December 2023: Nordic Events, Christmas Edition

Happy December and all that this month brings! This month I share both virtual events available to all and a few special events happening in the Los Angeles area that might be of interest to local readers.

Last month I shared the news of the arrival of Thomas Dambo TROLLS: Save the Humans to South Coast Botanic Garden on the Palos Verdes Peninsula, and since then, I’ve seen them for myself and the experience didn’t disappoint. Danish artist Thomas Dambo is considered the world’s leading recycle artist and is known internationally for his larger-than-life, folklore-inspired, whimsical troll sculptures made from reclaimed materials. I’ve been fascinated by Dambo’s work found around the world and was thrilled to be able to see it for myself now here in Southern California. I highly recommend a visit to see the collection of trolls on display through January 14, 2024.


On Saturday, December 2, the SWEA Los Angeles Christmas Fair returns after a few years’ hiatus, this time to Santa Monica, to celebrate Swedish heritage and Swedish food. Highlights include a diverse selection of Swedish vendors, Santa Claus ready to spread festive joy and listen to holiday wishes, Saint Lucia Celebrations, and Swedish delicacies such as Swedish pancakes, glögg, and baked goods.

The Norwegian Church in San Pedro hosts many Christmas events this time of year, the first of which is their annual Christmas Luncheon on Tuesday, December 5 (registration required). Visit their Facebook page for updates on Christmas events.

And finally, have you marked your calendars for the 25th anniversary of the Scandinavian Film Festival LA with BalticFilmExpo@SFFLA? The festival will be back at the Writers Guild Theater in Beverly Hills for two weekends in January 2024 (January 13 & 14 and 20 & 21) with films from Scandinavia and their Nordic neighbors. Details about the programming will be released soon.

Online book clubs continue to meet. Visit Nordic Book Club Meetings: December 2023 to see details about book selections and meeting dates for this month and into the new year.

What’s on your calendar for December?

Norwegian Television Julekalender: Snøfall (Premieres December 1)

Does your family understand Norwegian? Tune in to this Norwegian julekalender, a TV series doled out daily in 24 short episodes leading up to Christmas. Start with Season 1: “A wonderland full of magic and love. An orphan girl in a sad world. A secret portal separates them. Can Selma find the way?” Or jump ahead to Season 2: “Noah is 10 years old and has a very important Christmas wish, but what if the letter to Santa doesn’t arrive?”

Hallmark Christmas Movie: My Norwegian Holiday (Premieres December 1)

Hallmark Channel’s original Christmas movie My Norwegian Holiday premieres December 1. Grieving her grandmother’s death, JJ seeks dissertation inspiration. Henrik, drawn to her troll figurine, invites her to Bergen, Norway, to trace its origins.

Mindekirken’s Norwegian Language & Culture Program Winter Registration Opens (December 1)

Registration for Mindekirken’s Norwegian Language & Culture Program for the next trimester of classes (January – March 2024) is now ope. Each trimester, they offer a range of Norwegian classes for beginning learners to those that are more advanced, many of them online. Culture classes are designed to expand learners’ knowledge of traditional and contemporary Norwegian culture.

Scandinavian Fest: Virtual Holiday Market (Friday & Saturday, Dec. 1 & 2)

Scandinavian Fest: Virtual Holiday Market returns Friday, December 1, and Saturday, December 2, on Facebook. Scandinavian Fest brings Nordic shops and businesses from around the globe together in one online location. Join the Virtual Holiday Market to discover unique Nordic products, take advantage of discounts, and win giveaways. To participate, mark that you are “Going” or “Interested” in the event and then follow the Discussion tab on the event page for products, discounts and giveaways and shop Nordic by visiting or contacting the businesses. For more information, visit their website.

Exploring Møre og Romsdal Style Rosemaling (Sunday, Dec. 3, 1:00 p.m. CT, Free)

Come learn about the various examples of rosemaling from the area known as Mǿre og Romsdal Fylke (County) in Western Norway! Join Nancy Odalen, Vesterheim Gold Medalist and a recipient of one of the 2022-2023 Folk Art Residency grants, for a lively discussion about the rosemaling that was created within the county of Mǿre og Romsdal. Odalen will have examples from the Vesterheim Collection and from the museum in Romsdal.

A Swedish Meatball Dinner with Kristi Bissell (Thursday, Dec. 7, 1:00 p.m. CT)

A Swedish meatball dinner ticks every box for a winter meal: cozy and comforting, balanced and delicious! Join Kristi Bissell of the True North Kitchen blog for an afternoon demonstration of her dream meatball dinner menu – Swedish meatballs with a creamy gravy and lingonberries, an elegant celery root puree, and essential pickled cucumbers. Plus, learn the secrets of Kristi’s truly satisfying vegetarian meatball recipe, too! Whether you tackle the whole menu at once, or pull just a few of the recipes straight to your Christmas smörgåsbord, these are classic, fail safe recipes that will impress your loved ones this holiday season.

Norwegian Christmas Cookies Workshop (Saturday, Dec. 9, 1:00 p.m. ET)

Join Sunny Gandara of Arctic Grub to bake some of the most popular Norwegian Christmas cookies and to learn about the cookie evolution in Norway from the old times until today. Get your apron on and get in the Christmas spirit with this baking class! (And yes, you’ll be making krumkaker!) After registering and a few days ahead of the class, you will receive an email with the recipes so you can prepare if you’d like to bake along.

Online Cooking Class: Holiday Food (Monday, Dec. 11, 4:00 p.m. CT)

Join the Swedish American Museum for an online cooking class to learn how to make holiday food. You will receive the recipe in advance. You can then either cook alongside or watch and try later. This is an interactive Zoom so you will be able to ask questions.

Family Book Adventure: Now That Night is Near by Astrid Lindgren (Register by Dec. 16)

Beginning January 1 and available all month, join Vesterheim for this family-fun reading and outdoor adventure! Your family can be any combination of folks as long as there’s at least one adult to help navigate the online portion. Decorah schools librarian Shannon Horton will get you reading, thinking, creating, and even up and moving – indoors and out! A kit delivered right to your home contains supplies for book-reading, a fun craft, a snack, and a scavenger-hunt-type adventure.

Knit a Norwegian-Inspired Hat (Four Saturdays, January 6-27, 11:00 a.m.-12:30 p.m. CT)

Register by December 21 to join this online knitting class for intermediate knitters. Join Kate Running to learn how to work with two colors of yarn to make this patterned hat. Work with a Nordic-inspired motif and learn the cultural tradition of stranded knitting. Intermediate level, no colorwork experience necessary. Yarn is provided.  Students may choose to provide their own yarn to swap out with the yarn that is sent in the kit. A kit of materials including Strikkegarn yarn (a $40 value included in the cost of registration) will be shipped to your home. Enrollment Deadline: December 21.

Knitting Selbu Mittens (Three Sundays, January 7-21, 12:00-1:30 p.m. CT)

Register by December 21 to join this online knitting class for intermediate knitters. Dating back to 1857, Selbu mittens are one of the most iconic Norwegian garments. They have existed as currency, as souvenirs, and as a source of financial independence for women who had few options. In this intermediate knitting class, you will make a pair of Selbu mittens with live demonstrations as well as a prerecorded tutorial to reference on your own time. The instructor will discuss history, tips and tricks, and easy modifications as you knit a pattern inspired by pieces in the Vesterheim collection.

Which events or experiences look interesting to you?

2 thoughts on “December 2023: Nordic Events, Christmas Edition

  1. So thrilled that I got to see Thomas Dambo’s TROLLS today. Amazing day with the Trolls in the beautiful South Coast Botanic Garden! Thanks for the heads up for that, Patricia. My daughter from San Diego heard about the garden & the Trolls from another friend & went to see them too.

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