Christmas in Denmark

How do I wish someone there a Happy Christmas?

  • Glædelig Jul

When do they give presents?

  • Christmas Eve

Who brings the presents?

  • Father Christmas. He’s known in Denmark as Julemanden – or the Yule Man.

What’s on the menu?

  • The big dinner on Christmas Eve is usually roast duck, stuffed with apples and prunes, goose or pork. Dessert is rice pudding with whipped cream, vanilla, chopped almonds and cherry sauce. A peeled almond is hidden in the dessert and the person who finds it gets a present.

Any other traditions I should know about?

  • An old tradition said animals could talk on Christmas Eve. So many people give their pets a present in the hope they’ll say nice things about them.
  • Many people still use real candles to light their trees. The candles are lit on Christmas Eve and help the feeling of hygge. That’s the Danish word for the warm feeling that comes from spending time with close friends and family.
  • After dinner on Christmas Eve families sing and dance around the tree before opening their presents. A child is chosen to hand out the presents and everyone watches each being unwrapped.
  • Danish children leave a bowl of rice pudding for the household ‘nisse’. This is an elf-like creature that needs to be kept happy so it won’t play practical jokes.