How to Do Winter Like a Norwegian
Updated: Apr 26
We are well into the winter months in the northern hemisphere and there are still some weeks to go yet before the official start of spring and the weather begins to look warmer. Many people begin to feel the effects of the long winter months at this point and I am here to offer a little inspiration to power you through those last few weeks before the flowers appear and promise of summer is on the horizon.
The moment the snow falls in Norway everyone is outside, soaking up the reflected sun off the snow and making the most of all the activities that are free in the winter months. There is something energising about finding that other people are outside making the best of the season as well.
I know we are in a difficult situation right now and many people are only able to leave their homes for short periods, but we can still choose the activities we do and really make the experience a special one, more so now than ever before.
How to make the most of winter like a Norwegian:
Start by getting excited about the start of winter and those special moments that are part of winter like the crystal clear light and crisp mornings.
Winter is a perfect time to really enjoy the concept of "hygge". Warm blankets, roaring fires and hot cocoa are best friends with the cold months. They don't fit so well with the warmer months.
Expand your culinary repertoire with some warming winter dishes. For me, casseroles and stews always speak of winter and why not include seasonal produce in your menu. Root vegetables and game are a case in point. Seasonal food is always much cheaper and fresher than imported out of season produce, so you'll be helping your wallet as well as the environment. Of course Norwegian supermarkets stock some of the exotic produce, but there is a strong emphasis on seasonal food and there are even special days to celebrate particular foods that are ideal for that time of year.
If you take part in winter sports, I am probably preaching to the choir here, but for those who don't it's a wonderful opportunity to try out a new sport. Almost every Norwegian does a winter sport of some type or another. It's fun to try new activities and there are winter activities to suit everyone. My favourite is ice skating and I am lucky enough to be able to skate on frozen lakes like the one above (that's my eldest daughter above making the most of winter like any other Norwegian).
Throw another log on the fire! Norwegians love fires, both inside and out. Most people have wood burning stoves going in the winter, even when houses have central heating. There is a comfort in those orange flames. But fires are not entirely confined to indoors. Campfires are also popular in the winter and so many outdoor spaces have "bålpanne" for everyone to use. After a few hours of tobogganing or skiing it's so welcoming to warm your hands around a fire.
Get outside. Don't let the winter weather keep you inside. All Norwegians know that getting outside is best for your mental health, not to mention physical. When it's cold it's tempting to stay inside, but even 20 minutes of sunlight can improve your mood considerably and give you some much needed vitamin D.
Dress for the weather. As you know Norwegians always wear the right clothing for the weather. Be Norwegian and dress for the cold. You will so much happier and enjoy yourself so much more if you are warm and dry. You can read about the Nordic Art of Wearing the Right Outfit here.
Tell me what your favourite winter activities are and how you are making the most of these magical months....
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