A Danish Christmas

We all have our own way of celebrating Christmas, whether it be partaking in classic festive traditions or making up our own as we go along  - but it's always fascinating to get an insight into how others celebrate. We asked the lovely team at Ferm Living how they celebrate in Denmark & we got a wonderful insight into a Danish Christmas - from Gløgg  (with an extra dash of alcohol) to æbleskiver, dressing up as Santa & family winter walks.

Read our interview with a member of the Ferm Living team, here.

Do you have any Advent traditions?

Yes! We celebrate the 4 Sundays before the 24th of December ; the 1st, 2nd 3rd & 4th Sunday of Advent. The most common tradition is to have an Advent wreath, which can be made in many different ways, but must have 4 candles - you light 1 candle each Sunday.

Usually, we spend these Sundays with family or friends & eat ‘ æbleskiver’ - essentially, a fried, doughy ball, which is eaten with jam & powdered sugar. We drink ‘Gløgg’, which is warm wine & a dash of extra alcohol!

When do you put your Christmas tree up?

Traditionally, we go out & get our Christmas tree in a plantation & we cut it ourselves. We bring it inside at the very beginning of December & decorate it so we can enjoy looking at it for the whole of December. It is usually taken away before New Year’s but must be taken down by the 6th of January at the very latest!

I believe you celebrate Christmas on Christmas Eve, is that right?

We celebrate on the 24th in the evening. My classic Christmas celebration goes like this - everyone arrives home at my parents on the 23rd & we take the Christmas tree into the living room & decorate it together. We eat rice porridge with cinnamon sugar & a lille bitter cube on top ( the leftovers of the porridge will be needed for dessert on the 24th). On the 24th, we begin food prep early as it is quite a big undertaking!

What is a typical Danish Christmas dinner?

There are variations but the most common dish is roast duck with steamed red cabbage, caramelised potatoes & gravy. For dessert, everybody eats ‘ res a la Mande’ with cherry sauce - it’s basically rice porridge ( the leftovers) with whipped cream & chopped white almonds. The twist is that there is always ONE single whole almond in the bowl of dessert, & the lucky winner of the whole almond gets a present.

After dinner we dance around the Christmas tree singing Christmas songs & then finally we open our presents. One present at a time. When you have smaller kids, it’s common that one of the men in the family will dress up as Santa & come knocking on the door bringing a big sack of presents. When the kids grow up & have figured out that it was just Grandad underneath the Santa costume we stop the dress up! As long as the kids believe it, it is all very magical! When all of the presents are open & the kids have been put to bed, the adults have a drink whilst looking at the gift madness that has taken place yet again…

What do you do on Christmas Day?

On Christmas Day, we sit in our pyjamas & look at our presents ( & the kids play with theirs), eat leftovers, watch cliché Christmas movies & take a family walk. Then on the 26th & 27th it’s common to have a big family Christmas lunch with an insane amount of classic Danish dishes - lots of herring, lots of pig & LOADS of beer & Aquavit!

Merry Christmas!

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Sarah Hannah