Friday, January 22, 2010

A Look Back at Christmas 2009

I packed up our Christmas decorations earlier this month and, as I seem to do every year, found myself wondering if I’d done enough to bring my Norwegian heritage into my family’s holiday celebration. As a 100-percent Norwegian American married to a “melting pot” American, it’s up to me to carry the heritage torch for our young family—three boys ages seven to three with a fourth addition set to arrive this spring.

This year, as every year, we decorated a small Christmas tree with Norwegian flag garland and knit heart ornaments. We had a traditional meal of torsk, lefse, and Swedish meatballs on Christmas Eve. (My mom reminds us every year that the Swedes “stole” the meatball recipe from the Norwegians, so we’re not being too traitorous in including Swedish meatballs in our Norwegian feast.) On Christmas day we snacked on open-face sandwiches topped with rollepølse and spike mör mail ordered from Renner Corner Locker, in Renner, South Dakota. And my siblings and I shared some stories with our kids about the Christmas celebrations we experienced at our grandparents’ farm in Baltic, South Dakota—a bicentennial homestead settled by my great-great grandparents in 1864 when they emigrated from Trondheim.

But in comparison to my childhood Christmases, which were infused with Norwegian food, baking, language, music and traditions, the Christmases that I’m creating for my children seems much less culturally rich. Was our 2009 Christmas rich in other ways? Absolutely. In fact, my husband and I agreed that, in my ways, this was our favorite Christmas yet.

Still, the hope for a “more Norwegian” 2010 Christmas celebration persists. As a contributing editor to Viking magazine as well as a Sons of Norway member, I would love to hear how your family celebrated your Norwegian heritage this holiday season. Send your ideas and inspirations to me at

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