Christmas is just days away and if you are worried with all that’s going on in the world right now, that the presents will not arrive on time, fear not!
Santa’s helpers in Drøbak, Norway, are hard at work! Indeed, if the Finns are convinced that Santa Claus resides in their country, just north of Rovaniemi, the Norwegians believe that he lives just a 30-minute drive from Oslo, in an idyllic little fishing village located on the fjord. When visitors arrive in Drøbak, they are welcomed by a warning sign that says “Watch out for Nisse”.
The village is mostly famous for its Tregarden Julehus ( the « Wooden Christmas House ») which celebrates Santa Claus all year round and sells all kinds of Christmas articles such as ornaments, candles and napkins. Each year it draws some 250,000 visitors, including some world dignitaries who have been so impressed by what they have seen that they have invited the owners of the shop to come to visit their countries and spread the Christmas cheers. One of them is Prince Albert who can been seen on some of the pictures displayed at the entrance.
The store is a cute three-story structure, which opens on a little square and is surrounded by clapboard 18th century houses as well as the Christmas house official post office where you can get your letters and cards stamped with the official Christmas postmark. Meanwhile, not too far away, the Drøbak Tourist Information Centre has a permanent exhibition of more than 250,000 letters sent to “Julenissen” from all over the world.
Julenissen is the name given to Santa Claus by the Norwegians and is an elf-like gnome who lives in the woods. And because he is the guardian of the welfare of all families, children leave a bowl of porridge for him during the holiday season to thank him for his blessings.
All photos © Florence Dubosc