Jul in Oslo

How to celebrate a Norwegian Christmas. December in Oslo is a time of celebration and traditions including advent calendars, julenisser, julebord and Lucia.

Jul was a common Nordic term for the great pagan festival celebrated around the winter solstice. This is the day with the shortest time from sunrise to sunset. Today Jul is a holiday based on Christianity and celebrated with Christmas Eve, 24 December, as the highlight of the Christmas celebration.

On Christmas Eve it is common to invite friends and family to a traditional dinner, often pinnekjøtt or ribbe, depending on local traditions. Julenissen (Santa Claus) knocks on the door after dinner and children typically open their presents one by one.

Advent calendar

Norway has two traditional types of advent calendar. A daily television show, with a new episode from 1. December to 24. December.

The other, a chocolate calendar with a numbered door for each day, hiding a small piece of chocolate for children to enjoy in the morning.

Lucia Day 13 December

Celebrated in kindergartens and schools. The children sing songs, parade with lights and wear white clothes. It does not have to be a fancy dress, just a t-shirt or shirt. Parents often join the celebration, and together everyone eats lussekatter. Lussekatt is a type of yeast-baked bun made in the Nordic countries, known for their taste and yellow colour created by saffron spice. They are S-shaped and decorated with raisins.


Julebord comes in all shapes and sizes. It is common to have julebord with your colleagues. This can be a big party, a formal dinner or anything in between. Ask your colleagues about the traditions at your work place, so you know what to expect. You can also have julebord with friends, invite them to a dinner and have fun.

Must-watch during Christmas

In the morning on Christmas Eve, children often watch cartoons and Christmas movies.

Opening hours

In December, opening hours will be determined by the date. Remember to check the opening hours for your local stores and restaurants, especially on public holidays, as they may be closed.

Shops and shopping centres are often open between 2 pm–7 pm on the last three Sundays before Christmas Eve.

24. and 31. December – usually short opening hours

25. and 26. December – public holidays, most shops and restaurants closed.

Emergency numbers

If you are in need of urgent help, you can contact emergency services. Keep in mind that the Christmas holidays can be though, especially if you are away from close friends and family. Reach out if you are in need of any help or support.