Do you leave the annual gift shopping to the very last minute or have you already bought the bulk of your gifts by the time Christmas chocolate hit the stores?
Personally, I don’t usually start buying gifts before mid-December which always makes me feel a bit stressed, so this year, I’m starting early! I’ve already bought half of all presents I’ll be gifting away this year and have been very actively hinting things I’d like to my boyfriend Simon, lol!
As you might know, I absolutely love all things Nordic and there are so many things to buy someone like me - whether one of your loved ones is planning a trip up north or whether they’re just equally crazy about the Nordics as I am. The following list will give you some inspiration for Nordic Christmas gifts, ranging from jewellery, clothes and cosmetics to entertainment and interior.
A little word of warning, though: you might be tempted to keep these gifts yourself!*
*This post was written in collaboration with Norwegian.Jewelry and also contains affiliate links - meaning I earn a small commission if you decide to buy anything, which helps the upkeep of this blog, at no additional cost to you! All opinions stated remain my own.
1. Handmade Norwegian Jewellery from tromsø
Norwegian.Jewelry is a marketplace that was founded to showcase authentic Norwegian jewellery design. Its founders, Mr. and Mrs. Grover, want to support artisans and goldsmiths around the country who focus on handmade designs and traditional production techniques. After all, the concept of working with metal and creating first tools, and later on jewellery, dates back to the Bronze Age!
The marketplace features two jewellery designers from the Tromsø area: Ina Gravem Johansen who is based in Finnsnes, and Sjur Hassel who is based in Sommarøy.
While all jewellery created by IGJ Design/Ina Gravem Johansen has its origin in Arctic nature, featuring pieces that for example resemble the mountains or the forest; Metallstudio by Sjur Hassel offers more masculine pieces made out of metall and thus, in a way honouring Sjur’s grandfather who worked as a mechanic.
Both artisans carefully make each piece of jewellery by hand and even if you won’t be able to travel to Tromsø in the near future, you can receive a little piece of the region via the marketplace of Norwegian.Jewelry.
2. danish design for her ears
Danish design is elegant and timeless - and so are these ear rings by Skagen Denmark! I’m fortunate to have my very own pair that I got on my last trip to the country and I’m super happy with them as they just fit to any outfit!
I’d say that these make the perfect gift for mothers, sisters and girlfriends and you can get them here!
3. icelandic moss for your bathroom
Do you know anyone who can’t stop talking about their trip to Iceland? This might shut them up - or make it worse? Not sure. What it’ll do for sure, though, is bring back memories of their trip - I think that comes with the package!
Icelandic moss is apparently really good for your skin, especially if you are prone to acne, and has been used by locals for skin care for ages. You can get this moss soap here!
4. Handmade Products from sapmi
Sapmi is the region above the Arctic Circle (Northern Norway, as well as Swedish and Finnish Lapland) and is called as such by the Sami people - the indigenous people of the region. When you’re visiting the area, you’ll find lots of Sami handicraft in souvenir stores, however, finding Sami handicraft online is a different issue.
Luckily, Ravdol have just re-launched their online store where they offer all kinds of authentic Sami handicraft and clothing, from reindeer fur hats to reindeer antlers and these super cute wooden coasters/serving plates.
They offer world-wide delivery and while they do have English information on their homepage available, you might want to use Google Translate for the product pages themselves as they’re still in Norwegian. Worth it for what they’re offering, though!
5. a Moomin year 2019
Who doesn’t love the Moomins?! These Finnish cartoon characters have become one of the most known things ever to have been created in Finland (yes, except for Nokia phones, of course) and if you know someone who loves the show and Finland, then this wall calendar for 2019 makes the perfect gift!
6. something for the wall
Another something for the wall is this lovely deer image that would make a great addition to any living room during the winter months! I love the pattern design and deers and forests just totally say “Nordic” in my opinion!
7. something for cold winter nights
What’s better in winter than snuggling up on the couch underneath a cosy blanket? That’s right, absolutely nothing. Except maybe, snuggling up on the couch underneath a cosy blanket with a hot chocolate and cookies…
Anyway, whoever receives this lovely blanket this Christmas is a lucky one!
8. something for the table
Are you a coaster person or couldn’t you care less about the state of your tables? I have to admit, I’m very peculiar about coasters (but also just in life in general, lol) and have dozens of them scattered around my home.
I love the look of these coasters, though, so if you know anyone who always makes sure you have a coaster underneath your glass when visiting, this might be a lovely gift for her/him!
9. learn how to prepare traditional norwegian meals
You might know Nevada Berg from her blog North Wild Kitchen where she posts recipes with fresh ingredients from Norway’s countryside. Nevada is from the US, but settled down on a farm close to Hardanger in Southern Norway. There, she discovered her love for Norwegian cuisine which has recently granted her a book deal!
Her cookbook North Wild Kitchen - Home Cooking from the Heart of Norway has only come out a couple of weeks ago and makes for the perfect Christmas gift for anyone who enjoys cooking and/or Norway!
10. how to live like scandinavians
Eating like Scandinavians is one thing - living like a Scandinavian another. I don’t know about you but I personally absolutely love the minimalist style of Scandinavian interior design! It’s so elegant and timeless, yet super cosy!
If you’d like to learn how you can also achieve this look in your home (or if you know someone who is equally fascinated by Scandi design like I am), the book Scandinavian Style at Home - A Room by Room Guide is the perfect buy!
11. for all the knitters you know
Do know someone who enjoys winter evenings at home, being snuggled up on the couch, knitting a scarf or some gloves? I’ve always admired the style of Norwegian mittens and am fortunate enough to call a pair my own - however, knitting them yourself must be such a great achievement!
The book Mittens from Norway comes with more than 40 knitting patterns and whoever you’re gifting it to is obliged to give you a pair of hand-knitted Norwegian gloves as a Christmas present next year!
12. norwegians in a nutshell
I was introduced to the work of Julien Bourrelle back when I started my Master’s in Tromsø. I had just moved to Norway and was attending the introduction days, where Julien held a presentation about Norwegians and the little social norms we would have to pay attention to from now on.
As you might know, some of these norms still baffle me but I love what Julien managed to achieve with The Social Guidebook to Norway. It’s a fun read for anyone who has ever been to Norway - or who is planning on visiting or even moving here!
13. things to know about iceland before visiting
Similar to The Social Guidebook to Norway, The Little Book of Tourists in Iceland gives you a deeper insight into one of the Nordic countries. Written by an Icelandic local herself, this book explains the behind the scenes of the tourism boom in Iceland and is a must-read for anyone visiting (or planning to visit) the country!
14. how to dress like Scandinavians
If you like Scandinavian interior design, chances are that you also admire the way how Scandinavians dress. Granted, everyone might carry the same backpack around (more on that in a second), but Scandinavian fashion in general is classy and cool at the same time.
The book Dress Scandinavian by the Danish stylist and model Pernille Teisbæk gives you some inspiration for staples to have in your wardrobe and how to style them the Scandi way!
15. behind the scenes of finnish design
You’ve probably heard of Marimekko already - Finland’s biggest design brand that’s mostly known for its colourful prints and patterns? If not, or if you know someone who’s absolutely crazy for Nordic design, the book Marimekko - In Patterns takes you on a journey to learn more about the brand and how Marimekko became as famous as it did!
Clothes / Gear
16. the one backpack all scandinavians have
I’m not even joking here: pretty much everyone in Scandinavia has a Fjällräven backpack - except me… I’ve been refusing to do what everybody else is doing since 1991…
However, I have to admit, I love the design of these backpacks. They all have a very compact size (though, there’s different sizes to choose from) and come in so many colours! You’ll find everything from green to blue, purple, pastel pink, lilac, orange, mustard - you name it - here!
17. keep warm when hunting the northern lights…
Are you planning to visit the Arctic this winter or know someone who does? Proper winter clothing doesn’t need to look ugly and this beanie of The North Face is perfect proof of that!
Basically, while I was still living in Tromsø, I lived in clothing from The North Face day in and day out (my down jacket is from them and so are my down feather shoes which are SO warm!). Extremities are most important to keep warm in freezing temperatures and I’m sure you know someone who’d love this beanie - or maybe you’d want to buy it for yourself?
18. … or when exploring the arctic during daytime
You don’t just want to keep your head warm when visiting the Nordics in winter, but also your hands! Proper gloves are super important to have and it’s an added bonus that these The North Face gloves are so cute, right?
19. all you need to know about sami culture
The indigenous people of Norway, Sweden and Finland - the Sami - have gone through discrimination and assimilation strategies that were imposed on them by their respective home states. In Northern Norway and Swedish Lapland, many Sami children were forcefully sent to boarding schools in the first half of the 20th century, where they weren’t allowed to speak their mother tongue and forced to become “proper” Norwegian/Swedish citizens.
The movie “Sami Blood” follows a young girl in Swedish Lapland of the 1930s, who also has to attend said boarding school, and ends up constantly being an outsider - not Swedish enough for Swedes but too Swedish and not Sami enough amongst her own family. This identity crisis follows her throughout her entire life, which is depicted in this brilliantly written and filmed movie of 2016.
If you’d like to learn more about the Sami people in general and their struggles in Nordic society in particular (or know someone who does), I can’t recommend this movie enough! It’s available via Amazon here.
20. one of the best norwegian movies ever made?
I always recommend “Troll Hunter” to anyone who’s fascinated by Norway. As you probably know, trolls play a huge role in Norwegian folklore and if you’ve ever visited the country, you’ve probably also seen trolls in front of every souvenir store and/or tourist attraction.
The movie “Troll Hunter” came out in 2010 and follows a group of uni students who film a documentary about a troll hunter in Western Norway. It’s obviously fictional (or is it?) and such a good film for gloomy winter evenings! You can get it here.
21. building railway links across the nordics
Have you ever heard of the game “Ticket to Ride”? Simon and I discovered it only recently but we’re obsessed with it! Basically, your job is to build railway links while collecting points and beating your competition.
You can get “Ticket to Ride” for several places: the US, New York, Asia, Europe, Germany - and even the Nordic countries!
And yes, the depiction of locals on the game cover is absolutely inappropriate and offensive (as you can see, they’re portraying Sami people to resemble Santa Claus), but fortunately, the game itself is not inappropriate and loads of fun!
You can get it on Amazon here!
22. who can say no to candy from finland?
Fazer is Finland’s biggest chocolate and candy brand and while they are mostly known for their chocolates, they do offer Christmas candy (as in fruit balls) in a special gift box that you can even order from abroad here!
23. Norway’s most important christmas tradition
Did you know that Norwegians are crazy about marzipan during the holidays? Every year at Easter and Christmas, tons of marzipan hit the stores and on Christmas Eve, there even is a tradition of hiding an almond in the traditional rice pudding that’s served for dessert.
Whoever finds the almond in his bowl wins the traditional marzipan pig!
I realise that not everyone actually likes marzipan but if you know someone who does (or if you’d like to introduce this Norwegian tradition in your family), you’ll be pleased to know that you can order the marzipan pig here!
24. for those who actually love Liquorice
I have to admit, I personally HATE liquorice. There’s no taste in the world that I find more grotesque. However, as is the case for marzipan, I guess there are lots of people out there who love liquorice.
In fact, liquorice is super popular throughout the Nordics and the Swedish chocolate brand Marabou (which is the very best Scandi chocolate brand in my opinion - sorry, Freia) offers salty liquorice chocolate!
If you know anyone who would love the taste of this (or if you’d like to eat it yourself), you can get a 3-pack of the chocolate here.
25. a taste of lapland
Have you ever heard of cloudberries? These orange berries only grow in the mountains and tundra of Norway, Sweden and Finland and are often described as Lapland’s gold! They’re harvested in early autumn and are very rich in vitamin C.
Not only that, but cloudberries taste absolutely delicious and are traditionally eaten in the form of cloudberry jam, together with waffles or vanilla ice-cream.
Cloudberry liquor is something very special and you’re lucky if you don’t live in the Nordics, as it’s so much cheaper there than here! Check current rates on Amazon here!
What’s your favourite keepsake/souvenir from a trip to the nordics?
Share your finds in a comment below or by using the #nordicinsider on Instagram!