December 2018 Newsletter

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Maine Nordmenn Maanedlig Nyheter

Monthly events and activities for December 2018Meeting location: Falmouth American Legion, 65 Depot Road, Falmouth, ME 04105

Gledelig (Joyous) Thanksgiving

Dec. 8 – Noon – 4 PM
St. Ansgar’s Lutheran Church, 515 Woodford St., Portland
RSVP by Dec. 2 by emailing John Foss at

  • Smorbrod
  • St. Lucia pageant
  • Dancing around the Jul tree
  • Jule Nisse (Santa)
  • Ticket auction
  • Live music
  • Handmade crafts
  • Raffle – wood carving by Sally Abrahamson
  • Children’s activities

Admission: $5 for pre-registered members, family and friends; $10 at the door; free for children under 5 years

Book Club and Crafts and Culture will take a “holiday” in December
Not yet a member?  Need to renew your membership?  It’s easy.  Just go to the Maine Nordmenn website at and go to the “join” icon to find the link.

Maine Nordmenn members share some of their most memorable Scandinavian traditions.

Anne-Lise Moson shares My Christmas Memories from Norway:
When I was a child in Norway things were simpler than today.  On Christmas Eve (Julaften)) at 4 pm the church bells rang all over, ringing Christmas in.  At 5 pm there were services at all the local churches for the children and we all went. Many relatives gathered at my house, I think that was because my grandmother and mother were very good cooks and could do a lot with a little.  When all the children returned home from the church service, dinner was served.  In my house that was dried and salted lamb ribs and potato dumplings (pinnekotte og raspeballer). After the meal the door to our living room was opened and the children saw the Christmas tree for the first time.  We danced around the tree and sang Christmas carols. At some point one of the adults seemed to disappear for a while, as kids we did not seem to really notice, and Santa Claus (Jule Nissen) came into the room.  He had a big sack of presents but before presents were handed out, all the kids had to had to perform for Jule Nissen.  We sang, we danced, we recited poems and swore up and down that we had all been perfect children all year. It was always a fun time at our house and we were all so thankful for the fact that the war was over and we could celebrate the Christmas season together.

Herb Hoppe says one of my favorite Nordic holiday traditions is hanging our “straw” decorations made in the Nordic style.  They include stars and horses both on the tree and in the windows.  And I especially enjoy hanging a “sheath of wheat” out for the birds.

Eleanor Andrews shares these thoughts:
As we all know, no one does Christmas like Norwegians.  Seven kinds of cookies and six days of celebration:  bitte lille jul aften, lille jul aften, and finally jul aften, Christmas Eve.  The same thing happens after Christmas with første juledag, annen juledag, and tredje juledag.  You get the idea. It was my good fortune to witness this first hand for six years when I taught at the Stavanger American School, a 30-minute drive from the small village of Hommersåk where my father was born and my family still lives.

Traditions vary from region to region, but one of the most important issues is, “What are you having for dinner on Christmas Eve?”  The most common choices are ribbe (pork ribs), pinnekjøtt (dried mutton), turkey, or freshly caught cod.  The choice of entré defines you and your family. My family’s preference was a big, beautiful cod fresh out of the fjord and prepared scientifically by my Uncle Arne.  It was served with boiled potatoes, carrots, Brussels sprouts, and Beaujolais nouveau, and followed by riskrem, rice pudding with an almond hidden in it.  Whoever got the almond won a marzipan pig.  On Christmas Eve of 1991, Bill was the winner.  He had flown from California to spend the holiday with me, we cut a tree from my father’s property in Hommersåk, took it to my apartment to decorate, and on Christmas Eve went to the Juleaften service at the little white wooden church in Hommersåk where my father was baptized and my grandfather served as the klokker (sexton) for many years.  After the service, we joined our family for dinner, retired to the living room for coffee and sweets, then Bill got talked into dressing up as Julenisse and handing out presents with Cousin Ole.  We did not dance around the juletre, but we were not yet finished eating.  We shelled almonds, walnuts, and hazelnuts, and sipped bottles of Solo and other kinds of brus (soda), then at midnight drove back to Stavanger on a brilliant Christmas Eve.

Elsie Maxwell reflects:
Our church in Portland was a mission to the many Norwegian, Swedish and Danish immigrants. We had a lot of Norwegian ships that came into the Portland Harbour. The services were all in Norwegian, except Sunday School.  The sailors were invited, picked up and brought to our church for food, fellowship and just a place to call home with other Scandinavians.  We had a Christmas tree in the basement of the church and marched and sang around it along with these sailors.  I always thought they looked stunning in their uniforms.

Source: Wikipedia
nisse (Danish: [ˈnesə] and Norwegian: [²nɪsːɛ]), tomte (Swedish: [²tɔmːtɛ]), tomtenisse or ‘tonttu‘ (Finnish: [tontːu]) is a mythological creature from Nordic folklore today typically associated with the winter solstice and the Christmas season.

According to tradition, the nisse lives in the houses and barns of the farmstead, and secretly act as their guardian. If treated well, they protect the family and animals from evil and misfortune, and may also aid the chores and farm work. However, they are known to be short-tempered, especially when offended. Once insulted, they will usually play tricks, steal items and even maim or kill livestock.

At the November membership meeting the following people were elected as officers:

  • Vice president – Karen Solberg
  • Treasurer – Karl Livollen
  • Trustee – Bob Boylestad

Vacancies remain for these offices:

  • Membership director
  • Secretary
  • Counselor
  • Program director

NORUMBEGA FAIR – A Huge Success!
Maine Nordmenn Lodge had craft tables at this year’s Norumbega Scandinavian Fair.  Carolyn Browne and Cheryl Lunde organized the crafts for the fair and manned the tables.  It was a huge success netting over $1000 in profit for the Maine Nordmenn lodge.

In addition to crafts made by members at craft events throughout the year, individual members contributed Scandinavian arts and crafts for this fundraising effort.  Included in those members making contributions were Carolyn Browne, Bill Browne, Cheryl Lunde, Dorothy Fredriksen, Faith Garnett, Holly Rivard, Sally Abrahamson, and Karen Solberg. A very special thank you to all those involved in having this effort be such a huge success!

This effort is obviously worth pursuing again next year.  To that end, what is your special talent?  Please consider making a Scandinavian item or two or three to contribute.

VOLUNTEERS NEEDED – Land of the Vikings
LOV will be having a work weekend December 7th to 9th.  Their budget is very low.  They need volunteers who can not only donate their time, but are willing to donate the supplies and materials necessary to complete the job. There are many types of jobs to be completed from painting to carpentry.  For details of what is needed, please contact Buildings and Grounds Chairperson Rick Budrick at 570 461 3500 or Free room and board for those working during the weekend!

SAVE POSTAGE STAMPS– help children with disabilities
With the holidays approaching, we often receive cards and letters from family and friends.  This is a great opportunity to help others by saving the stamps from the envelopes!
Tubfrim is an organization in Norway that resells canceled stamps and donates the proceeds to help children with disabilities. Sons of Norway and Maine Nordmenn are proud to support Tubfrim in their work to support children in need.

You can help:  Simply clip canceled stamps from envelopes, leaving at least a quarter of an inch around the edge. Bring your clipped stamps to a Maine Nordmenn meeting. Carolyn Browne is the chair of this project and will see that the stamps are forwarded to SON.

Jan.  –  No regular monthly lodge meeting or crafts and culture
Jan. 8– Book Club, Handy’s, Yarmouth;  Two Eggs on My Plate by Oluf Reed-Olsen
Feb. 7 –10 AM-3 PM, Carving, Herb Hoppe’s home; Potluck lunch
Feb. 10, Sunday– 2 PM, Lodge Meeting
Feb. 12– Book Club, The Hidden Child by Camilla Lackberg

Cheryl and Carolyn at Norumbega with our tree full of ornaments.
The tables at Norumbega full of crafts made by Maine Nordmenn members.
Sally Abrahamson with her beautiful work at Norumbega.
God Jul og Godt Nyttaar
Merry Christmas & Happy New Year
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Anyone wishing to be added to our mailing list can do so by emailing Cheryl Lunde at  Please put “newsletter” in the subject line.
Our mailing address is:
John Foss, President, or contact him at (207)357-2397.