Glaedelig Lille Julaften

Dear Diva Readers,

top: 5px; float: left; color: white; background: #781300; border: 1px solid darkkhaki; font-size: 80px; line-height: 70px; padding-top: 1px; padding-right: 5px; font-family: times;”>Did you know that in Norway on the day before Christmas Eve there is a holiday? It’s called Lille Julaften – Little Christmas Eve. When I asked a Norwegian friend to explain this holiday her response was simple, “It’s the day we celebrate the start of the celebration!”  To me that sounded like a brilliant excuse for a party and so I’ve decided in my house we’ll start the celebration here early too! 

Traditionally this was the day when Norwegians finalized their preparations for Christmas Eve.  Families decorate their Christmas trees with handmade paper Christmas baskets called Julekurv which are woven together with red and green paper and then filled with fruits, candy, and nuts.  Intrigued by the idea, I decided it was the perfect tradition to learn to do with my nieces and nephews – so this year we’re making our own Christmas baskets with this easy step-by-step primer

We’ll then take our home-made baskets and use them to decorate my sister’s Christmas tree! 

Speaking of Norwegian traditions, did you know that the famous Christmas tree in London’s Trafalgar Square has been an annual gift to the people of London by the city of Oslo each year since 1947 as a token of gratitude for British support of Norway during the Second World War?  What a wonderful way to celebrate a friendship!  

Photograph above courtesy of Livin’ Sponge blog

Glaedelig Lille Julaften!
The Antiques Diva®

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Author: Toma Clark Haines

Toma Clark Haines is a Global Tastemaker, Speaker, Writer & Entrepreneur; and founder and CEO The Antiques Diva® & Co, Europe, Asia and America's largest Antiques Sourcing & Touring Company.

  • I’m so excited you wrote this! My family has celebrated Lille Julaften forever! I don’t know where this tradition started (Santa Lucia?) but we dress in mostly white, and make an all-white dinner (scalloped potatos, cauliflower wreath, lefse, lutefisk, pork tenderloin, etc.), light a ton of candles and all the Christmas lights and sing Christmas carols! For us, it’s an equally big event as Christmas Eve and Christmas Day, and my friends and employers have always thought I was making it up. Thanks for doing a little research and posting this up! Keep up the good work, AD&C!
    (Also, John, my ancestors were from Bergen too…we’re probably related.) 🙂

    • I got an e-mail yesterday from a cousin on the Norwegian side of the family (now living in Mobile, Ala.), with the message “glaedelig lille julaften.” No pastries, though.

  • Thank you for this. My grandparents, born in Bergen, exchanged the greeting “glaedelig lille Julaften” with everyone they met on December 23 every year. That and the delicious Norwegian pastries they made are among my fondest memories.