Kick off the holiday season with the annual Norwegian Christmas celebration at Vesterheim! Activities in Heritage Park and Bethania Church are free, and admission to the museum’s Main Building is free for youth under age 18.
Enjoy these traditional festive family activities!
Throughout the day in the outdoor setting of Vesterheim Heritage Park, enjoy familiar traditions such as:
• The juletrefest (Norwegian Christmas tree party of singing around a decorated tree) with a visit from the julenisse at 11:30 a.m. and 1:00 p.m.
• Real goats from the Lost Pine Farm in Decorah, Iowa, thanks to Mike and Erin Ryan
• Hot chocolate and Scandinavian s’mores around a fire.
• Don’t be scared by the julebukker, costumed folk who roam the museum complex scaring away evil spirits.
Live music by local musicians will be a feature of the event!
Performances in Bethania Church:
• Northern Lights at 10:30 a.m.
• Decorah Chorale at 11:00 a.m.
• The Decorah High School Madrigal Singers at 11:30 a.m.
• Luren Singers at 1:00 p.m.
• Vidar Skrede at 3:00 p.m.
Performances in the ship gallery in the Main Building include:
• A Touch of Brass at 12:00 p.m.
• Eden Ehm will wander through the Main Building, playing Hardanger fiddle from 2:00-3:00 p.m.
The museum’s Main Building will be decorated for the holidays and visitors will have a chance to make their own craft decorations. Find craft stations throughout the Main Building for making Scandinavian heart baskets, yarn nisse dolls, julenek straw wheat ornaments, and cut paper chains.
It wouldn’t be a holiday celebration at Vesterheim without folk art throughout the Main Building.
• Liz Bucheit will be presenting jewelry
• Beverly Schrandt will be making straw wheat ornaments
• Jane Addams will demonstrate knitting
• The Oneota Weavers Guild will demonstrate weaving and spinning
• Kim Glock, Rebecca Hanna, and Steph Hughes will demonstrate woodworking of all kinds
Norwegian Christmas at Vesterheim is a great time to do your holiday shopping.
• The Museum Store is open from 9:00 a.m.-5:00 p.m. and packed full of great Scandinavian gifts.
• The Oneota Weavers Guild will be in the Westby-Torgerson Education Center near the store to sell items like mittens, scarves, Santas, knit decorations, weavings, and more!
• Many of the folk-art demonstrators will be selling items, as well.
• Decorah’s Junior Nordic Dancers are offering a bake sale with plates of assorted Norwegian cookies, just in time for the holidays.
• The Norman Borlaug Foundation (NBHF) will sell julenek, sheaves of wheat, grown from Borlaug wheat, which was developed in the 1960s by Howard County’s Dr. Norman Borlaug in an effort to address world hunger. In Norway on Christmas Eve, julenek are hung outside to feed the birds. NBHF uses the proceeds of the julenek sales to support supplies for their food program that packages meals for people in areas of the world with food scarcity.