Since I'm not home for Christmas this year..

..., I thought I'd tell the rest of the world what a Christmas in Denmark is like. In Denmark the 'big' day around Christmas is Christmas Eve.
This is how it usually is (in my family atleast):
You go to the people's house where you are celebrating Christmas (usually family)..or people come to our house.

Then you have Christmas dinner, which usually consists of: roast duck or pork roast..some people have both. Important thing about the pork roast is that the rinds have to be crisp.. (but I don't eat pork, so I couldn't care less, hehe!). With the meat you have boiled potatoes (white potatoes) and potatoes that have been caramelized (also known as brown potatoes..this may sound pretty odd, but it's not. In fact it's one of my favourite things about Christmas!). Also you have rødkål (chopped and boiled red cabbage) and brown sauce made from the 'juices' from the roast. Sometimes there are also other boiled vegetables, carrots for example.

Now, this is all pretty 'heavy' food, so usually people wait a while before having dessert. Which is another of my favourites: Ris à la Mande. The base for this is "Risengrød" (rice boiled with milk to a kind of porridge), but for Christmas it is mixed with whipped cream, vanilla, and chopped almonds and eaten cold with hot cherry sauce. In this Ris à la Mande there is also ONE whole almond; whoever gets this almond, gets a small present. If my maternal grandad is here, he always gets the almond, without exception! And without any foul play either. Then he sits there with a smug grin. ;-)

After having eaten dinner, which of course for the children seem like it takes forever, people relax for a bit. Clear the table, some go for a walk or play a board game.

Then it is time to light the candles on the tree (unless people use electric, which in my family we don't!! And the tree is a real tree as well, no plastic fake stuff here!). Then people take each other's hands and dance around the tree (the dancing is more like walking, but hey), singing carrols. For some reason most of the Danish Christmas carrols are quite long, so they are always cut short...mainly because people can't remember more than a couple of verses(!).
After three or four carrols, comes a real ordeal: there is one 'carrol' to which people don't dance around the tree. Instead they run around the house, into every room. Quite silly. But if you can manage to not run around with the others, it is fun to watch! Hehe.

Then it is time for the presents which have been lying under the tree. In some families it is the same person who pass round all the presents and in some families people take turns. But usually only one present is opened at the time, so everybody sees what everybody gets. And of course, if there are small children, it is an uncle or a grandad, dressed up as Santa, who gives out the presents. ;-) While the presents are being passed round people eat marzipan and nuts, Christmas cookies, and drink wine and coffee etc.
Getting through all the presents can take several hours, depending on how many people are gathered. After this people just hang around, talking and having fun. Maybe playing board games, like Trivial Pursuit.

If I can manage I usually watch the Midnite Mass from Rome on TV.. I'm not Catholic and I practically never go to church, but there is just something very Christmassy about watching that.... Can't really explain what it is...
And my family think I'm kinda crazy. ;-)

And that concludes this rather elaborate recount of a Danish Christmas... I realised the other day that I am going to miss very much being here, but atleast I'll be with T and that is worth missing a familiar Christmas for. ;-)

I hope you have a very lovely Christmas with lots of love and goodness.

Glædelig Jul!
- Merry Christmas!

Friday, December 24, 2004 posted by Wardi @ 12:13 AM