Nisse parties happen in many kindergartens, primary schools, church and community groups in Norway. They are a casual celebration of the julenisse (Christmas elf) tradition especially for children (but the big kids love them too). Children dress up as little nisse (elves) with red dresses and gowns with white trimming. It is common for children to have painted rosy cheeks with little freckles to complete the look. As soon as we arrived at barnehage (kindergarden), Lilu was on the make-up chair getting all nissed-up.
A regular activity at Nisse parties is dancing around the Christmas tree. Participants make circles around the tree and hold hands as they sing and walk around. They sing standard juletid songs such as Musevisa (The Mouse Song). Grøt (rice porridge) is served with raspberry sauce or cinnamon and sugar.
There is always a knock at the door and the children know who is there. They start singing På loven sitter nissen (In the Barn Sits the Elf) inviting Julenisse to come in. He has with him a sack full of goodies. Clementines, raisins and chocolate are usual treats.
In luck, Julenisse called out Lilu’s name first. However, we hadn’t practiced what to do when Julenisse has a present to give. But she was quick to realise that the present was for her and was very gracious with the biggest ‘takk’. You would think that Lilu would go for the chocolates first but Norwegian children seem to have different favourites. The raisins were the first to be gobbled and then the clementine.