Through the eyes of children

Photo: Innovation Norway

Photo: Innovation Norway

Favorite Norwegian Christmas songs loved by kids of all ages

By Heidi Håvan Grosch

Norwegian American Weekly

I have been working at a local barnehage (childcare center) this month, organizing the making of Christmas crafts (juleverksted). Despite having clothes full of glue and a stiff neck and knees from kneeling down, I am rapidly getting into the Christmas spirit. The children are so excited, talking about wrapping up their birdfeeders (made out of milk cartons) and their Christmas ornaments (made out of plaster) for various members of their family. Almost daily they go home with clothes covered in glitter, and the smell of pepperkaker (ginger cookies) is a daily occurrence. Not a bad place to work!

At the barnehage, we have decorated one of the trees on the playground with lights, and during playtime it is not unusual to see the little ones holding hands and dancing around it singing songs. This is, after all, Norway.

And what songs are they singing?

Musevise (The Mouse Song)

Musevise is a Norwegian Christmas Carol (sung to a traditional Norwegian tune) written by Norwegian icon Alf Prøysen in 1946 for NRK (the Norwegian Broadcasting Company). As we all know mice are pests, and Alf Prøysen was hesitant to feature them in a Christmas carol. But he need not have worried for now it is a Christmas classic here in Norway and most can at least sing the refrain.

Når nettene blir lange
 og kulda setter inn, (When the nights are long
 and the cold sets in)

så sier vesle musemor
 til ungeflokken sin:
 (the small mouse mother tells her young ones,)

“Hvis ingen går i fella,
 men passer seg for den,
 (If no one gets caught in the trap, and you watch out for it)

skal alle sammen snart
 få feire jul igjen!” (we will all soon celebrate Christmas again!)


Heisan og hopsan og fallerallera!

Om julkvelden da
 skal alle sammen være glad!
 (On Christmas eve everybody will be happy!)

Heisen og hopsan og fallerallera!

Om julekvelden da 
skal alle sammen være glad! (On Christmas eve everybody will be happy!)

2. Ja, musemor er flittig,
 hun tar et stykke kull
 (yes, the mouse mother is busy, she takes a piece of coal)

og sverter tak og vegger 
i sitt lille musehull, 
(and blacks out the ceiling and walls of her little mouse hole,)

mens barna feier golvet 
og danser som en vind
 (while the children sweep the floor and dance around like the wind)

og soper borti krokene
 med halen sin. (and sweep the corners with their tails.)


3. Omsider kommer kvelden
 som alle venter på,
 (Finally the evening that everyone has been waiting for is here,)

og musefar, han trekker fram 
en støvel uten tå.
 (and the mouse father pulls out a toeless boot.)

Den pynter de med spindelvev
og småspiker og sånn,
 (They decorate it with spiderwebs, little nails etc…)

så putter de en flaskekork 
i hempa på’n. (and they put a cork in the back loop of the boot.)


4. Og musefaren sier: 
“Nå skal vi danne ring,
 (And the mouse father says, “Now we’re going to form a ring,)

la støvlen stå i midten,
så går vi rundt omkring.
 (put the boot in the center and we will go around it.)

Vi gir hverandre halen
 som vi kan leie i,
 (We will give each other our tails to hold,)

og en og to og tre,
og så begynner vi!” (and one, two, three, then we begin!”)


5. Og julematen deres,
 det er ei lita nøtt,
 (And your Christmas dinner is a little nut,)

og så et stykke dropspapir 
for den some liker søtt.
 (and a bit of candy wrapper for those who likesomething sweet.)

Og musemor har stillet opp 
en fleske bit på skrå,
 (And the mouse mother has set up a piece of pig fat at an angle,)

og den får alle sammen 
lov å lukte på. (And everyone can come and smell it.)


6. Ja, musebestemora 
er også kommet inn,
 (Yes, the mouse grandmother is also here,)

nå sitter hun og koser seg 
i gyngestolen sin.
 (and she sits and relaxes in her rocking chair.)

Det æ’kke or’ntli’ gyngestol,
 d’er no’ som alle vet,
 (It’s not a real rocking chair, it’s something everyone will recogniz,e)

hun sitter der og gynger 
på en stor potet. (she sits and rocks in a large potato.)


7. Og bestemora gjesper 
og sier slik som så:
 (And grandmother yawns and says,)

“D’er morosamt med jula
for dessa som er små.
 (“Christmas is fun for the little ones.)

Hvis ingen går i fella,
 men passer set for den,
 (If no one gets caught in a trap,)

skal alle om et år 
få feire jul igjen!” (we will all celebrate Christmas again next year!”)


To hear the tune go to:

På låven Sitter nissen

1. På låven sitter nissen med sin julegrøt,
 (the Christmas elf is sitting in the barn with his Christmas porridge,)

så god å søt,så god å søt. 
(so good and sweet, so good and sweet.)

Han nikker, og han smiler, og han er så glad,
 (He nods and smiles and he is so happy,)

for julegrøten vil han gjerne ha. (because Christmas porridge is what he really wants.)

2. Men rundt omkring står alle de små rotter, 
(But round and about are standing all kinds of small rats,)

og de skotter, og de skotter. 
(and they are watching and watching.)

De vil så gjerne ha litt jule godter, 
(they would also like to have a little Christmas treat,)

og de danser, danser rundt i ring. (and they are dancing, dancing around in a circle.)

3. Men nissen, se han truer med sin store skje:
 (but the Christmas elf shakes his large spoon and says,)

“Nei, bare se, og kom avsted,
 (No, get lost! #@%^!!&%@,)

for julegrøten min den vil jeg ha i fred,
 (because my Christmas porridge is just for me,)

og ingen, ingen vil jeg dele med.” (and I am not sharing it with anyone else!)

4. Men rottene de hopper, og de danser,
 (but the rats hop and dance,)

og de svinser, og de svanser, 
(and they wag their tails and scurry about,)

og de klorer etter grøten og de stanser,
 (and they scratch at the porridge and stop,)

og de står om nissen tett i ring. (and they stand around the Christmas elf in a tight circle.)

5. Men nissefar, han er en liten hissigpropp,
 (but the elf father has a little temper tantrum,)

og med sin kropp han gjør et hopp.
 (and he jumps with his whole body.)

”Jeg henter katten hvis de ikke holder opp!
  (“I will get the cat if you keep this up!)

Når katten kommer skal det nok bli stopp.” (When the cat comes there will definitely be a stop to this.”)

6. Da løper alle rottene så bange,
 (the rats were so afraid they ran,)

ja, så bange, ja, så bange,
 (yes, very afraid, yes very afraid,)

og de svinser, og de svanser noen gange,
 (and they wag their tails and scurried around and around,)

og i en, to, tre så er de vekk. (and one, two, three they disappear.)

To hear the tune, go to:

May your Christmas and New Year be filled with beautiful music.

This article was originally published in the Jan. 17, 2011 issue of the Norwegian American Weekly. For more information about the Norwegian American Weekly or to subscribe, call us toll free (800) 305-0217 or email

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