Christmas In Denmark
Christmas, in my opinion, is what Denmark does best. Some festivities start earlier but on the first of December Denmark goes full blown Christmas. Streets come to life with lights, no amount of tinsel is too gaudy, and there are even more tempting sweets than usual LITERALY EVERYWHERE. Here are some Danish traditions, both delightful and strange, that I have encountered this holiday season.
When it comes to Christmas, Denmark is not very environmentally friendly in regards to their electric bill. Even in the smaller towns every tree is wrapped with white twinkle lights and each store front is dressed up with garland.
Every day leading up to Christmas (on the 24th of December) is celebrated in Denmark. The Calendar Candle is meant to be burnt a little each day as the days dwindle until Christmas (although I usually forget and have to burn a whole week at once). Advent calendars are filled with small gifts or chocolates for each day until the 24th.
Naughty or Nice?
It is a tradition that the Nisse, or elf, plays jokes or leaves gifts for children during the Christmas season. We, however, elf each other at work. Similar to secret Santa, we all chose a name of a colleague to elf for at the beginning of the month. From there you can either be a good elf and maybe leave your coworker chocolates or you can clutter their desk with tacky, yet charming Christmas decorations and cover their chair in Christmas wrapping like in the picture to the below.
Christmas markets pop up all over Denmark from Copenhagen to little towns like Ribe this time of year. They are made up of little wooden stands selling anything from roasted nuts to handmade gifts. It is cozy to walk around with a cup of traditional gløgg (mulled wine) and do some Christmas shopping.
It is still very popular for Danes to go as a family to pick out their own (REAL) Christmas tree. They then bring it home and decorate it together with handmade paper ornaments filled with candy and real candle sticks which are not lit until the 24th. They also garnish their tree with the Danish flag. Weird? Not in Denmark.
Food… So Much Food
Although as an IBT you will be going home for Christmas, the BESTSELLER canteen will make sure you get to try all the traditional Christmas dishes throughout the month of December. This includes a plethora of meets and potatoes but most importantly roast duck. For dessert on the 24th Danes eat risalamande (shown below) which is cold rice pudding with whipped cream and cherry sauce. A single almond is hidden inside the dessert and whoever finds it in their dish has good luck.
It can be hard to be away from home during the holidays but being in Denmark makes it a little easier. 🙂