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Party Life
Here we present unique experiences from the wild partylife around the world.

Christmas celebration in Norway unlikely without Santa Claus - Part 2 of 2

Santa Claus or Nissen as they call him in Norway is on his way to deliver his Christmas presents. He is the real Santa Claus and travels everywhere.

The Finnish people claim that he lives on the top of the Korvatunturi Mountain in Lapland in northern Finland, but is this true?
Christmas Eve is a long day for the children
On Christmas Eve, the families wake up to a new day and does the last minute house works and shopping. It's a stressing time where people run for their life buying the lasts presents, food and drinks.

There is totally chaotic in the traffic and in shops. It looks like that people think there is no tomorrow.

The Christmas Threes are well decorated (sometimes overloaded) including several small lights spread around and a lightening star on the top. Each tenth of the Christmas Threes in Norway is so far this Christmas in plastic. They don`t smell or fill up the floor in the living room with spruce needles ("barnåler"), or more appropriate called rubbish, as the spruce three do. It`s fake, but anyway I will just say: Plastic fantastic! Around the three there are plenty of presents.

The Christmas Eve is an especially long day for children. They usually kill time by watching TV and sneaking around the Christmas Three in the living room looking for big and hard presents. Sometimes they can not stand their curiosity so they begin to touch the presents to get a feeling of what it could be without unwrapping it. If their parents see that they get very angry.

Photo. A Norwegian man decorates the Christmas Three with his best art skills.

...........but when the women begun to decorate the Christmas Three, it become soon overloaded with all kind of stuff.  

Around 4 p.m. a clock many Norwegian families go to church for making up for all their sins before they get their Christmas presents. Before that parents have prepared the fat Christmas meal which is smoked/dried ribs from a sheep and "grey fat sausages" and it could also be so called "pinnekjøtt" (another kind of cooked salted and/or smoked and dried ribs from a sheep).

So it's time for eating and drinking. When adults drink the strong Norwegian alcoholic traditional Christmas drink "Akevitt", they get very funny and begin to sing Christmas songs. It's a big challenge for parents to get their children to eat with good manners and sit quite during the meal. The children are so excited because of all the presents around the Christmas three that they can't relax. They hope so deeply that Santa Claus has heard their wishes, but as their parents say to their children: if you not behave well, Santa Claus would not show up with presents to you. Santa Claus sees everyone and everything during the year. It just like as the famous pop group Police sings: Every step you take, every move you make, I will watching you…….

After dinner and desert mum and dad clean the table. So walk around the Christmas Three together with the children singing traditional Christmas songs. At the same time the children wait eagerly for the Santa Claus. They look out from the windows hoping to catch a glimpse of their favourite guest.

The real Santa Claus
As mentioned, in Norway the Santa Claus is called "Nissen". Actual he is the real Santa Claus in my opinion. One thing I am sure about is that he is much less commercial than his American colleague (US), who looks like a business man in disguise.

Photo. The real Santa Claus is from Norway.

The Finnish claim that Santa Claus is from Finland, but he is of course from Norway.

Anyway it's not so important where he comes from as far I got my presents (well deserved???), say many.

The children turn very dissapointed if the get "soft" presents for Christmas. They are so spoiled that the start to cry sometimes if they don`t get what they want. So it`s hard to be a "NISSEMANN" - Santa!

My Soumi wife Sirpa is really convinced as the rest of the people from Finland that the real Santa Claus lives on the top of the mountain Korvatunturi in Lapland north in Finland. According to her, being a Santa Claus is a full time job over the year. In the Santa Clause Village in Rovaniemi, Finland, Christmas is a yearlong affair. Though Santa collects lists and delivers presents in a few days before Christmas, workers at the Santa Claus Operations (SCO) centre have to work all throughout the year, monitoring shopping trends, ordering gifts from manufacturers, and packing them ready for delivery.

Santa Claus way to travelling it's something for itself
The Norwegian Santa Claus rides on a sledge pulled by Reindeers leaded by Rudolf the Red Nose Reindeer. That is the fastest way to travel for him. It's much better than flying with SAS and British Airways. Santa comes with special presents to all children, sometimes also to adults.

Image. Santa travels fast by reindeers. He goes up and down, from house to house.

Image. Santa has a hard time squeesing in all the presents in the chimney. 

After he has landed on the house roof, he presses the presents and himself down the chimney. It's not so easy for him since he has a big belly, and he has also a huge sack with big presents.

So he needs to take a break and something strong to drink.

Then he is ready for the deliverance, but first he asks the children whether they have behaved well during the year. Sometimes it's hard for them to give an honest answer, but the Santa Claus is kind and don't judge them too hard. He enjoys giving presents to everyone to bring happiness in people's life. Isn't it the biggest joy to give?

The children both love and fear Santa Claus
The children want Santa Claus so much to come, but at same the time some of them are afraid of him. After a while many of them dare to sit on his knee: but not many dare to drag his beard, and very few dare to lift his hat off. 

Children use mostly porridge to attract Santa to their homes. They set the porrigde by the entrance, and hope that Santa will show up with presents when he sees this. Sometimes the children also set out strong drinks for Santa, which is hardly recommended by their father.

Whenever children, or adults for that matter, have a chance to meet Santa Claus, their heads are full of questions that they want to ask. But the excitement of the actual moment usually makes them nervous, leaving them with only one question: "What was it I wanted to ask?" And so the hundred questions go unanswered. One thing is very important to remember: make a wish for the next Christmas! But how many children remember that when the big man with overgrown hair in his face stands in front of them?

Photo. Children become very excited when Santa opened his big sack.

What`s in the sack? For a while they forgot to be afraid of the strange man in red.

Many children wonder how does Santa Claus have time to deliver all the presents? First of all, he is the master of logistics. He knows the "customers" need and wishes, he is good at planning and administration, he uses effective transport as Reindeers, and because of that he can deliver on time - the right product - to the right customer. 

But how can Santa understand what women want? It`s not easy. I think he has a challenge there!

Santa Claus also takes advantage of the time differences between time zones. When children in Norway and Finland are awake, children in China and Japan are asleep and vice-versa. There is also some magic involved. Sometimes Santa Claus may leave presents for the elves to deliver. The most important thing is that the gifts get there on time.

Dad likes to play with toys too
So the children get busy with their new toys while the grown-ups enjoy their coffee, "Pepperkaker" (cookies, cakes) and drinks. The children fight sometimes when their brother or sister take their new toys. "It's mine", they shout. So their parents have to practise their best skills in peace negotians. Also their childrens` father likes to play with toys. Sometimes the children get angry on their fathers because they get so busy with their toys, and then the trouble starts.

After a while the children get so tired that they fell in sleep with their new toys in their hands, and have to be carried in to bed by their parents. But be sure: they stand up very early in the morning to continue playing with their new toys, and they make a lot of noise. It`s not popular for adults with Akevitt hangover who like to sleep longer, but strong coffee help them to wake up and clear their mind.

The days after
On Christmas day the children wake up to look for more presents under the Christmas Three. Sometimes they find out that Santa Claus has put packages, chocolate, marzipan or fruit in their stockings. That it's that last sign from the Santa Claus, and the children understand that they have to wait another long year for the return of their favourite visitor.

The first and second days of Christmas are usually spent together with family and relatives. The second day is the big party day for adults, also called the Boxing Day in Britain. After this day most people are so tired that they like to relax until the new year start.

During Christmas it's popular for people to disguise themselves with strange masks and costumes. Both children and adults like to do that when they visit friends and neighbours without getting revealed. People who do that in Norway are called julebukker because the look so funny (translated in to English it means "Christmas goats"). Sometimes it could be a real surprise for the host getting such kind of unexpected visitors, but mostly they take it with good humour. It's usual that the host gives Julebukkene something to drink and eat, for example Akevitt, Christmas Beer, chocolate, marzipan or fruits.

I hope my Finnish friends and the rest of the Finnish people finally understand that the real Santa Claus is from Norway. Better proof could not be given!

Since I like travelling, my biggest wish for a Christmas present is a tour to an exotic country where I can relax and reload my batteries for the next Christmas.

The last words before Christmas
So it's just one more thing for me to say:

Have a peaceful time to all of you around the world.

Merry Christmas from Norway!

I send my special greetings to all the Finnish: Santa Claus is definitely Norwegian!

Come to Norway and you will finally meet the real Santa Claus too!

I will also like to send a special Christmas Greetings to the Iranian people. I was in your country in July this year, and you are a really great people. I can not think of a more friendly and hospitable people than you. Perhaps the real Santa Claus comes from your country because you are so kind and nice!

Stein Morten Lund, 8 December 2004

Additional information
Read more about the Party life in Norway and Finland on our website.

Read about Christmas parties at Johns Bar in Oslo 

More information about traditional Christmas dinners in Norway:
A traditional Christmas dinner generally features roast pork ribs in Eastern Norway, and cod, halibut or lutefisk in the coastal districts, even though migration has virtually erased these culinary boundary lines.

The time-honoured rice porridge is still served, but seldom at the main Christmas meal in the evening. More and more Norwegians are turning to turkey, a type of poultry that has not been as common here as in other countries.

Other Christmas specialities include a variety of sweet and salted delicacies. These are as head cheese, prepared in the Danish and German fashion, rather than the French, mutton roll, a similar dish made of lamb, Smoked leg of lamb, many different types of marinated herring, pork sausages and meatballs.

Lutfisk - Lye fish:
Lutefisk is a typical Norwegian speciality and one of our oldest dinners. It has become an increasingly popular choice for pre-Christmas festivities. The process for preparing it is advanced. The fish must first be pounded with a wooden hammer and then soaked in water for many hours. Adding wood ash lye to the water makes the fish particularly soft and flavourful. With right choice of Christmas beer and Akevitt it gives you a unique tasteful adventure.

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