Experience the living traditions of a Norwegian Christmas at Vesterheim Norwegian-American Museum Dec. 1 and 2, from 10 a.m. - 4 p.m.

An event that appeals to all ages, Vesterheim's Norwegian Christmas Weekend brings the museum to life with folk-art demonstrations, live music, decorations, hands-on crafts, Scandinavian food and many holiday traditions, both old and new.

"Make our tradition part of your tradition," Martha Griesheimer, who coordinates the event, said. "Some people come to enjoy familiar holiday customs and others come because it's completely new and different for them," she added, "Bring the whole family," she encouraged, "we're offering a special family admission price."

Check vesterheim.org for an updated schedule of the weekend's activities. Sponsored by Jon and Mary Hart, Larry and Diane Grimstad, Rockwell Collins, Farmers & Merchants Savings Bank, and Sons of Norway Valdres Lodge.

Highlights of the weekend include:


• Juletrefest, when young and old join hands and sing Christmas songs while they circle around the tree and hear about Christmas in Norway.

• Julenisse, the Christmas elf, who might bring treats to visitors.

• Julebukker, costumed folk who roam the museum complex during the weekend scaring away evil spirits.


• Hands-on ornament making for children includes Sami braided yarn decorations, woven paper heart baskets, yarn nisse ornaments, and a variety of fun paper ornaments from Norway and pioneer times. "Bring home seven different homemade ornaments for your tree this year," suggests Griesheimer.

• Artists demonstrate figure carving and other forms of woodworking, rosemaling, embroidery, beading, straw-ornament making, spinning and weaving.

• Special exhibitions-"A Sense of Place: A Carl Homstad Retrospective," "Childhood," and "The Sami Reindeer People of Alaska."


• Several Decorah-area musicians and vocal groups will help create a festive atmosphere, including the Luren Singing Society, Decorah Chorale, the Decorah High School Madrigal Singers, Northern Lights and more.


• Vesterheim's Kaffistova (coffee shop) will offer an á la carte menu of traditional tastes such as lefse, ertersuppe, smørbrød, tyttebær saft, and a variety of desserts, including rømmegrøt, søtsuppe, julekake, krumkake, rosettes, and sandbakkels. Serving 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. both days at Vesterheim's Bethania Church at 113 N. Mill St.

Book signings

• Kathleen Ernst, Middletown, Wisconsin, author of the Chloe Ellefson mystery series and a book in the American Girls Mystery series, "The Runaway Friends-A Kirsten Mystery."

• Howard Sherpe, Westby, Wisconsin, author of the weekly newspaper column "Across the Fence."

• Dag Rossman, Decorah, Iowa, Viking storyteller and author of six Norse mythic books.

• Deb Nelson Gourley, Waukon, Iowa, with "Tuss og Troll," a compilation of classic Norwegian cartoons based on folk tales.


• Many of the artists demonstrating throughout the museum complex offer their work for sale during the weekend.

• Vesterheim's Museum Store is open during the weekend for all of your Scandinavian shopping.

For more information check vesterheim.org.