Christmas | 24 postcards from the land of Norway

With Christmas comes the turning of the sun, and the promise of a new year. Enjoy these traditional and vintage Norwegian Christmas cards - 24 in all.
LA Dahlmann | talk NORWAY
The nisse-family coming out from the barn to get their Christmas porridge. | Artist: Othar Holmboe - Damm cc pdm.
The nisse-family coming out from the barn to get their Christmas porridge. | Artist: Othar Holmboe - Damm cc pdm.

In this advent calendar of images, you will find 24 examples of how artists and photographers have interpreted the spirit of the Norwegian Christmas.

The nisse, one of the most familiar creatures of Scandinavian folklore, is a frequent guest in many of the pictures. It is a being with roots stretching far back into the depths of history, long before the introduction of Christianity, which took place around the turn of the second millennium AD.

1 December

The joyful spirit of Christmas. | Artist: Wilhelm Larsen - Damm nb.no cc pdm.
The joyful spirit of Christmas. | Artist: Wilhelm Larsen – Damm nb.no cc pdm.

2 December

Christmas at Finse, Ulvik, Hordaland, Norway in 1913. | Photo: Anders Beer Wilse - Alex Vincent nb.no cc pdm.
Christmas at Finse, Ulvik, Hordaland, Norway in 1913. | Photo: Anders Beer Wilse – Alex Vincent nb.no cc pdm.

3 December

Off to Christmas celebrations. | Artist: Wilhelm Larsen - Damm nb.no cc pdm.
Off to Christmas celebrations. | Artist: Wilhelm Larsen – Damm nb.no cc pdm.

4 December

Father brings home the Christmas tree. | Artist: Jenny Nystrøm - Mittet & Co. AS nb.no cc pdm.
Father brings home the Christmas tree. | Artist: Jenny Nystrøm – Mittet & Co. AS nb.no cc pdm.

5 December

Wedding celebrations at Christmas. | Artist: Wilhelm Larsen - Damm nb.no cc pdm.
Wedding celebrations at Christmas. | Artist: Wilhelm Larsen – Damm nb.no cc pdm.

6 December

Two nisse-men playing cards at Christmas. | Artist: Nils Bergslien - H. Abel nb.no cc pdm.
Two nisse-men playing cards at Christmas. | Artist: Nils Bergslien – H. Abel nb.no cc pdm.

7 December

Norway at Christmas. | Photoartist unknown - Henriksen & Steen nb.no cc pdm.
Norway at Christmas. | Photoartist unknown – Henriksen & Steen nb.no cc pdm.

8 December

After Christmas porridge and beer, it is time for a good nisse-sleep. | Artist: Julius Holck - Fredrikson, John, Bog & Kunstforlag nb.no cc pdm.
After Christmas porridge and beer, it is time for a good nisse-sleep. | Artist: Julius Holck – Fredrikson, John, Bog & Kunstforlag nb.no cc pdm.

9 December

Christmas celebrations. | Artist: Othar Holmboe - J. H. Küenholdt A/S nb.no cc pdm.
Christmas celebrations. | Artist: Othar Holmboe – J. H. Küenholdt A/S nb.no cc pdm.

10 December

A nisse and a pig - both wanting the Christmas apple. | Artist: Jenny Nystrøm - H. Abel nb.no cc pdm.
A nisse and a pig – both wanting the Christmas apple. | Artist: Jenny Nystrøm – H. Abel nb.no cc pdm.

11 December

Christmas presents from afar. | Artist: Othar Holmboe - J. H. Küenholdt A/S nb.no cc pdm.
Christmas presents from afar. | Artist: Othar Holmboe – J. H. Küenholdt A/S nb.no cc pdm.

12 December

Two nisse-men wishing you a merry, merry Christmas. | Artist: Christian Magnus - Eberh. B. Oppi kunstforlag nb.no cc pdm.
Two nisse-men wishing you a merry, merry Christmas. | Artist: Christian Magnus – Eberh. B. Oppi kunstforlag nb.no cc pdm.

13 December

Singing around the Christmas tree. | Artist: Othar Holmboe - J. H. Küenholdt A/S nb.no cc pdm.
Singing around the Christmas tree. | Artist: Othar Holmboe – J. H. Küenholdt A/S nb.no cc pdm.

14 December

Merry Christmas from Norway. | Artist unknown - nb.no cc pdm.
Merry Christmas from Norway. | Artist unknown – nb.no cc pdm.

15 December

Bringing the Christmas porridge to the nisse-family in the barn. | Artist: Oscar Lærum - Fredrikson, John, Bog & Kunstforlag nb.no cc pdm.
Bringing the Christmas porridge to the nisse-family in the barn. | Artist: Oscar Lærum – Fredrikson, John, Bog & Kunstforlag nb.no cc pdm.

16 December

Christmas play. | Artist: Gudmund Stenersen - Mittet & Co. AS nb.no cc pdm.
Christmas play. | Artist: Gudmund Stenersen – Mittet & Co. AS nb.no cc pdm.

17 December

A good old Christmas nisse-party. | Artist: Thorvald Rasmussen - Mittet & Roloff nb.no cc pdm.
A good old Christmas nisse-party. | Artist: Thorvald Rasmussen – Mittet & Roloff nb.no cc pdm.

18 December

Christmas means extra food for everyone. | Artist: Gudmund Stenersen - Mittet & Co. AS nb.no cc pdm.
Christmas means extra food for everyone. | Artist: Gudmund Stenersen – Mittet & Co. AS nb.no cc pdm.

19 December

The barn-gnomes (nisse) are playing. | Artist: Halfdan Gran - Prospekt nb.no cc pdm.
The barn-gnomes (nisse) are playing. | Artist: Halfdan Gran – Prospekt nb.no cc pdm.

20 December

Christmas greetings from a mountain farm. | Artist: Anders Beer Wilse - nb.no cc pdm.
Christmas greetings from a mountain farm. | Artist: Anders Beer Wilse – nb.no cc pdm.

21 December

A nisse in the cowshed. | Artist: Halfdan Gran - Prospekt nb.no cc pdm.
A nisse in the cowshed. | Artist: Halfdan Gran – Prospekt nb.no cc pdm.

22 December

A nisse is getting a Christmas ride with a witch. | Artist: Gustav Lærum - Eberh. B. Oppi kunstforlag nb.no cc pdm.
A nisse is getting a Christmas ride with a witch. | Artist: Gustav Lærum – Eberh. B. Oppi kunstforlag nb.no cc pdm.

23 December

Reading from the Bible at Christmas. | Artist: Jenny Nystrøm - Mittet & Co. AS nb.no cc pdm.
Reading from the Bible at Christmas. | Artist: Jenny Nystrøm – Mittet & Co. AS nb.no cc pdm.

24 December

The nisse-family coming out to get their Christmas porridge. | Artist: Othar Holmboe - Damm cc pdm.
The nisse-family coming out from the barn to get their Christmas porridge. | Artist: Othar Holmboe – Damm cc pdm.

Our most recent posts

My Norwegian heritage

The rose painted chests of Norway - a treasure that will live for centuries to come.
The horse settled in the Scandinavian landscape after the last ice age. Let us meet this majestic animal - and follow in its footsteps.
The Fjord horse is one of today’s oldest and purest horse breeds. Its historical habitat is Norway's western coast, with its deep fjords and steep mountainsides.
In the old Norwegian farming society, a husmann was a man who was allowed to build his home on a small section of a farm’s land, and pay with his labour instead of rent.
On 9 April 1940, German forces attacked Norway in the early hours of the morning. The Norwegian armed forces attempted to stave off the attack, but they were in no way prepared for this monumental task.
Uekte and ekte are Norwegian adjectives that in one context means illegitimate and legitimate - as in a child born outside or inside a marriage.
It is said that all people are equal in Heaven. But the historical churchyard shows us that no such equality applied here on Earth.
The first half of the 1900s came with a momentous change to Norwegian society. The old ways of the ancient hunting and farming culture were rapidly dying.
With a growing population and public sector, Norway pushed through significant reforms in several areas: public structure and organisation, welfare, health care, tax, policing, public services, and more.
For the old Norwegians, making butter was simply a way of preserving the fresh summer milk - turning it into a type of food that could be stored.
The spinning wheel was a lifelong companion for most women in the old Norwegian farming society. Enjoy this video-collection of wonderful vintage photographs.
For more than a thousand years, Norwegian farmers sent their livestock to feed in the forests and the mountains. Today, this way of life has almost disappeared.
One of the oldest Norwegian instruments is the birch trumpet. But is it really an instrument at all - or did it originally have a completely different purpose?
In the year AD 1537, King Christian 3 of Denmark-Norway embraced the Lutheran Reformation, and the Norwegians went from being Catholics to Protestants. The king confiscated the Catholic Church’s considerable wealth, a welcomed addition to the royal coffers. Norway more or less ceased to exist as a sovereign state and became a province under Denmark.
The hour of twilight is when the daylight starts to disappear – before it is completely dark. In the old Norwegian farming society, this was a time for rest.
The wild ocean world of Værøy in Lofoten, Norway, was the birthplace of Mimmi Benjaminsen – born in 1894. Here are some of her childhood memories.
From the early 1800s and well into the 1900s, Norway was a significant exporter of natural ice. But how did they prevent the ice from melting?
Kantslått is a Norwegian noun that means (1) the grass that is cut along the edges of a field, a road, etc. or (2) the actual process of cutting this grass. Traditionally, the grass was used as animal fodder.
Folklore and old folk tales often depict The Black Death in the shape of an ashen-faced old woman. Her name was Pesta.
10 July is the feast day of Saint Knut - Knutsok - and marks the beginning of the haymaking season - høyonna - in the old Norwegian farming calendar.
The oldest wooden buildings in Norway are almost 1000 years old - like Urnes stave church in Luster. How come these buildings do not rot away and disappear?

Follow us on social media

Norwegian history