I just love to set the table for our Christmas dinners, it’s my favourite task on Christmas eve. When our Christmas dinner is cooking I sing Christmas carols and set the table. I never plan very much ahead, and if I do I might end up with something quite different. Christmas eve you might ask? Yes in Scandinavia Christmas eve is the most important day of Christmas, actually for many the most important day of the year.
I’m not that fond of using the traditional Christmas red, so I always go for other options, using stuff I already own. This year I wanted to use these burgundy velvet placemats as they go very well with the vibe in our house. Actually when I was visualising this I also had some gold cover plates in mind, but I skipped those. As I said if I plan ahead I always end up with something different. I personally am not a big fan of table cloths, mostly because it’s such a hassle to wash and iron them.
The place mats, plates and napkins are not screaming Christmas, but when I make the centre piece with Christmas effects only you can clearly see this is a table set for a Christmas dinner. A little faux spruce branch on the plate leaves no doubt either.
A bow made of gift ribbon and a small wooden heart makes the wine glasses more festive, and my mums old dessert bowls brings in a breathe from the past. I’m a big fan of something old and something new. The plants on the table are very trendy now here in Scandinavia, so are the velvet. Araucaria heterophylla is a beautiful spruce miniatyr spruce tree and the Christmas rose as we call the Helleborus can even be placed outdoors even here in Scandinavia.
I made this centre piece with my grand daughters in mind, I think they will enjoy this small winter landscape, spruce trees, a deer, a little boy, a small house and even a toy car with a spruce tree. The gold is the “red thread” in this, the gold centre piece, the gold cutlery and the gold flowerpots ties it together. If I replaced the gold with silver it would be a complete different look.
Of course it’s no room for food on this table, so in our home the food is placed in the kitchen and people go serve themselves. A tip about centre pieces, you are most likely to succseed if it’s the same shape as your table. So if you have a round table you should use a round centre piece, if you have a square table a square one.
A little about how we celebrate Christmas in Norway. Christmas decorations are normally not up before the first Sunday of advent. We start out with advent candles which is four candles and we lit one every Sunday until Christmas. Every house has at least one advent star in the window. I use to have several all over the house as I love these stars so much. Traditionally the tree don’t come up before 23rd of December in the evening, some are still following this tradition. After plastic trees taken over more and more we tend to put up the trees earlier and earlier, especially the younger generations. We always have a real tree, last year we actually had a live tree in a pot, soil and all. I decorate the tree the last week before Christmas.
As I told before, Christmas eve is our big day. It’s when we have our traditional Christmas dinner and when we open the presents. So what do we eat? Actually it depends much about where you live. In my part of the country, the west coast, we eat lambs rib, the rib has been salted and dried and in some cases smoked (this does also depend on where you live). 23rd of December we have to remember to put the salted rib in water over night. Christmas eve we steam cook it for hours, and while the the smell is spreading in the house, we watch Christmas films, the same every year, set the table, boil potatoes and prepare the suede mash to serve with the meat. If I don’t eat lambs rib on Christmas it don’t feel like Christmas for me.
In the east of Norway pork rib served with, sausages, potatoes and sauerkraut is the most popular dish and in north of Norway many has fresh cod as their traditional Christmas dinner. No matter where you live and what you eat, one thing we do have in common is the joy of Christmas, and if it’s kids in the house the constant nagging about when we’re going to open the gifts.
Merry Christmas to you all.