3rd Day: Jultomtarnas Marsch (March of the Christmas Elves)

Jultomtarnas Marsch (youtube)
  On the third day we had our first glimpse into a Norwegian Christmas!  As I said before, we are trying to incorporate Norwegian/ Scandinavian traditions as that is a major portion of Northern Minnesota’s population.  Hence the Christmas carol-title being Scandinavian.

  To kick it all off, Marshall & I talked about Norway while doing a Norwegian Christmas Heart.  He loves puzzles so we approached the craft like a puzzle.  We talked about how Norway is north on the globe (much like Minnesota!) so it gets snow too!
He wanted to focus on the weaving instead of taking pictures
(sorry, kid!)

 

“My heart, mama!”
  After we put the Christmas heart to the side we talked about ‘nisse’ or ‘tomte’.  In Norway (and other Scandinavian countries) they have nisse.  Nisse are little elf like gnomes that traditionally live in homes and barns on farms.  They are kind of like guardians and during Christmas time they report to Santa and let him know if the children of the home have been good or not.  It kind of makes me wonder if nisse are the inspiration behind the ever popular “Elf on a Shelf”.  Nisse look a bit more like gnomes though and are usually depicted with towering hats, long beards, and nothing but their nose showing on their face.  Violet even joined in and we made her a nisse too!
Marshall’s we made into a sensory craft- using cotton balls, felt, and a pom-pom

 

His adorable little red nosed nisse

 

Violet’s we traced her hand and cut out three copies for a beard and then stamped her foot for the hat.
I love the way the kids’ nisses turned out! Perfect example of the same craft as different age/ability levels.

 

  Now it was time for dinner.  I love to cook mainly Italian food or traditional comfort food- though I’m known to make a pretty good shrimp fried rice with sweet & sour chicken.  That’s my comfort zone.  I’m pretty far from traditional Scandinavian but I thought it would be fun to switch it up and start making some more traditional meals.  So for tonight I made Norwegian meatballs and gravy over rice with a side of buttered lefse.

 

  Full disclosure: I totally cheated and bought premade lefse.  Lefse is a traditional Norwegian staple- often buttered open face or rolled up with lingonberry or lutefisk.  It’s like a tortilla but instead of a corn flour base its potato.
Thanks for the dinner help, Laura!

 

  It was warm and filling . . . but as they say “if it lacks color, it lacks flavor” and that was pretty par for the course with this meal.  Which is funny since I snuck a bit of extra spice into the meatballs- the Italian in me couldn’t resist.  I can see where meals like this are perfect for when you are working hard and in the cold as it does warm your tummy right up!  Perfect for Norway or Minnesota.  And I had a cute sous chef on my side while cooking, so it’s always a good time regardless!

 

  All in all the third day was a fun day of learning and enjoying a side of the kids’ culture that we don’t often celebrate.  It was our first day of incorporating Minnesotan traditions and culture into our Christmas.  Tomorrow will be another day of celebrating Minnesotan culture as well as getting ahead of the game on the upcoming St. Nicholas day.  God Jul!
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