Julebord: The Norwegian Christmas Party

The apex of Norwegian drinking culture, at least as it pertains to the workplace, is Julebord, or the Christmas party. A year’s worth of pent up work frustrations is released on this glorious night. It’s a bit of a fancy night, at least fancier than a typical Norwegian event. Often taking place in a luxury hotel or other fine establishment, this is one night of the year when it’s ok to indulge a little (more like a lot). You’ve almost made it through the brutal winter so perhaps you’ve earned it after all.  As the Julebrod invitations are starting to come in here’s a few simple rules to live by:

  • Norwegian men should dust of the ties they never wear for this evening.
  • Norwegian women can also get a little fancy and even wear stiletto heals.
  • This is night to share feedback with your colleagues, good or bad. The alcohol will help you muster up the courage to do so.
  • If you have romantic feelings for a colleague now is the time to let them know. Once again the alcohol should help.
  • It’s perfectly OK to sleep with your boss this night, even if he or she is married!
  • The same rules that apply to Las Vegas apply to Julebord. So what happens at the Julebord stays at the Julebord. Don’t make your coworkers uncomfortable by discussing the night’s events the next day. Or ever again really.

For foreigners this is a night to celebrate and strengthen your relationship with Norwegian colleagues. It’s one of the few evenings when this is easy to do. For the Norwegians out there please check in on your foreign workers to ensure they are not overwhelmed. They will not be used to seeing such an overly social experience in Norway. Hand them a shot of aquavit and help them sing along on this wonderful night.

God Jule!

Learn more about Julebord and other aspects of working with Norwegians in our book. Shipping now and it of course makes for a great Christmas gift.

Illustrations by Martina Petrelli