A Real Danish Christmas | 9 Danish Christmas Traditions

Updated: Nov 25, 2020

Danes seriously know how to do Christmas. It's all "hygge," which is a word I hear all the time here; a word that we don't have in the English language.

Hygge: roughly translates to "a quality of coziness (warm feeling, comfortable, and safe) that comes from doing simple things such as lighting candles, baking, and spending time at home with your family."

The Christmas season in Denmark really is cozy. Daylight is limited from about 9AM-3PM, which means lots of time is spent in the dark admiring the Christmas lights, with a Christmas beer and hanging out by candlelight. Rasmus has tons of childhood memories rooted in Danish traditions.

We got to spend Christmas at Rasmus' Uncle Fini and Aunt Pernille's house in Bramming. Ras was excited to show me all of things he so fondly remembers. It was awesome to watch his face light up as he shared each one with me. Christmas is celebrated on the 24th here, with the last of the activities ending late at night or early into the next morning.

Many of the traditions are for the kids, so I was thankful to be with Ras' young cousins- Louie (11) and Felix (5); it made me feel like I got the whole experience. I am sure there are many more traditions, and I learned each family has their own spin on Christmas. Here are some of the cornerstone traditions we got to experience this year:

Christmas Traditions

The Christmas Calendar

This one is fun. Starting on December the 1st, everyone gets a Christmas Calendar, and they are sold in every convenient store. Essentially they are lottery scratchers, but everyone does it, from little kids to grandparents.

And each day you scratch off the date, and underneath is a Christmas symbol like a reindeer, Santa or candy cane. If you get enough matches— you can win big! Ras was always up first thing in the morning excited to scratch his. We didn't have any winners this year, but it's more about the hope and excitement than the money.