Article in the paper issue of “Se & Hør”. Published on 07.12.2012
Found by Tessa Lande. Scanned by Venche M. English translation by Jorunn Ekre. English revision by Anni Jowett.
NICE ATMOSPHERE IN THE LIVING ROOM: The Rybak family have already decorated for Christmas with beautiful Christmas marbles in the window and a Santa Claus in the window frame.
Here we celebrate Norwegian Christmas
Text: Per Sigve Kleppe
Photo: Geir Egil Skog, Se og hør
The Rybak family comes from Belarus, but they celebrate Christmas with pork rib and a Christmas tree!
Alexander Rybak (26) travels for over 300 days a year, but for Christmas Eve the Eurovision Song Contest star only wants to be in one place: At home at Nesodden. He has all his good childhood memories here.
– It`s important to me that Mom, Dad and I give each other priority on this day,- Alexander says.
At home dad Igor (58) and mom Natalia (53) celebrate Christmas in the best Norwegian tradition. Mom makes Christmas breakfast and fixes the pork rib for dinner. Alexander visits the neighbours with Christmas presents.
…. AND HERE WE HAVE DECORATED THE TREE
Alexander Rybak enjoying himself at home
2006: Here Alexander and mom Natalia celebrate Christmas Eve. The photo was taken before Alexander got his breakthrough as an artist.
It`s always hectic here on Christmas Eve in addition to all the chores at home, we perform together at three church concerts. This happens between 12 pm and 15 pm every Christmas Eve. It`s become a nice tradition,- he tells.
The Christmas tranquillity occurs around the dinner table when the pork rib is served. It was little Alexander who decided the menu a long time ago. Later the pork rib has become a tradition. Important for a Norwegian Christmas.
– We`re orthodox Christians, and therefore we have a different calendar. It dictates that we celebrate Christmas on January 7,- mom Natalia tells.
The family still wanted for their son to grow up with Norwegian traditions. That`s why they celebrate Christmas twice!
– I don‘t think everyone with a different cultural background is as lucky with their parents as I am. They understood it was important for me to celebrate in the Norwegian way as well,- Alexander tells.
What concerns all children are Christmas gifts. It was also very important to Alexander when he was a kid. Throughout the years it has of course become more difficult to find gifts for him. The star can afford everything he wants.
1993 HAPPY KID: Alexander who is seven years old here,celebrates one of his first Christmases in Norway. Together with dad Igor and grandma Maria he is looking forward to opening the gifts under the Christmas tree.
This year I actually want LEGO. It`s my new hobby. It would be nice to have a LEGO project here at Nesodden that I can play with during Christmas,- Alexander says.
– But what do you give at Christmas?
– Mom gets a waffle iron and other practical stuff, while Dad gets Apple products. Preferably the latest models.
All the neighbours get board games – so that he can come for a visit during the days between Christmas and New Year. This Christmas the gifts will be different. Everyone will get his new CD Christmas Tales and this is a piece of works he is very proud of. And mom is thrilled, too.
FOND OF THE DOG: Alexander always goes for a walk with the dog Cindy (14) on Christmas Eve. Here they are photographed outside their home at Nesodden.
-We listen to the CD all the time. It`s totally fantastic. The way the arrangements are done, and the way he captures the Christmas songs. I`m very proud of Alexander now. Normally I don`t brag about him, but this album. It`s so beautiful,- Rybak’s mom tells.
-Wow! Thanks. It means a lot to me,- Alexander says proudly.
Even though Mom is careful about giving praise, she always feels it`s nice when her artist son comes home. Right now it`s three months since the last time.
Life goes in both major and minor
ALL ABOUT THE MUSIC: Few families in Norway are as musically talented as the Rybak family. Here they’re rehearsing for their Christmas concerts. Cindy the dog barks along!
Defends her son
– He is after all my son. It`s nice to be able to give him a hug and know that he is doing well. I am also happy about him being a busy man who has a lot of work. If I know that Alexander is doing well, I`m happy,- she tells.
Alexander has experienced that many people have strong opinions about him and his actions. It`s not only about him as a person, but also about the music he makes. Natalia has experienced several times that her son has been treated unfairly. Now she defends her son.
– Life goes up and down. Alexander always tries to be kind and considerate towards others. I know he is a good person,- mom Natalia says.