Thursday, December 19, 2013

If this is Thursday it must be postcards, 121

It is the week before Christmas and visions of sugarplums are probably dancing in quite a few heads.  Last year I discovered that it was possible to write to the Julenisse, the Norwegian equivalent of Santa Claus, and get a postcard in return.  The result is shown above.  Thousands of children across the globe write keeping Julenissen postkontor very busy at this time of year. 

The town of Drøbak, Norway is located about 30 miles south of the capital city, Oslo. Julenissen (like Santa) arrives at his residence in Drøbak during the month of November and stays through the Christmas holidays.  He does drop by at other times of the year, though, so visitors are sometimes fortunate enough to encounter him in the summer, for example, and get a photo taken with him.  Many of the buildings in the town have been restored from the 18th century making it a charming and popular tourist destination especially during the winter.  There is a Julenisse post office and a toy shop.  Julenisse crossing signs like the one below can be found on the streets.

Julenisse crossing sign


One legend about the Julenisse or Santa Claus says that he was born under a rock in Vindfangerbukta north of Drøbak several hundred years ago.  “That is why Drøbak is the Christmas town above all others.”  One of the tourist attractions in the town is the Christmas house or Julehuset that is located right next to the town hall.  Busloads of people come to see the Julenisser, trolls, elves, and gnomes in the house. 

Inside the Julehuset

The founder of the Post Office and the Christmas house is Eva Willy Johansen.  Christmas cards and stamps are available at the “Santa Post Office.” 

The Julenisse post office in Drøbak, Norway.

The official Julenissen postmark.

As it turns out there is more than one place to visit or write to the Julenisse in Norway.  In addition to the Julehus in Drøbak there is one further north at Savalen, Hedmark, Norway where the Nissemor (mother nisse or Mrs. Claus) and all the little nisser work and play.  Nissemor has cocoa, coffee, tea and soft drinks as well as julegrøt (Christmas porridge) available for visitors.  Do you suppose there are other Julenisse houses and post offices in different places throughout Norway? 

There are many, many Santa Claus websites.  American children can email Santa Claus and get an instant reply.   Some of the Santa’s mentioned also offered phone conversations with children. 

Please see these sites for more information about contacting the Julenisse or Santa Claus.

Happy Christmas to all!

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