Advent season is the time to prepare for Christmas. The animals are already in the barn, the winter wood supply is cut and stacked and the snow blowers have already had a good run.

Part of the preperations for Christmas is making your own decorations. It is tradition in many communities around Norway to have Christmas workshops. It is a time where family and friends get together for a night (sometimes one night  each week leading up to Christmas) to make gift cards, tree hangs and table ornaments. They put on a big pot of gløgg, load up the plates with Christmas bakery, get out the glue, scissors and anything they can get their hands on to make stuff for Christmas.

Traditionally this was a way to help each other finish the preparations on time for Christmas (Nordmenn in the 1800s during the dark season, with all the evil spirits floating round, thought Christmas workshops were especially important as there is safety in numbers). Today I find these Christmas workshops more to be about sharing good company than getting busy with it. With carols playing in the background and everyone around the table wearing nisse hats or St Lucia costumes, you can’t help but get into the Spirit of Christmas.

decorations1

What you need to have your own Norwegian Christmas workshop:

A table full for people!  – You can either get everyone to bring all their bits and bobs from home to pool together or buy all the crafty-making stuff and divide the cost.  It’s a time of sharing.

A craft plan – if you want to make the most out of your craft making then it is best to have a couple of set projects to accomplish during the workshop.  You can have a theme such as ‘Christmas cards’ and then work on all the different types of cards for Christmas – greeting cards, table place cards and decorative cards to hang on the tree or as a window chain.  A couple of people beforehand can source materials, come up with artistic designs and then lead the group on how to do them at the workshop.

Food – gløgg and hot chocolate are usual drinks.  Lucia cakes, gingerbreadjulekake and Norwegian seven sort cookies are regular treats.

Over the next few weeks we will bring you some ideas on traditional Norwegian Christmas crafts and decorations but if you want to get started early you can always have a pepperkake party – make, bake and decorate.  We have recipes for pepperkaker with decoration ideas:

Regular Peppekaker Recipe

Farmor’s Peppekaker Recipe

Decorating Peppekaker

Peppekake Christmas tree