The culture of Norway
is democratic, with a focus on social equality, fairness, open-mindedness, and families. One of the old Norwegian laws stated that a gift should be valued with an equal gift in return. In times of old, exchanges and contracts took place in the form of presents. Even though this was seen as voluntary, gifts were expected to be reciprocated.
This law no longer stands in the modern world, but the etiquette of gift giving still remains. Norwegians take holidays and birthdays quite seriously, so gift giving is commonplace. In the spirit of the festive season, are you looking for a few traditional Norwegian gift ideas?
© Doug Benc / Getty Images
It is the perfect gift for anyone that gets cold in the winter, and for any avid supporter of the Olympic Ski Team. The Dale of Norway sweaters are a beautiful classic Norwegian Christmas
gift. The sweaters are very colorful and made out of highest-quality wool. The knit patterns often include edelweiss flowers, snowflakes or hearts.
Amber can be found on the Scandinavian side of the Baltic Sea, and the Norwegians do place a high value on it because of its warmth and color. Amber is set in pendants, necklaces and bracelets. It is a very elegant gift to give.
© Borevagen CC
Gnomes are the mischievous creatures of fairy tales, the perpetual practical jokers. Garden gnomes are especially a nice welcome gift. A prominent fairy tale creature in Norwegian folklore is the trolls. They can either be giants or dwarfs. Trolls are sometimes carved out of wood or stone.
Rosemaling designs have been around since the 1700’s, and are bright with flowing lines, flowers and scripts. Decorations can be used to brighten up gifts such as plates, clocks, tiles and even shoes.
Most commonly, Nordic designs in jewelry are either made out of pewter or silver, and maritime jewelry (think ships and vikings) is an ever-popular theme. There are many other items made out of these materials in Norway. Models of the Viking ships and other memorabilia are often made out of pewter, and make great gifts or centerpieces on any table.
Norwegian people like to eat different kinds of food. Traditional food items include Norwegian kaviar, assorted cheeses, reindeer meatballs, Lutefisk (raw cod fish), herring, Freia chocolate bars, chocolates, Kavli flatbreads and Marzipan. The Marzipan pig is a fantastic gift for a child. The pig was part of the ancient yuletide ceremonies, long before Christianity spread its way north. It symbolized Freia, the Norse goddess.
The flag of the Norwegian people is red with a blue cross and can be seen displayed in many homes. Miniature flags are sometimes used to decorate the Christmas tree. Interestingly, when flying the flag next to an American flag, the American flag will always be hoisted higher. Hand-painted ornaments and paper hearts with the Norwegian flag make very nice Christmas gifts ideas, and are also used to decorate the tree.
CC Lic. © Finnrind
Do you know someone who is getting married in Norway
? Please take note; this is only to be given as a wedding gift. The couple is presented with a pair of pine trees on their wedding day as a symbol of fertility. The two saplings are planted on either side of the doorway of the house, as a symbol of blessing the house with children.
If you prefer to give flowers, take heed. Do not give carnations, white flowers or lilies, since they are only used at funerals. Likewise, an even number of flowers is related to funeral flowers only. Opt for freshly picked wildflowers or a bouquet of roses instead. Flowers should always be wrapped, and send ahead of time, if possible. A houseplant is also welcome during the winter months.
Tips for Gifts in Business
In business, gifts are not exchanged, but it is common to give a small gift to a colleague. Logo items are acceptable. Upon the successful negotiation of a partnership or contract, a bottle cognac or whiskey is appreciated. Gifts should be wrapped in quality paper, and should never be given at a first meeting, since it can be seen as an attempt to excert undue influence or even bribery.