Typically at this time of the year, people in the Nordic countries have their Christmas party called Yule table. It seams to have roots back from the Saturnalia feast at which the Romans commemorated the dedication of the temple of the god Saturn, which took place on 17th of December. Over the years, it expanded to a whole week, up to 23rd. So we are talking about winter solstice festivals from a couple of thousands years back. Of course the Vikings held their winter solstice festivals too and they were wild and crazy parties. Who could blame them for celebrating the return of the sun in a dark (up to six hours daylight in the south of Norway and zero hours in the north) and very cold period? It’s all about a food and drink feast and inn the Middle Ages it became normal to let it stay on the table the whole Holiday season so that the poor and the nomads could help them selves. The modern Yule party is from the last turn of the 1900’s when the service business and tourism started in northern Europe. It became more popular among the middle class people to travel at Christmas time so hotels and restaurants began serving Yule food on the menu. After the Second World War it has more and more become a party arranged by the company for their employers.

I have a mixed feeling about these parties as there are so many of them and they often overdo it. The ultimate example this year was our own companies Christmas party was held just over the border in Sweden. I supported the idea of course as we got a feast and a night at a hotel, with breakfast the day after for a price of 1100 NOK (190 $ or 135 €). We had a jolly good time and I enjoyed the company of my co-workers as well as the food and the free drinks, let me tell you more about it:

The Christmas Party Factory :-)

It was held in a sports centre and there where more than a thousand people attending (from different companies not just mine). Sorry for the bad quality of the pictures but it is taken with my Nokia mobile phone from the bleachers. There you can see the tables for each company party from the smallest for around 10 people to the biggest around 100.

The buffet – Please click if you want a closer look!

We where served a buffet with all the Christmas food you could imagine, at least for the Nordics and especially the Norwegians as we where the majority of the guests. Again my apology for the bad quality in the pics but I hope you get the idea.


ABBA show at the Christmas party.

As if this wasn’t enough, there was a show after the dinner. A local singing group gave us a musical tour of ABBA’s fantastic carrier. The Swedish wanted to show their very best you know:-) It was quite funny to get close to the stage and capture them with my mobile phone as they where very photogenic. After the show a typical Swedish ‘dance band’ gave me the chance to cut the rug with my female colleges. So even if I am tempted to call this a sort of Christmas party factory, we had a very good time. I can’t remember when the party was over, but we had a night cap afterwards, so I guess I was in bed around 4 in the morning. A more sensible college called it a night much earlier though and I was glad because he was the one who was driving home the next day. On our way home we bought Christmas food in a mall. You might call this an ultimate ‘Harry’ tour (a local expression for Norwegians who travel to Sweden to fill up their cars with inexpensive food).

25 Comments

  1. Wow, that is a pretty spectacular party! Love the Abba show :-)

    I’m glad you had a good time!

  2. Abba is one of my favorite groups from the 70’s! I love their music.

    The food looked great! Did you have to pay that out of pocket for the trip, or did the college pick up the tab?

    Hope you and your have a great and Merry Christmas, Renny! :-)

  3. I don’t think we’d be having julebord!!! Whaaaa!!!

    Glad you had a fab one, with ABBA and all. :-) You’re welcome on the Christmas card. :-)

  4. i didn’t reallize the yule meal inthe middle ages also had charitable aspects to it. that is quite a wonderful tradition, one i like quite a lot.

    i really cannot imagine only 6 hours of sunlight a day, no wonder there is such a party when days begin to get longer!!

  5. Sounds like fun! Did you pack me a doggy bag?? :)

  6. The Yule board tradition sounds fun. I am slightly mystified as to why a Norwegian company would host the company party in Sweden…must be cheaper there? Anyway, you got some Abba action! Some of the greatest party music ever!

  7. ABBA show at party – how fun it that – I love ABBA…ha! Taking good care of Susie in India! :)

  8. that’s a spectacular party! merry christmas! :)

  9. Hi Rennie, just wishing you a merry xmas and a happy new year!

    “can you hear the drums, Fernando”?

  10. Nice to meet you! Thanks for stopping by my blog. Our big company didn’t have a Holiday party. Oh well, I’m going to have to make my own fun.

  11. sounds like a wild night! Why is the food cheaper in Sweden? If you think it’s cheap there, you should see it here — thus the giant American portions that my British cousins always talk about.

    Abba is so 70s, which reminds me of high school. love it.

    Happy happy – Bud

  12. that sounds like lots of fun. I just love the spirit. Really it makes me sad how lacking it is here…

    We ended up going to a concert last night. I was happy to go with P and I know he enjoyed my company…

  13. Only a “julelunch” at my work (diocese of Nidaros) which suits me perfect :-)

  14. Sounds like a good night and lots of fun! Have a good weekend!

  15. @Jen: Hilarious spectacular yes!

    @Diane: All payed by the company:-)

    @Mark: Hope you have one next year then! Thanks again for the card – so sweet of you!

    @Lime: Yea, I knew you would like the tradition background!
    Well: TODAY is Winter Solstice – so from tomorrow the days will be longer and longer and longer:-)

    @Teena: Sorry, there was no pizza there LoL

    @Nancy: Well, generally for most of things prices in Sweden are slightly lover.

    @Photocat: Good to know Susie is taken good care of!

    @Tin-tin: Yes, you should have been there! Marry Christmas too!

    @K: You TOOOOOOO!
    – Yes, they where singing that song too:-)

    @WindfaullWoman: Thanks for returning the favor – always good to welcome new visitors! Have fun and keep me posted:-)

    @DMunro: Why: well less taxes, lover salary and 3 times more people.

    @ET: Come on over one Christmas then!
    Hope you had a great time with P – I’m off to check:-)

    @Britt-Arnhild: Christmas Lunches can be great and fun too:-)

    @Grish: A god weekend to you too!

  16. wow ABBA, love their music (background music… Mamma mia, here I go again
    My my, how can I resist you… )

    no party for me this year… how I hope I can attend a party like that. good to know u enjoy yourself in the party and u went shopping :)

  17. Rennie:

    Have I ever told you you’re my hero? My wife would like to meet you, too. I think I’m getting a little jealous here! I’d hate to think that she’d be dancing with you instead of me!

  18. Mother of Invention

    Ah, ya gotta be lovin’ those Vikings! They knew how to party! I love that they started leaving out food and drink for travellers.
    Why does Sweden have cheaper food?

  19. thank you renny! Hope your christmas is enjoyable! We are off in one more day… Just dead beat right now! :-)

  20. I’m a big ABBA fan,too:)

    Again, wishing you all the best this Christmas!Huge hugs to you my friend!

  21. Hei Renny! Julebord are fun. Christmas spirit is in the air :)

    Have a wonderful Christmas to you and your family!!!!

  22. Mama Mia!!! d fave group of my brother ;)

    What a PARTY! next time i’m gonna invite myself, heheh!

    FROHE WEIHNACHTEN renny! :)

  23. what a big party,Renny!!

    and Abba!!I love them!!you are so lucky!
    can we exchange our lifestyle?LOL!

    Merry Christmas again,Renny!
    Enjoy the season with Dianne and your friends!!

  24. @Vince: Welcome next year then!

    @PigDoggie: Why don’t we all dance!

    @MotherOfInvention: We have a real long tradition for that you know.
    Hard question, but to make it short: -less salary, – 3 times of population, – closer to the European market and currency exchange gives the Norwegian 10% advantage.

    @ET: Hope your Christmas will be enjoyable and relaxing to then!

    @CheH: Thanks and big hugs in return!

    @AL: Hope the same for you and your family!

    @Racky: Looking forward to next Yule table then!
    God Jul to you:-)

    @Ghee: If not exchange, how about join me – next year!
    Hope you and your family enjoy the season too:-)

  25. Rennie:

    Both my wife (Big Pig) and daughter (Piglett) think you’re great. Have a wonderful Pig-out New Year!

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