Christmas traditions in Denmark
If you’re spending Christmas in Denmark, you’re in for a treat! Danes are all about ‘hygge’, which basically means celebrating the small things in life. Whether you’re religious or not, Christmas time in Denmark is the best time to embrace the philosophy of hygge.
It’s the perfect season for snuggling by the fireplace, wrapped in a warm, woolen blanket, while getting ready to read the first chapter of the latest page-turner with a cup of hot, mulled wine. Sure, knitted socks and good books are always appreciated in Denmark, no matter the season. However, during December even the tiniest detail gets a tad cozier.
We suggest that you dive into the Christmas spirit with the Danes and try all local traditions. We’ve gathered a few examples for you below:
When is it O.K. to start singing Christmas carols and wearing reindeer sweaters? It’s a dilemma that people face annually. For a few impatient Danes, the festive season already starts on the first Friday in November, when the Christmas beer (julebryg) officially hits the bodegas. The majority impatiently waits until it’s socially accepted to show Christmas excitement and that’s around advent.
On the last Sunday of November or the first Sunday of December, Danes go crazy with spruce twigs, candles and cones, red berries and ribbons. Families gather to make advent wreaths, bake cookies and hygge. Originally, advent marks a peaceful time of preparation for the birth of Christ. For most Danes today, advent marks the time to start singing “All I want for Christmas is you”. Christian or not, lighting candles is always meditative. Traditionally, once the wreath has been decorated, Danes light one candle every Sunday that leads up to Christmas.
You’d think that this tradition is mostly for children, but in Denmark adults enjoy swapping gifts, too. Either every Sunday or every morning leading up to the 24th of December, people peep into their Christmas stockings to discover what surprise awaits. Gifts vary from chocolate calendars to more personalized treats, but all build up to the grand finale.
TV Christmas Calendar
A televised advent series that consists of 24 episodes is a tradition dear to kids and grownups alike. Every evening after dinnertime, from the 1st until the 24th of December, the whole family religiously cuddles up in the living room to enjoy how the magic unfolds on screen. It’s a great way to get into the Christmas spirit and to learn Danish at the same time!