I’m Danish and I love Christmas, so naturally I am an authority on the subject of Danish Christmas 😉 Today I just wanted to tell you a little about how Danes celebrate Christmas. I have touched upon the subject and shown you pictures of Christmas gifts over the last couple of years. But I don’t think I ever went into detail about how Danes actually celebrate Christmas, how we decorate for Christmas and of course how you can get some tips and tricks for Christmas decorations yourself. I will of course be sharing images on Instagram all through December.
As I said, I love Christmas, but I am not religious. So Christmas for me is, a light in a dark time, something to look forward too and the ultimate expression of the Danish word “hygge”. The Danish word” hygge” derives from the German word “Gemütlichkeit” which “means a situation that induces a cheerful mood, peace of mind, with connotation of belonging and social acceptance, coziness and unhurry” (you can always count on Wikipedia for a definition).
A Danish advent calendar has 24 days because we celebrate Christmas Eve on the 24th December. For Danes the 25th is not Christmas as such. We call this the first Christmas day and Boxing day (26th) is the second Christmas day. Of course since I got together with my British husband John 7 years ago I have been celebrating Christmas day too, but that’s another story.
One of the highlights of Danish Christmas is definitely the tree. We are really into our trees. No plastic trees standing in a corner or on a table for the Danes. Because we dance around our tree on Christmas eve. Yes, you heard correct – we dance – around it – holding hands – oh and while singing. I will admit that when I was a teenager my mother had to bribe me to keep walking around song after song. But now I really enjoy it. One of my favourite songs is “Juletræet med sin pynt” (The Christmas tree with it’s decorations). The last verse is my particular favourite.
“Juletræet på besøg
hilser os fra eg og bøg
med besked derude fra,
at det lysner dag for dag,
og at solen fra sit skjul
ønsker os en glæd’lig jul.”
It talks about how the Christmas tree is visiting and bringing us greetings from oak and beech, saying that it is getting lighter day by day, and that the sun, from it’s hiding place is wishing us a merry Christmas. It’s so beautiful 🙂
Another big part of Danish Christmas is the TV advent calendar, at least for children. Since before I was born Danish TV has been sending 24 episodes of 20 min on a Christmas theme. Usually something with Father Christmas, Nisser and children and saving Christmas from somebody who want’s to harm it or stop it. This year they are re-airing one of my all time favourites “Jul på Slottet” (first aired in 1986). It’s set in a kingdom with a beautiful princess and her father. The prince from the neighbouring country, which they are at war against, comes disguised as a huntsman and wins the princesses hand at the end. Of course with a lot of Christmas, Nisser, bad people and complications thrown in. What’s not to like?
So what are these Nisser anyway. A nisse is a bit like an elf, but oh so much more. I’ll leave it to Wikipedia to explain in detail.
Christmas in Denmark is of course also all about the decorations. We have a very particular Scandinavian style of decoration centred very much around hearts and stars. I want to make a tutorial on how to fold traditional Danish hearts and stars during December. So keep tuned. Here is one I made a couple of years ago from old maps.
I am gathering pins on a Pinterest board with links to Danish craftspeople who sell Christmas decorations worldwide. Check them out below.
Follow Eddie’s Room Danish Christmas on Pinterest