Shopping season showed sobriety

It’s been another rollicking pre-Christmas party season in most Norwegian cities, but local residents have been more subdued when it comes to spending money. Tuesday was still expected to become the year’s busiest shopping day, but economists expect the country’s economic downturn to be reflected in retailers’ overall revenues. It was pouring rain in Oslo late Tuesday […]

The secrets of the ‘Christmas calendar’

EXPATRIATE MUSINGS: Axel Johnson is a relatively recent arrival in Oslo, from Sweden. Although many expatriates in Norway may lump the Scandinavian countries together, they have many different customs and, not least, holiday traditions. Johnson has learned a lot the past few weeks about one Norwegian tradition that’s become increasingly elaborate in recent years: the local […]

Christmas markets draw big crowds

It’s high season for Christmas markets in Norway, with Oslo alone offering dozens of them selling everything from handicrafts to moose burgers. They’re not all characterized by peace and goodwill, though: The organizers of Oslo’s biggest market in recent years got caught in a major conflict with city officials, and ended up having to move […]

‘Julebord’ season keeps police busy

The often wild Christmas party season in Norway, known as julebordsesongen, kept police extra busy during the weekend. Instead of celebrating peace on earth, many partying Norwegians seemed intent on disturbing it. “We had quite a lot of calls tied to lack of order and disturbances of the peace,” Gjermund Stokkli, operations leader for the Oslo […]

Eager shoppers latched onto ‘Black Friday’

Like Halloween and Valentine’s Day, another North American tradition called “Black Friday” has become popular in Norway, much to the despair of critics. Thousands of Norwegians stood in lines and even camped outside shopping centers, to cash in Friday on what they believed to be huge discounts on selected merchandise. The fourth Friday in November […]

‘Holiday peace’ finally settled in

PHOTO FEATURE: The Norwegians call it “julefred,” an unusually quiet period that begins around 3pm on “julaften” (Christmas Eve). Stores and offices close for at least two days, many hotels and restaurants already have, and even the public transportation system shuts down for a few hours when the Christmas holidays in Norway officially begin. There […]

Police release suspects in ‘julebord’ death

A company Christmas party arranged by Norway Seafoods in Melbu, Nordland County ended in tragedy over the weekend, when a late-night brawl resulted in the death of an uninvited guest in his 40s. Police arrested three Norway Seafoods employees as suspected assailants, but released them all on Sunday. They remain charged in the case. Mona Madsen, prosecutor for […]

Many already finished with Christmas shopping

Over a million Norwegians, 20 percent of the population, say they’ve already completed their Christmas shopping before the first windows of advent calendars are opened on December 1. A new survey conducted by research firm Response Analyse for SpareBank 1 showed that 350,000 Norwegians buy Christmas gifts throughout the entire year, while another 700,000 do their […]

Christmas tree tradition to get the chop

The Oslo city council wants to end its decades-long tradition of providing Christmas trees to several European cities. The practice is becoming too expensive, too complicated and isn’t environmentally friendly, said Oslo’s Conservative (Høyre) Mayor Fabian Stang. Oslo first sent a tree to Rotterdam in the Netherlands in 1950, to celebrate their ties of friendship […]

Weak sales surprised and disappointed

Norway’s state statistics bureau SSB has confirmed that holiday sales were much weaker than analysts had expected. SSB’s figures follow sales reports from various shopping centers and retail organizations that had shown weak growth earlier as well. SSB reported that retail volume was only 0.1 percent higher in December than in November, while  revenues of […]