Posted by: Sarah | December 11, 2010

The Norwegian Julebord And A “Tale” of Speeches

The Julebord is a tradition in Norway.  Literally translated it means “Christmas Table” and is also a term used to describe the office seasonal party!  It’s a formal affair often normally held in a restaurant or hotel where the guests are expected to make an effort and dress to impress; jeans and t-shirts are not acceptable.   It’s also a time for major consumption…of both food and drink!

Unlike Christmas parties in the UK, the Norwegian festivities can be quite formal in proceedings.  It’s very common to have speeches  (tale) distributed throughout the night.  The first speech introduces the evening, then you have the Damelens tale (ladies speech) which is an address by a man to the ladies in the room and the Herrenes tale (gentleman’s speech)  which is an address by a lady to the men in the room.   Finally there’s the Takk For Maten speech (thank you for the food speech) and this year, I was asked to deliver this speech at the company Julebord.

I didn’t know where to start so did some research on the internet.  My Norwegian isn’t great and a slight mistake on the spelling turned up a translation for “thank you for the door mat” – I was confused.  I eventually got back on track and asked friends, colleagues and neighbours for tips.  After all this research I realised the “Takk for maten” speech had to be short, funny, about the food, about the people and needed to address all the staff with a big thank you at the end (they all come out from the kitchen especially for it!).

It went really well.  I talked a little about my research and what people had told me to say.  I also shared some observations I had made between what we ate and the Norwegian people e.g. takes time to cure salmon in the same way it takes time to get to know a Norwegian.   I finished it off with my toast to the staff and chef (the only bit I did in Norwegian) – possibly the funniest bit of my speech but for all the wrong reasons – my Norwegian is a little rusty!  Luckily so much alcohol had been consumed by the time I stood up it made my job much easier.    

I forgot my camera so no photos to share I’m afraid.


  1. You got one thing wrong here; the ladies speech is held by a man and adresses the women, and vice versa. The result is the same ;-)

    • Ah ha! Didn’t realise that. We didn’t do either an just opted for the Takk For Maten…I shall update! Thanks

  2. Sarah, Youd did held a fantastic speach! We really enjoyed it!

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