Kremmerhus Goodie-Bags

Traditionally in Norway kremmerhus were used to carry little bits and bobs bought from the store. Now they serve as a decoration around the house and on Christmas trees.  They can hang on their own but it is much more exciting to find something in them. Christmas is just around the corner and we have already had our first family craft activity.  We got out all our craft making stuff on the table and the first thing we made were kremmerhus goodie-bags for our platter.  Sure it isn't necessary to make a decoration for something that will be eaten within an hour but I've found that it is the little things, the things that are not necessary, that make a Norwegian Christmas quite charming.  A cinnamon stick in the hot chocolate, a little candle at dinner, welcome lights by the front door and an orange and clove advent calendar on the coffee table.  The little home-made touches, the thought, the elegance, the natural, the traditional, and yes, the cleverness, is what I know a Norwegian Christmas to be.  Even if it is only meant to last a little while, like a home-made candle, a bird sheaf or an ice sculpture, it is worth the effort for Christmas. We made our kremmerhus goodie-bags out of baking paper and tape.  They were just cut triangles rolled into a cone filled with nuts and fruit.  This was certainly a big hit with Lilu and Lil' Red.  Somehow the regular food just seemed more special. Christmas is coming and this year we are starting early on My Little Norway in sharing Norwegian traditions, recipes and crafts, so you can perhaps have good time to put a little Norway into your Christmas celebrations.  God jul!

Julebrus or Christmas Soda

Julebrus is a generic term in Norway for soda pop drinks sold at Christmas time.  The tradition started by breweries who would bring out a special beer for Christmas, which continued onto all drinks, and now soda pop. Today julebrus commonly come in two different flavours.  The red coloured julebrus is a cheap raspberry flavour and the brown julebrus is described as champagne, though I would describe both of them as 'creaming soda'. Julebrus hits the shelves in November for the Christmas season, ending in January.  The labels are very attractive with festive and traditional prints.  The bottles themselves become a decorative item on Norwegian Christmas tables.  Each year companies try to top each other in design - Norwegians like to have a 'designer' Christmas. Julebrus is seen as a children's drink and it is usually present at every party and activity leading up to Christmas. Each year there are independent panel tests run the media (usually made up of high school kids).  The drinks normally score from 'hideous' to 'acceptable'.  They often have a wine taster as 'the expert' and in 2009 he described the Coca Cole julebrus as 'sickenly synthetic'.  He went on to say that he admits that he has high standards and would probably like the product better if he was 8 to 10 years old. This year the Norwegian drink maker Grans has come out with a more sophisticated julebrus - pear flavour.  We were eager to try it as the other two choices of julebrus are getting old.  The pear flavour was delightfully refreshing.  It was light and didn't have that plastic aftertaste like the other flavours do.  I think Grans has upped the ante on the quality of julebrus this year.

In the Blue Light Hour – Space for Decorations

During our Norwegian Christmas we have many craft activities.  We usually have two Christmas trees in the house but we still run out of space for all our decorations.  It is fun to use our decorations outside on our living trees on special days.  It is a nice welcoming surprise for our guests.

In the Blue Light Hour – Ice Skating Rink

The forest pond is surrounded by sleeping cloudberries.  This is the local watering hole for our animals during the summer.  In the winter it becomes our personal ice skating rink.

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