Home for Christmas is a Norwegian television series, which was directed by Per-Olav Sørensen and produced by Anders Tangen. The first series premiered on Netflix in December 2019 and is, in fact, the first Norwegian original series to grace the popular streaming site. The idea behind the show was conjured up by two advertisement students, Amir Shaheen and Kristian Andersen, who were inspired by the popular Nordic TV Christmas calendars; something which I haven’t seen done in the UK.
It is a six-part series with thirty-minute episodes, covering the countdown to Christmas from the 1st of December to the 24th of December; perfect for getting into the festive spirit.
All is going well for Johanne (Ida Elise Broch). She has a steady job, a nice enough boyfriend called Henrik (Oddgeir Thune), some good friends and your average family dynamic, but as December rolls around, Henrik is getting on her nerves and her Mother has gone to Paris. Johanne volunteers to host Christmas, whilst ignoring her feelings for a familiar face. With the help of her new neighbours and her siblings, will Johanne pull Christmas off?
Firstly, the casting is superb. Every character is completely believable, and their chemistry is astounding. I was particularly in awe of Johanne’s family dynamic as it works tremendously, but also her relationship with her friends is so cleverly captured. Their interactions are incredibly authentic and heart-warming. I believe they have provided a nice reminder of the world before COVID-19; something I am sure we are all looking forward to.
Whenever I watch a foreign language TV show, I always watch in its original language with English subtitles. Therefore, I cannot claim that the dialogue was faultless, as I do not know how accurate the translation was. That said, it seemed to flow well. I always find it to be such a treat watching something in another language and picking up on those simple words that are repeated time and time again.
I was a massive fan of the first series, and I was ecstatic when I learnt that another series was on its way. Unfortunately, it did not live up to the expectations I had following the first season. However, I think it was certainly a case of being different rather than worse.
The first series was fast-paced and explosive, as Johanne (Ida Elise Broch) raced to find a boyfriend to bring home on Christmas Day. It was exciting. I do not necessarily think that the second series felt as thrilling, despite covering the same time frame and, at some points, I thought it was a bit something of nothing. However, I did thoroughly enjoy the relationships portrayed. I think they are so real, you can really see someone you know in every character.
Leah Thomas from Cosmopolitan described the show as “perfectly messy”, which I believe is the perfect description. Home for Christmas presents raw emotions, the power of friendship and family and the unrequited nature of love, which culminates in the last moment of the series.
The beautiful scenery and snow-covered town are incredibly festive, whilst being reminiscent of a faraway place we cannot visit at the moment. I found this to be a lovely reminder of what is waiting for us at the end of these strange times. The stereotypical idea of a white Christmas is, of course, a normality in Scandinavia, but it is a relatively rare phenomena in UK.
I highly recommend watching Home for Christmas series 2 because it’s deliciously festive, whilst not being too cringe-worthy. And, I have to admit I am crossing my fingers for a third season to see where the story progresses again.
– Maggie John
Featured Image Source: Still via Netflix // YouTube. Director of Photography: Hallgrim Haug.