Passing along Norwegian Traditions

^^ Greta’s face in this is priceless! Sheer jealousy. 😉 ^^

You’re probably wondering why I wear this dress every year around Christmas… And why it is so special to me! Both my Mormor and Poppy Per (my Dad’s parents) are from Norway. They immigrated to the United States in 1948, and this is where they found love, got married, and started a family together. Although they were proud to be American, they taught all of us, their grandchildren, to be proud of our Norwegian heritage. They instilled traditions like baking Norwegian goodies, eating traditional food, and wearing the traditional dress, called ‘bunad’. I have worn a bunad every Christmas Eve since I was a baby. My parents brought this bunad home from Norway when I was ten, and I have refused to grow out of it ever since! Ha! It has all sorts of safety pins in it, especially this year because, HELLO POSTPARTUM! Speaking of babies… I was seriously giddy dressing Lucy and Greta in their bunads this year. Don’t they look like they are straight out of a fairytale!? It brings back so many memories of my own childhood, and the magical feeling of Christmas.

Christmas has always been a magical time of the year for me, but this year we are opening a new chapter, and my heart is aching. As you may know from previous posts, my Poppy Per passed away this year. So this will be the first Christmas that both of my Grandparents won’t be here. Every Christmas Eve we have celebrated with all our extended family, to gather around a giant table for a Norwegian feast. It was so magical with everyone dressed up in their bunads, singing songs around the table, and a Christmas program read by my Poppy in his cute accent. It was my favorite part about Christmas, and I have a big lump in my throat thinking that we won’t be doing that anymore. I’m feeling especially sensitive because their house sold today, and it’s weird to think of a different family moving into that home where we all used to gather. My sister Heather said it best, “Just because a chapter is closed, doesn’t mean that we can’t peek back through it’s pages.” – I will forever cherish the memories of reading about baby Jesus, running around with my cousins, finding the almond in the rice pudding, and looking out those big back windows for Santa in the sky! I have to remind myself that it wasn’t the house that made everything so special, but it was the people in it. This year will be very different, but I’m looking forward to passing along these traditions, and making Christmas magical for my own children. It’s bringing me back to the true meaning of Christmas. I’m reflecting on how thankful I am that families are forever, and of the love that our Savior has for each of us!

Shoes: Madewell
Photos by Alisha Gregson



  1. JoAnn Devine
    December 12, 2016 / 10:39 am

    I started following your blog, because I am also a Devine. How exciting to also see the connection to Norway. My grandparents also came from there nearly 100 years ago. We have many Norwegian Christmas traditions, in addition to all the wonderful baked goods I love making Flettehjerter (Woven Heart Baskets) for our tree.
    My husband and I went to Oslo and southern Norway near Arendal to see my family homes. While there it was so nice to see that Norwegians still dress in their local dress (including the beautiful wedding pins) for special occasions. God Jul to your family.

  2. December 12, 2016 / 11:09 am

    These pictures are so precious. Such a neat tradition and love the outfits!! ❤️❤️

  3. December 12, 2016 / 5:52 pm

    Oh I love this post and all the details about your Norwegian Christmases! I’ve wanted to know more about it. So sorry to hear about your grandpa, though. I lost mine four years ago and you’re right: it wasn’t the same without him there to play Christmas carols on his grand piano or any of the other special things. But I’m thankful for those wonderful memories. <3

  4. December 13, 2016 / 6:57 pm

    I love these photos so much! I have a Norwegian grandmother (although it was her great-grandparents who immigrated to America in the mid-1800’s – but we still make lefse & krumkakes every year at Christmastime.)

    Where did you get the little girl bunads? I have looked for one before but couldn’t find anywhere to buy, would love one for my daughter (would love one for myself too, but I have heard they are quite expensive.)

    What region of Norway does your bunad represent? My Norwegian ancestors came from Telemark & Hallingdal.

    • Michaela B
      December 28, 2016 / 3:33 pm

      I am wondering the same thing about where to buy the children’s bunads. In preparation for Syttn de Mai this year I resorted to buying some trimming and silver buttons from a Norwegian store in WI and am going to have my mom make it. We’ll see how they turn out!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *