blending traditions

Christmas Around the World

Jeffrey & Marielle share about their blend of American and Norwegian Christmas traditions

We are the “Norwegian Nortons.”

Well not exactly, but that is what we are called when in the US. Marielle is Norwegian and Jeffrey is American. We live in Stavanger, Norway, where we are both teachers.

We met in church in 2012, and our first Christmas together was in 2013, when we decided to travel to the US for Christmas with Jeffrey´s family. Before traveling, we talked about how it would be for Marielle to celebrate Christmas outside of Norway. Would it be difficult for her to not partake in the traditions that she grew up celebrating?

As we discussed these differences, it occurred to us that we could bring some of the Norwegian traditions with us to the US and somehow combine the two. In Norway, the main Christmas day is on Christmas Eve, so we decided we would have a mini Norwegian celebration on Christmas Eve and exchange presents with each other. One of the main dishes that Norwegians eat during Christmas is “Julegrøt” – a Christmas porridge. We decided to bring several packs of this to the US and were able to share this tradition with Jeffrey’s family.

The following year we were in Norway for Christmas, and decided that we would have a little bit of American Christmas. We waited and opened our presents from one another until Christmas morning, just us two.

Since then, we have continued these traditions each year. When in the US, we bring a bit of Norway to the US, and when in Norway, we celebrate a little bit of the American way.

This Christmas will be the first time we will have both traditions in Norway, as we will be with Marielle’s family until December 25, and then Jeffrey’s parents will be coming to Norway for the rest of the Christmas season.

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