Danes LOVE their Christmas. This means that all of December is jam-packed with Christmas-related events. It takes a bit of time to get your head around all of them, but this is what I have figured out so far.
The Julefrokost is the Danish traditional Christmas lunch/dinner, typically with all the bells and whistles: herring (below), snaps, leverpostej (liver pate) and the rest. You will probably have a Julefrokost event with most of the people you know in some way or another. I had one with work colleagues, the Newcomers Network and Michael’s family.
Not sure how this differs from the Julefrokost above, but at work we had one of each! The Julekomsammen, or Christmas get together, was a smaller affair for a group within the department (the chemistry group) with a Turkish theme. I have also been told that often everything is called a Julefrokost, so maybe this name is only used when differentiation between two similar events for similar groups of people is required.
For such events it seems to be common that you are asked to bring two gifts with you (not costing too much – it was set at 20DKK for the one I attended). A game is then played where the gifts and people move around the table according to some predetermined instructions (either a set of purpose-made cards or die scores). You then take whatever you end up with at the end of the game.
Julehygge is the Christmas decoration making event. Danes meet up to make Christmas decorations together at someones house (or, in our case, drink and eat a lot while attempting to appear busy making the decorations). Now, however, if you go to such an event you should try to figure out WHAT you will be doing beforehand.
Danes separate out their Christmas decorations into two. The first is Julepynt, or Christmas clippings, where decorations are made out of paper like the one in the image above. These events may also be called Juleklip. The other type is arrangements they make with a candle and green leaves and other such things. This is what they call ‘dekoration’ and you can see one below. As the ‘dekoration’ often have pine needles (which sounds suspiciously similar to pynt to me!), and decorations bring images of paper-made stuff, you can probably easily see why I can never figure these two out!
Advent calendars in Denmark are big! For the past years I have been receiving a scratch card advent calendar from Michael’s parents. However, in the office it is all over the place! Colleagues talking about giving a gift to their kids every single day of December in the ‘advent calendar’ sock, another colleague has a chocolate advent calendar where he gets one chocolate a day, so it seems that gifts are on everyone’s mind. I am not immune to it either: a group of us have given 3 gifts each to a pile and every day one person is assigned to take a gift from the pile. *yeay* to gifts!
So is that all? Have I missed any of the big December-related Danish celebrations? If so I guess I would have to wait another year, but do let me know and I can start getting prepared from now!