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3300 River Road
Mount Bethel, PA 18343

(570) 897-6000

Christian retreat center for New Jersey and Pennsylvania marriage retreat, singles retreat, women's retreat and youth summer camp in Mount Bethel, Pennsylvania.

Tales of Tuscarora

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8 Things You'll Find at Tuscarora's Juletrefest



Traditions are an essential part of our lives. While we move into the future and grow and change, traditions are a way for us to remember who we have been and where we came from. If you are a frequent visitor of the Tuscarora grounds you may be aware that much of Tuscarora's history has been tied to the Scandinavian heritage.

As an affiliate organization of the Lutheran Brethren Church, and a home away from home for many members of the denomination, this connection continues to exist today. If you've ever wondered why we sell Norwegian items in our book and gift store, or puzzled at hearing a Norwegian conversation in the dining room, you are not alone.

But for many, Tuscarora may be the only chance to experience a culture which is difficult to find in our area of the United States, and for those who come from a Scandinavian bloodline - Tuscarora is one of the few places they can continue to experience family traditions from their childhood.

Around Christmas, these traditions are an integral part of our Christmas Weekend. This is most evident in our Juletrefest dessert party on Friday night. Below, is a list of things you would be likely to find there!

1. Norwegian Sweaters


Due to cold winters, it may not surprise you that Norwegians are fond of warm clothing! Traditional Norwegian sweaters are made of thick wool that are perfect attire for Christmastime! They are warm, comfortable, and have a cozy charm that's perfect for this time of year.

2. Caroling


Christmas Carols are the center point of any Christmas party - and Juletrefest is no exception. But at this party - you may hear a few songs that you're unfamiliar with. We like to give our guests the rare opportunity to sing some classic Norwegian Christmas songs amidst the classic tunes! You can be sure to hear "O Jul Med Din Glede," "Jeg Er Sa Glad," as well as a Norwegian verse of "Silent Night."

Some of the Norwegian words may be a challenge, but everyone has such a good time singing together that you'll hardly notice!

3. Circling the Christmas Tree


One Christmas custom from Scandinavia is the dance around the Christmas tree. No matter who you are you will want to grasp hands with the other guests and circle the tree while caroling. This particular tradition is a reminder of times past for many of our guests and we are so thankful to be able to continue it here at Tuscarora.

4. Coffee


No matter the time of day - Norwegian's love their coffee! So a dessert party is the perfect setting for a relaxing bedtime shot of caffeine. It also goes perfectly with Ris Krem!

5. Ris Krem


Ris Krem is a traditional Norwegian Christmas dessert. In Norway, it's made from a leftover porridge which is then mixed with whipped cream, sugar, and vanilla.

6. Lot's of 'kake


If there's something Norwegians love more than coffee it's dessert! And at this party you will find plenty of Kake (or cake!) One particular dessert you'll find is Kransekake - which is an almond based cake reserved for special occasions such as weddings and Christmas. It's always a treat to see it served!

7. Lutefisk


Just kidding! Lutefisk is a traditional fish dish in Norway. It's aged fish which has been soaked in lye and is often eaten as a delicacy. Many people have a love/hate relationship with this particular dish - but we do not serve it at our Christmas party!

8. Koselig


Koselig, the Norwegian word for cozy, is the last important part of our Christmas celebration. Koselig is the feeling you get from a hug, a warm greeting, and all the fuzzy  happy feelings that go along with Christmas time. Our koselig comes specifically from the warmth that comes from remembering why we are celebrating Christmas in the first place - the miracle of Christ's birth.

God Jul and Merry Christmas everyone!