Countdown to Christmas 2016 - Week 1 - Norway

Christmas in Trondheim, Norway; photo by PLANET LEW


This past weekend started the fifth annual “Countdown to Christmas 2016” collection hosted each year by Julie and Blu of Blue Morning Expressions.  It is a way for handmade artisan and vintage sellers to share three of their items each week, each one perfect for Christmas gift giving.  I will pick my favorite item each week and share them here in this blog.  

Also, I plan on sharing a bit about how different countries around the world celebrate Christmas.  This week, Norway is highlighted:



Repurposed Necklace with Vintage Flower Focal and Amethyst Gemstones Handmade by Sharon of BlondePeachJewelry



Christmas wasn't celebrated in Norway until about 1000 or 1100 when Christianity first came to the area. Before this people celebrated jul or jòl in the middle of winter. It was a celebration of the having finished and stored the harvest and a way of looking forward to the spring. Lots of juleol (beer) was brewed and drunk in honour of the old pagan Scandinavian gods.

Today, Christmas Eve is the time when gifts are are exchanged. The gifts are sometimes brought by Santa Claus (called Julenissen in Norway). Presents can also be brought by small gnomes, called Nisse, and a rice porridge is sometimes left out for them since they are believed to safely guard farm animals. A sheaf of wheat is often left out for the birds to eat over Christmas. In parts of Norway, families light a candle every night from Christmas Eve to New Year's Day.



Giant Ladybug Pushpins Thumbtacks for Bulletin and Cork Boards Handmade by Julie of BlueMorningExpressions



The main Christmas meal is normally pork or mutton ribs served with surkal (white or red cabbage, finely chopped and cooked with caraway seeds and vinegar) and potatoes. Many different types of cakes and biscuits are eaten over the Christmas holidays.  One of the most popular is a special bread called Julekake that has raisins, candied peel and cardamom in it. Rice porridge is eaten on Christmas Eve either as a meal at lunchtime (served with butter, sugar and cinnamon) or as a dessert to the main evening meal (with whipped cream mixed in). If you find an almond in your portion you're traditionally given a pink or white marzipan pig.

Maybe the most famous Norwegian Christmas custom is the huge Christmas tree that Norway gives to the United Kingdom every year. The tree is given as a tusen takk (thank you very much) for the help that the people of the UK gave to Norway during World War II. The tree stands in Trafalgar Square in the middle of London and often hundreds of people come to watch when the lights are turned on.



Versatile Boho Wrap Bracelet / Necklace with Freshwater Pearl Hoop Earrings Handmade by Mary of PrettyGonzo



Now, on to the Countdown to Christmas:

With the fast approaching gift giving season in mind, Julie and Blu of Blue Morning Expressions are hosting a twelve-week Countdown to Christmas 2016 on their BluPrint blog. The twelve week time period was chosen to correspond with the Christmas carol “The Twelve Days of Christmas.”  This week, there were 54 shares by artists of a wide range of handmade gift ideas:  jewelry of all types, knitted shawls and wash cloths, pet themed gifts, crocheted beauties, gift tags, Jewish gifts, fused glass plates, lampwork beads and a whole host of other items.



Hand Knit Orange Pumped Up Pumpkin Wash Cloth or Dish Cloth Handmade by Sharon of HollyknitterCreation



Shop owners on Indiemade, ArtFire, Zibbet, Etsy, SupaDupa, a stand alone website and the like are welcome to share up to three gift items on the Countdown between Friday afternoon at 12:00 p.m. (Eastern time) and Sunday night at 11:59 p.m.  Then a new collection of gift items will begin again the next Friday.  This will continue until the second week in December.  The items shared need to be G-rated.

If you share items on the Countdown to Christmas, you MUST promote the collection and EACH item on at least one social network site, preferably Pinterest where the items can be easily seen and then saved again.  It's only fair to promote each of the participants who have promoted you!



Turquoise and Navy Blue Beaded Gold-Filled Dangle Earrings Handmade by Kathy of KatsAllThat



In addition to saving each item from the Countdown collection to my Pinterest board and Wanelo collection, I decided to share one item from each of the artists who participated. Here are the rest of the items I’m featuring this week, in an order that was arranged by assigning each item a number and then drawing numbers from my trusty “numbers” bowl:



Vintage Inspired Rose Gift Tags, Set of 12 with Different Images, Handmade by Nat of Adore by Nat



Jewish Star of David and Blue Pearl Necklace Handmade by Linda of lindab142



Large Size Triangle Lace Shawl in Autumn Merino Wool Blend Malabrigo Rios Primavera Handmade by Nancy of Nancy's Knots, Lace and More



"Color Symphony" Dichroic Fused Glass Pendant with Curved Silver Tube Bail Handmade by Jo of Umeboshi Jewelry Designs



10mm Medium Red  Lampwork Glass Beads with Shiny Silver Handmade by Charlotte of Covergirlbeads



Irish Crochet Baby Blue Heart with 3D Blue Roses Handmade by Ruth of RSSDesignsinFiber



Pink, Green or AB Clear Swarovski Crystal and Sterling Silver Chain Necklace Handmade by Connie of Thesingingbeader



Black Cat with Glow in the Dark Eyes Sunglass Case or Cell Phone Case Handmade by Donna of SewAmazin



Coral and Orange 8" Fused Art Glass Plate with Stringer Accents Handmade by Kelli of ResetarGlassArt



Porcelain Butterfly Pendant Necklace with Czech Glass Beads Handmade by Barbara of SolanaKaiDesigns



Wood Flower Wall Hanging Clock Handmade by Kevin of KevsKrafts



Hand Knitted Super Bulky Blue and White Stripped Scarf Handmade by Cathy of CraftingMemories1



Ceramic Spirit Horse Totem Necklace with Magnesite and Picture Jasper Handmade by Catherine of Shadow Dog Designs



I hope you have enjoyed this sampling of some of the handmade gift items that can be found in the Countdown collection hosted by Julie and Blu of Blue Morning Expressions.  To see all the items in the collection, please click here: Countdown to Christmas 2016 - Week 1.  I hope that at least one, maybe more, items piqued your interest and made its way to your shopping list.


What will week 2 bring?  MORE handmade and vintage beauties!  I, for one, am looking forward to it!


If you are so inclined, please make my day and leave a comment (:  Also any promotion will be greatly appreciated by everyone featured in this post.  Thank you!



My contact information:


Indiemade shop:  ShadowDogDesigns

Indiemade blog:  ShadowDogDesigns' Blog

Artfire studio:  ShadowDogDesigns

ArtFire Blog:  ShadowDogDesigns' Blog

Google+:  Catherine W

Facebook:  ShadowDogDesigns - Jewelry

Twitter:  ShadowDogDesign

Pinterest:  Shadow Dog Designs

Wanelo:  ShadowDog

Amazine:  ShadowDogDesigns

Rebelmouse:  ShadowDogDesigns

Flickr:  Shadow Dog Designs' Photostream



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Thank you!

How cool! I love the history lesson and explanation of the customs. That downtown scene reminds me of why we were in Bozeman. They had a Christmas stroll that captured my imagination, so it stands to reason that your photo also makes me want to wander around with everyone and window shop soaking in the magic of the season. How funny that an almond gets you a pink pig :D
Thank you for including my ladybug pushpins, and for sharing all the goodies from the blog. It is appreciated.
Cannot wait to see what else everyone has in store for us this year!
Happy Sales to all.

Thank you

Lovely collection, Catherine. Thank you for including my scarf. Shared.


Wonderful blog post Catherine! Really enjoyed reading about Norway's Christmas customs. Beautiful handmade items listed here as well! Thank you.

Enjoyed reading about

Enjoyed reading about Christmas traditions in Norway. Thank you for showing my Swarovski crystal necklaces! Great gifts here!

Wonderful treasures! Thanks

Wonderful treasures! Thanks so much for including my lacy scarf!

Tusen takk!

As always, I learned something new today. I love reading your blog posts, Catherine, as I always learn something new. Plus I get to see so many beautiful handmade creations! Thank you for including my butterfly necklace in this first Countdown To Christmas blog post. Sharing now!

Interesting - with great Countdown picks!

Thanks so much, Catherine, for this wonderful blog post and for including my wrap bracelet-necklace and earrings jewelry set. :) When I lived in Minneapolis during grad school, I always bought julekaka at Christmastime. It was amazingly yummy. Thanks for bringing back the memory! Will be sharing ...

Loved reading about Norway!

Enjoyed reading about a little history and customs in Norway. And loved seeing these beautiful gift ideas. Thanks for including my red lampwork beads.

Thank you!

I still can't believe we're planning for Christmas already! Thank you for including my Black Cat case in your collection for week one of the countdown. sharing :-)

Great Information....

Thank you Catherine for the very informative information regarding Norway! I look forward to seeing what you post about other countries as the weeks go by.
Thank you for including my blue beaded earrings withing the blog. Will be sharing!

Blog Post

It's so interesting to read about different customs. Thank you for the info. and for sharing my Star of David necklace.

Mouth watering blog!

This blog made me think of the fantastic cardamon cake a friend makes every year! It's never too soon to start stashing treasures for those you love. Thanks for including my pendant!

Thank you!

Thank you for all the kind comments, everyone! A pleasure to share all this wonderful work.

Wonderful Article

Hi Catherine,
Thank you for the informative article! And for including my fused glass plate!

What a great way to start

What a great way to start this year Christmas countdown. Great story, great handmade gift ideas. Thanks so much for including my Rose Tags, Catherine!

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