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Nordic Yule Calendars (Julekalendere)

In History by Einherjar

In Scandinavia we have something that is quite unique and that this the annual Christmas calendar also known as a Yule calendar (Danish: julekalender, Norwegian: julekalender, Swedish: julkalender, Icelandic: jóladagatal). A Yule calendar is like the Advent calendar where you get to open one of the little tiny doors each day to get a present or a treat, but instead of treats, you get to watch one of the 24 TV episodes about Christmas (Danish: jul, Icelandic: jól).

History of the Advent Calendar / Yule Calendar

The first episode starts on the 1st of December, and the show ends with the grand finale on the 24th of December at Christmas Eve (Danish: juleaften). Children often watch the final episode either before or after dinner, but some do also families choose to record it for the next day.

A Yule calendar is mostly a story that has been written for children, and that is quite obvious because the children sit like sticky glue to the TV every evening when a new episode airs. There are some Yule calendars for adults as well, but many adults still watch the children’s Yule calendar anyway, and many families sit and watch it together every evening.

The first TV Yule calendar

It was in 1960, that the Swedish TV station SVT came up with the idea of making the TV Yule calendar for the first time which was called ”Titteliture”. Two years later the Danes aired their own TV Yule calendar called ”Historier fra hele verden”, and soon thereafter the Norwegians, Icelandic, and Finns would make their own Yule calendar as well.

A Yule calendar is either a bunch of small stories or one long story just like a TV series, where you follow the same characters and their interactions in a story. All the stories in a Yule calendar are focused around Christmas, and the story often has some familiar figures such as Santa Claus (Danish: Julemanden), or Nisser/Tomter ”Santa’s little helpers in English for a lack of a better term”. It is not that easy to translate Nisser/Tomter into English since they are not necessarily part of Santa’s brigade. Read more about Nisser and Tomter here.

A Yule calendar is often about historical events, persons, figures (nisser), where the most important parts are emphasized. Usually some sort of a problem that needs to be fixed before the 24th of December, this could, for instance, be saving Christmas.

List of Danish Yule calendars

In Denmark, the concept really began to gain some traction in 1967, when the Yule calendar called ”Kender du Decembervej?” (In English: Do you know about December street?) was shown on the Danish TV station DR (Danmarks radio). This is still one of the favorite Yule calendars for many people in Denmark, and the main character ”Magnus Tagmus” fills the adults with nostalgia when they watch it.

In 1974 another golden nugget called ”Jullerup Færgeby” was born, which is also one of the great classics. In 1979 the Yule calendar ”Jul i gammelby” was made (another classic), it was the first calendar that was made with real actors, instead of the traditional use of puppets. Jul i gammelby was also the first Yule calendar were the target group was the entire family and not just the toddlers.

The 1980s gave birth to a long list of good Danish Yule calendars, jul på slottet (1986) (In English: Christmas at the castle), Nissebanden (1984), Nissebanden i Grønland (1989), the last two among my personal childhood favorites.

It was also in the 80s that the production began to become very expensive, and many of the old Yule calendars that were aired by DR in the 80s had were shown as reruns in 1990s, instead of making new ones. However, the 90s was also the decade was the Danish TV station TV2 began to produce their own Yule calendars.

TV2 wanted to expand the target group, probably for economic gain, and they began to produce Yule calendars for adults as well. The first one was called ”Jul i den gamle trædemølle” (1990), and it gained a profound amount of viewers in the first year.

However, it would be the Yule calendar called ”The Jule Kalender” in December of 1991, that would quite literally glue the Danish eyeballs too the TV screen like no other Yule calendar had in the past. The Norwegians took great notice of this and copied the Danish Yule calendar into on of their own.

The 1990s was also the decade was the naughty Nisse called Pyrus would make his appearance for the first time in the Yule calendar called alletiders jul (1994). This Yule calendar would turn out to be so popular among both the children and the adults that it became a Yule calendar series, alletiders nisse (1995), alletiders julemand (1997), alletiders eventyr (2000), including a movie in the cinema, Pyrus på pletten (2000).

In 2005, the first non-Christian Yule calendar was produced (if you can believe it). It was called Jul in Valhal (Yule in Valhalla), and the Yule calendar evolved around a group of humans and the Nordic Gods, read more here about Norse mythology.

There has been made so many great Yule calendars through the years, and most Danes have at least one or two favorites, that they can mention from the top of their minds.

Christmas movies in Scandinavia

In Scandinavia, we also love to see American Christmas movies, for instance, home alone, the polar express, the Santa Claus, national lampoon’s Christmas vacation, and many many more. A movie that is not necessarily a Christmas movie for the Americans, but is to a lot of the Danes is the movie Die hard, or Die hard two, that even has snow in it. These movies have actually been shown each year around Christmas in Denmark for decades.

As much as the Yule calendars (Danish: julekalendere) are a solid tradition during December, the Disney show ”From All of Us to All of You” is as well. This Christmas special from 1958, is aired every Christmas in the afternoon on the 24th, while the children wait in excitement for Christmas Eve. In Scandinavia we celebrate Christmas (in Danish: Jul) in the evening of the 24th, and not the 25th like in the USA.

Danish Christmas Calendars from the TV station DR

  • 1962 – Historier fra hele verden
  • 1963 – Nisserne Tim og Tam
  • 1964 – Bonus og Minus
  • 1965 – Juleteatret – Kasper og Lisette
  • 1966 – Kaninen Langøre (six episodes), Hvordan man opdrager sine forældre (six episodes), Det store træ (six episodes), Jul på skovly (six episodes)
  • 1967 – Kender du Decembervej?
  • 1968 – Besøg på Decembervej
  • 1969 – De to i Ledvogterhuset
  • 1970 – Hvad en møller kan komme ud for
  • 1971 – Hos Ingrid og Lillebror
  • 1972 – Noget om Nisser
  • 1973 – Vinterbyøster
  • 1974 – Jullerup Færgeby
  • 1975 – Vumserne og juleforberedelser
  • 1976 – Vinterbyøster (Rerun from 1973)
  • 1977 – Kikkebakke Boligby
  • 1978 – Fru Pigalopp og juleposten
  • 1979 – Jul i Gammelby
  • 1980 – Jul og Grønne skove
  • 1981 – Torvet
  • 1982 – Jullerup Færgeby (Rerun from 1974)
  • 1982 – Tryksen
  • 1983 – Jul i Gammelby (Rerun from 1979)
  • 1984 – Nissebanden
  • 1985 – Eldorado for dyr
  • 1985 – Kikkebakke Boligby (Rerun from 1977)
  • 1986 – Jul på Slottet
  • 1987 – Torvet (Rerun from 1981)
  • 1987 – Kalenderkavalkade
  • 1988 – Cirkus Julius
  • 1989 – Nissebanden i Grønland
  • 1990 – Jullerup Færgeby (Rerun from 1974)
  • 1990 – Tryksen (Rerun from 1986)
  • 1991 – Jul på Slottet (Rerun from 1984)
  • 1992 – Nissebanden (Rerun from 1989)
  • 1993 – Nissebanden i Grønland (Rerun from 1989)
  • 1994 – Jul i Gammelby (Rerun from 1979)
  • 1995 – Hallo det er jul
  • 1996 – Bamses Julerejse
  • 1997 – Jullerup Færgeby (Rerun from 1974)
  • 1997 – Tryksen (Rerun from 1974)
  • 1997 – Den hemmelige tunnel
  • 1998 – Jul på Slottet (Rerun from 1986)
  • 1999 – Bamses Julerejse (Rerun from 1996)
  • 2000 – Jul på Kronborg
  • 2001 – Nissebanden (Rerun from 1984)
  • 2002 – Nissebanden i Grønland (Rerun from 1989)
  • 2003 – Nissernes Ø
  • 2004 – Jul på Kronborg (Rerun from 2000)
  • 2005 – Bamses Julerejse (Rerun from 1996)
  • 2006 – Absalons hemmelighed
  • 2007 – Jul i svinget
  • 2008 – Nissernes Ø (Rerun from 2003)
  • 2009 – Pagten
  • 2010 – Absalons hemmelighed (Rerun from 2006)
  • 2010  – Sebastians jul
  • 2010 – Jul i svinget (Rerun from 2007)
  • 2011 – Nissebanden i Grønland (Rerun from 1989)
  • 2012 – Julestjerner
  • 2013 – Pagten (Rerun from 2009)
  • 2014 – Tidsrejsen
  • 2015 – Absalons Hhemmelighed (Rerun from 2006)
  • 2016 – Den anden verden
  • 2017 – Snefald
  • 2018 – Theo & den magiske talisman

Danish Christmas Calendars from the TV station DR2

  • 2001 – Jul i hjemmeværnet
  • 2003 – Jul på Vesterbro
  • 2004 – Jul i den gamle kolbøttefabrik
  • 2006 – Jul i verdensrummet
  • 2007 – Yallahrup færgeby
  • 2010 – Steno og stilling
  • 2011 – Hjælp, det er jul!
  • 2012 – Jul i kommunen

Danish Christmas Calendars from the TV station Ramasjang

  • 2011 – Hotel Krølle På Halen
  • 2012 – Bamses Julerejse (Rerun from DR)
  • 2013 – Shane viser Jul på slottet
  • 2014 – Jullerup Færgeby (Rerun from DR)
  • 2015 – Nissebanden (Rerun from DR)
  • 2016 – Nissebanden i Grønland (Rerun from DR)
  • 2017 – Ramajetternes Jul
  • 2017 – Nissernes Ø (Rerun from DR)
  • 2018 – Selmas Saga
  • 2018 – Ramajetternes Jul (Rerun from 2017)

Danish Christmas Calendars from the TV station DR Ultra

  • 2013 – Store Nørdernes Julekalender
  • 2014 – Jultra: Sofie og Bubbers Jul
  • 2015 – JUltra: Bubbers Juleshow
  • 2015 – Piratskatten
  • 2016 – Hotel Krølle på Halen
  • 2016 – JUltra: Bubbers Juleshow (Rerun from 2015)
  • 2017 – Klassens Jul
  • 2018 – Klassens perfekte Jul

Danish Christmas Calendars from the TV station TV2

  • 1990 – Jul i den gamle trædemølle (for adults)
  • 1990 – Trolderik og Nisserne
  • 1991 – The julekalender (for adults)
  • 1991 – Trolderiks julekalender
  • 1992 – Trolderiks posthule
  • 1992 – Skibet i skilteskoven
  • 1993 – Andersens julehemmelighed (for adults)
  • 1993 – Jul i juleland
  • 1994 – The julekalender (Rerun from 1991)
  • 1994 – Alletiders jul
  • 1995 – Juletestamentet (for adults)
  • 1995 – Alletiders nisse
  • 1996 – Jul i den gamle trædemølle (Rerun from 1990)
  • 1996 – Krummernes jul
  • 1997 – Gufol Mysteriet (for adults)
  • 1997 – Den hemmelige tunnel
  • 1997 – Alletiders Julemand
  • 1998 – Andersen’s julehemmelighed (Rerun from 1993)
  • 1998 – Brdr. Mortensens jul
  • 1999 – Andersen’s julehemmelighed (Rerun from 1993)
  • 1999 – Olsen Bandens første kup
  • 2000 – Alletiders eventyr
  • 2001 – Krummernes jul (Rerun from 1996)
  • 2002 – Brdr. Mortensens jul (Rerun from 1998)
  • 2003 – Jesus og Josefine
  • 2004 – Alletiders jul (Rerun from 1994)
  • 2005 – Jul i Valhal
  • 2006 – Alletiders nisse (Rerun from 1995)
  • 2007 – Alletiders Julemand (Rerun from 1997)
  • 2008 – Mikkel og goldkortet
  • 2009 – Jesus og Josefine (Rerun from 2003)
  • 2010 – The julekalender (Rerun from 1991)
  • 2010 – Alletiders eventyr (Rerun from 2000)
  • 2011 – Ludvis og Julemanden
  • 2012 – Jul i Valhal (Rerun from 2005)
  • 2013 – Tvillingerne og Julemanden
  • 2014 – Alletiders nisse (Rerun from 1995)
  • 2015 – Juleønsket
  • 2016 – Ludvis og Julemanden (Rerun from 2011)
  • 2017 – Tinkas Juleeventyr
  • 2018 – Tvillingerne og Julemanden
  • 2019 – Tinka og Kongespillet

Danish Christmas Calendars from the TV station TV2 Zulu

  • 2017 – Natholdets Julekalender

List of Norwegian Yule calendars

Norwegian Christmas calendars from the TV station NRK

  • 1970 – Barnas førjulskalender
  • 1979 – Jul i Skomakergata
  • 1981 – Jul i Skomakergata (Rerun from 1979)
  • 1988 – Jul i Skomakergata (Rerun from 1979)
  • 1989 – Vertshuset den gyldne hale
  • 1990 – Portveiens julekalender
  • 1991 – Teodors julekalender
  • 1992 – Jul på Sesam stasjon
  • 1993 – Jul i Skomakergata
  • 1994 – Vertshuset den gyldne hale (Rerun from 1989)
  • 1995 – Amalies jul
  • 1996 – Jul på Sesam stasjon (Rerun from 1992)
  • 1997 – Amalies jul (Rerun from 1995)
  • 1998 – Jul i Skomakergata (Rerun from 1979)
  • 1999 – Jul i Blåfjell
  • 2000 – Amalies jul (Rerun from 1995)
  • 2001 – Jul i Blåfjell (Rerun from 1999)
  • 2002 – Jul på Månetoppen
  • 2003 – Jul i Skomakergata (Rerun from 1979)
  • 2004 – Jul i Blåfjell (Rerun from 1999)
  • 2005 – Jul på Månetoppen
  • 2006 – Jul i Svingen
  • 2007 – Barnas Superjul
  • 2007 – Willys jul
  • 2008 – Jul i Blåfjell (Rerun from 1999)
  • 2009 – Jul i Svingen (Rerun from 2006)
  • 2010 – Jul på Månetoppen (Rerun from 2005)
  • 2010 – Pagten (Danish, 2009)

Norwegian Christmas calendars from the TV station TV 2

  • 1994 – The Julekalender
  • 1995 – Julefergå
  • 1996 – The Julekalender (Rerun from 1994)
  • 1998 – Julefergå (Rerun from 1995)
  • 2000 – Vazelina Hjulkalender
  • 2001 – Olsenbandens første kupp
  • 2002 – Vazelina Hjulkalender (Rerun from 2000)
  • 2003 – The Julekalender (Rerun from 1994)
  • 2004 – Olsenbandens første kupp (Rerun from 2001)
  • 2005 – Vazelina Hjulkalender (Rerun from 2000)
  • 2006 – Jul i Valhall (Danish, 2005)
  • 2007 – Olsenbandens første kupp (Rerun from 2001)
  • 2008 – The Julekalender (Rerun from 1994)
  • 2009 – Vazelina Hjulkalender (Rerun from 2000)
  • 2010 – Olsenbanden Jr’s Første Kupp

Norwegian Christmas calendars from the TV station TVNorge

  • 2001 – Nissene på låven
  • 2003 – Nissene på låven (Rerun from 2001)
  • 2004 – Ungkarsnissen
  • 2005 – Nissene på låven (Rerun from 2001)
  • 2006 – Jul i Tøyengata
  • 2007 – Nissene på låven (Rerun from 2001)
  • 2009 – Jul i Tøyengata (Rerun from 2006)
  • 2010 – Den unge Fleksnes
  • 2010 – Nissene på låven (Rerun from 2001)

Norwegian Christmas calendars from the TV station TV3

  • 2005 – Tjuefjerde

List of Swedish Yule calendars

Swedish Christmas calendars from the TV station SVT

  • 1960 – Titteliture
  • 1961 – Julbåten Juliana
  • 1962 – Tomtefamiljen i Storskogen
  • 1963 – Den tänkande brevbäraren
  • 1964 – Lill-Stina på reportage i Storskogen
  • 1965 – Farbror Pekkas handelsbod
  • 1966 – En småstad vid seklets början
  • 1967 – Gumman som blev liten som en tesked
  • 1968 – Klart spår till Tomteboda
  • 1969 – Herkules Jonssons storverk
  • 1970 – Regnbågslandet
  • 1971 – Broster, Broster!
  • 1972 – Barnen i Höjden
  • 1973 – Mumindalen
  • 1974 – Rulle på Rullseröd
  • 1975 – Långtradarchaufförens berättelser
  • 1976 – Gumman som blev liten som en tesked (Rerun from 1967)
  • 1977 – Fem myror är fler än fyra elefanter
  • 1978 – Julius Julskötare
  • 1979 – Trolltider
  • 1980 – Det blir jul på Möllegården
  • 1981 – Stjärnhuset
  • 1982 – Albert & Herberts julkalender
  • 1983 – Lille Luj och Änglaljus i strumpornas hus
  • 1984 – Julstrul med Staffan & Bengt
  • 1985 – Trolltider med trollkalender (Rerun from 1979)
  • 1986 – Julpussar och stjärnsmällar
  • 1987 – Marias barn
  • 1988 – Liv i luckan med julkalendern
  • 1989 – T. Sventon praktiserande privatdetektiv
  • 1990 – Kurt Olssons julkalender
  • 1991 – Sunes jul
  • 1992 – Klasses julkalender
  • 1993 – Tomtemaskinen
  • 1994 – Håll huvudet kallt
  • 1995 – Jul i Kapernaum
  • 1996 – Mysteriet på Greveholm
  • 1997 – Pelle Svanslös
  • 1998 – När karusellerna sover
  • 1999 – Julens hjältar
  • 2000 – Ronny & Julia
  • 2001 – Kaspar i Nudådalen
  • 2002 – Dieselråttor & sjömansmöss
  • 2003 – Håkan Bråkan
  • 2004 – Allrams höjdarpaket
  • 2005 – En decemberdröm
  • 2006 – LasseMajas detektivbyrå
  • 2007 – En riktig jul
  • 2008 – Skägget i brevlådan
  • 2009 – Superhjältejul
  • 2010 – Hotell Gyllene knorren
  • 2011 – Tjuvarnas jul
  • 2012 – Mysteriet på Greveholm: Grevens återkomst
  • 2013 – Barna Hedenhös uppfinner julen
  • 2014 – Piratskattens hemlighet
  • 2015 – Tusen år till julafton
  • 2016 – Selmas saga
  • 2017 – Jakten på tidskristallen
  • 2018 – Storm på Lugna gatan
  • 2019 – Panik i tomteverkstan

List of Icelandic Yule calendars

Icelandic Christmas calendars from the TV station RÚV

  • 1988 – Jólin nálgast í Kærabæ
  • 1990 – Á baðkari til Betlehem
  • 1991 – Stjörnustrákur
  • 1992 – Tveir á báti
  • 1994 – Jól á leið til jarðar
  • 1996 – Hvar er Völundur?
  • 1997 – Klængur sniðugi
  • 2005 – Töfrakúlan
  • 2008 – Jóladagatal Sjónvarpsins 2008