commuter train: “Don’t talk to people you don’t know.”

I am forever a sucker for such silliness. And I’m just willing to bet it’ll turn that frown upside down on even the most cynical of Scandies.

Yes, My Norwegian Holiday is Hallmark hygge at its best. Christmas may be over, but that doesn’t mean that the fun has to stop. You can still take in this cozy, comforting film throughout the month of January and all year  round—sit back and enjoy!

Ready for more Norwegain Christmas films? Why not check out the mini-series A Storm for Christmas? A Storm for Christmas and its crazy cast of characters (Dec. 2023)

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John Smistad

John Smistad is a published author of short stories, poems, essays, and movie reviews. He lives and loves with his family and cat in the Puget Sound area of Washington state. He is the fiercely proud son of a native Norwegian dad. (He loves his mom, too.) You can follow him as on his blog at