Visiting Denmark for a cozy, authentic Christmas
Alice explains the Danish Christmas, a time filled with traditions and cozy moments.
Christmas is a time filled with traditions and cozy moments. Coziness – Hyggelig – is a Danish way of life and we aspire to make everything hyggeligt, especially around Christmas.
Hygge – prounounced Hooga - basically means creating a personal atmosphere and enjoying the good things in life with family and friends.
Anticipation, photo: Visit Denmark, photographer: Kristian Krogh
Bringing hygge to Christmas is simple – it is a dark time of year, thus ample opportunity for candlelight and hygge is a necessity – really. The best part of Christmas is the period leading up to the 24th of December – the eve of the main celebration. Danes has a number of ways counting down to Christmas Eve.
There is the advent wreath, which have 4 candles – 1 for each Sunday leading up to Christmas – the first this year falls on 26 November. You can purchase them ready-made, but many have a “hygge” day with friends or family and make it themselves as they are usually made out of spruce twigs and cuttings, often decorated with red berries, white candles and red ribbons for attaching the wreath to the ceiling.
Christmas in Denmark, photo: Visit Denmark, photographer: Kim Wyon & Kristian Krogh
The Calendar Candle is, just like a tape measure, provided with 24 markings, normally decorated with Christmas related motives. In most families, such as mine, it is usually lit at the breakfast table. I remember as a child being in charge of blowing out the candle before it burns down too far into the next date.
Every year there is also a special Christmas series with 24 episodes, there is usually an adult series and one for the younger audience. This helps with the excitement build up. My favorite was called ‘The Julekalender” and I still enjoy watching reruns of this.
Beautiful pieces, photo: Visit Denmark, photographer: Kristian Krogh
Present calendars are also a big thing in Denmark. Most children receive an advent calendar, some receive the chocolate ones and others 24 individually wrapped small presents. As children grow older many families just do a present every Sunday leading up to Christmas.
It is truly a lovely time to Denmark over this period – hotels, restaurants and guesthouses also create the “hygge” atmosphere. It nearly feels like a competition between neighbouring villages, houses, squares and cities to see who can be the most ‘Christmassy’. We invite you to come to enjoy it for yourself.